Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Katie Hoff: Get a new coach, PLEASE!

This sent in from a reader I have nicknamed "Rain Man;" (which is meant as a compliment and not a slur), since he can call out any time swam in the 1970's swam by a nationally ranked swimmer.

Here is what he had to say about Katie Hoff:

"...Tony - Her time yesterday at Nationals in the 400 free would have won her the gold in the '72 Olympics but not in '76. She was also wearing a speed suit. I wonder what her time would have been yesterday had she been wearing a Speedo from 1976? ..."


Something is wrong. She is way to talented to be swimming like this. Something is not working, workouts need to adjusted , I want to see her setting records again.

I got the photo and I am following coverage of Nationals through both Universal Sports and Swimming World. Here is a link to the photo gallery where I got the shot of Katie Hoff.

Universal Sports Nationals Day 1 Gallery
: [Link]


Amanda said...

She was sick for a couple weeks. She pulled out of Santa Clara and started feeling a bit better just 10 days ago. I've heard the rumors about Bowman destroying her in practice, but considering the situation, it's too soon to tell whether switching coaches was a disaster or not.

Tony Austin said...

I hope she is feeling better and I hope the rumors of her crying after practice are not true.

If she was winning, I would say: "Cry some more" (Actually I wouldn't.)

If she sucks in her next meet, I really think a change is in order. I want to this girl dominate once again.

Amanda said...

The crying isn't a rumor. She admitted that she's cried during and after practice in a couple articles in the last few months.

Tony Austin said...

Well, that is distressing. :-(

I think crying and losing are metaphorically synonymous here.

I was never ever a pro or a coach so I think simply look at the results and conditions an it makes me think that Bowman's style of training is not for her.

Here crying after practice is a red flag and the loss is a de facto result.

Poor girl. :-( She needs to call up Natalie Coughlin and ask her for advice. They are both equally as talented.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony:

Agreed...Bowman was never big on weight training until very recently, and that has been the big change for Katie.

Katie like Michael, never lifted weights, until recently. In fact, I have seen a video on YouTube somewhere from the past where Bowman is very proud about his swimmers not lifting.

Wonder what has changed his philosophy about that???

Tony Austin said...

I don't lift weights because they are too heavy. ;-)

I should though since I sprint.

I wonder if distance swimmers should even bother to lift weights?

From what I understand, weights only deliver explosive strength not endurance strength. [?]

Granted one can use lite weights and multiple reps but doesn't swimming accomplish the same result?

Anonymous said...

My guess (and its just that, a gues) is that its less about training and more about feelings. Maybe the poor girl is in need of a break.

Tony Austin said...

I suggested that some weeks ago after Charlotte but I was extraordinarily critical of her.

In hindsight I was to harsh.

Anonymous said...

Katie = huge ego- star swimmer with old coach.

Katie + Michael = Bigger ego dampening smaller ego = no longer the center of attention = no swagger, not fun.

Tony Austin said...

Hmmm, I simply think she needs a coach that suits her style.

BTW, who else has Bowman mentored to this level? Just Phelps if I am not mistaken.

Amanda said...

So Katie finished 8th in the finals of the 200m free tonight. She's going to scratch the 800m free, but swim the 100m free, which isn't a great event for her.

She's not going to be on the World Champ team at all. Astounding, really, that the girl who qualified in 5 events one year ago won't qualify in any this year.

Tony Austin said...

What was she doing right when she was winning?

What did she change which caused her to place well below her capabilities as a swommer?

Ahelee said...

Katie -

Come and recover/train in California - IF Rome doesn't work out.


Before the Summer is over.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony:

Told you eariler...she never lifted weights before...and neither did Phelps..until recently.

Notice his times didn't drop either???

Tony Austin said...

Is it me or are weights just for sprinters?

Amanda said...

Anonymous isn't right about Phelps. He started lifting weights pre-2007 World Championships, where he had some pretty big time drops.

Anonymous said...

Not true Amanda...he always did some dryland (medicine balls, push-ups pull ups etc.), but not pure weights.

In addition, if you correct his time improvements based on what has happened with the new generation of suits, and since he started weight training, he would not have improved very much at all since 2007!

Anonymous said...

Heavy weights 3x a week (same as the guys--45-lb. weight belt on max pull-ups!!?? What is she, 5'9", 145?) Aggressive progressive weight increases through the year (including max-out weight sessions the day before meet weekends).

A weight-lifting coach with dubious credentials as far as experience with elite level swimmers but superb at being a serious gnat in the faces of the athletes when in the weight room. I doubt she would have questioned Bob's protocol for Hoff since not very experienced and wanting to please Bob with her lash-whipping style.
Relentless hard distance training sets in the pool and insufficient recovery time between/during sets. Would likely not have caused deterioration if for short periods of time! MP only did this regimen starting in March, not October, and mostly did sprint work, not distance training.

Constantly being assured by all around her that this 1 step forward 2 steps back trend would all pay off at taper time after 8 long months of hell. Told it was normal to have weeks/months of thrashing-in-the-water practices where you can't get out of the pool much less go do a hard weight training session immediately following. Blood work normal, so must be in your head! If you cry about it, that's just because you're a wimp or you don't want it badly enough. Women who cry during or after practice show they lack toughness and need to push harder. Hoff believed that pile of crap (or was brainwashed to believe it) despite all the red flags of physical deterioration being there. So, if a guy throws things around when he's frustrated (rather than crying), he's mentally tougher?

Hoff wanted to believe that the hellish workload would pay off, (stubbornly? blindly?)fully committing herself to seeing it through to the end...but her over trained body rebelled. The immune system went first in March and it was downhill from there. Saw the same thing happen to Kaitlin Sandeno in 2008. Check Katie's race times from Columbia to Charlotte. Ironically, with very little training it's likely she could have at least finished 6th at Trials in the 200!

Many many weeks of poor practice performance, not even getting close to target times, with decreased race performance from Feb. to May, should have been more than enough evidence that adjustments should have been made, but the signs were ignored and dismissed as lack of desire/lack of mental toughness. It's almost in the category of mental and physical abuse. Hoff is not a guy, does not have the muscle mass of a guy, should not train like a guy. Doing the guys' intervals--a few seconds less rest every time you come into the wall while your two male teammates sit at the wall getting necessary rest with appropriate intervals. That has to add up over the months.

Gonna take some time to heal from the damage. Not the only athlete who's experienced this and some try to come back too quickly. Hopefully, Hoff won't and she'll be able to recover and we'll see her competing again. She has to be too smart to stay in Baltimore.

Tony Austin said...

Awesome comment, can't comment back, huge project at work, will soon though.