Tuesday, January 03, 2012

This is an informal Request For Discussion (RFD) - Swim workout notation system that is understandable in every language!

[UPDATE: This post was accidentally deleted when i saved an update. I have reinstated the post and included a sample notation workout. Please look at the notation I made, critique it and make it better. - TA]

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of a swim notation system that will allow for easy translation from one coach to another, one swimmer to another, despite the disparity in language or culture.

Premise: Music has used a notation system for nearly 1,500 years thereby allowing us to play music from as far back as the 6-century BC.[1] Ballet has it it's own notation format that has allowed ballets from as far back as 1844 to be recreated.[2]

Currently, swim workouts use varying forms of notation, sometimes simply written in language form, and those more ambitious simply using math symbols. It is said that "Mathematics is the language of the universe..." hence that could be a good "starting gate" to launch our "race."

When searching for swim workouts across the web, I have found that there is no published standard as to how workouts should be notated. What this RFD should have as it's goal is a way to create a standard that is interchangeable in any language. Hence my math reference.

Some day the Smithsonian may request Bob Bowman's notes as to see what Michael Phelps swam on an average day; a standardized notation format will allow for no interpretation and provide a true interchange of knowledge.

Once these details are worked out, a Wikipedia article would be written with a glossary of terms and symbols therein; (We could also do this concurrently), and you the contributor will know that you have moved the sport forward.

Sample work out in one's native language. Header should include: Type of workout, author, date, swim club or swimmer.

Header Example:
  • Distance Free 3,650 Yards
  • Designed by Susan Suomu, altered by Tony Austin
  • 1-2-2012 Culver City Plunge
  • SCAQ swim club
Next comes the body of the workout. The workout should be listed in sections such as: Warm-up sets, transitional sets, main set warm down. topics can be added such as "drill set" and others with total individual yardage included for each section, math notations denoting the set organization and interval times

  • Warm-up: 1200-yards
  • 400 Swim
  • 4 x [2 x 75s Free + 1 x 50 Kick]
  • 75's descend by :05 seconds each round starting at 1:15
  • Kick interval @:55
Main Set:
  • Total Yardage: 2100-yards
  • 4 X 150's @ 2:00, 150 fast @ 1:45
  • 3 X 150's @ 1:55, 150 fast @ 1:45
  • 2 X 150's @ 1:50, 150 fast @ 1:45
  • 1 X 150 @ 1:45, 150 fast @ 1:45
Recovery Set: 
  • Total Yardage: 50-yards
  • 1 x 50 Swim, easy
Warm Down:

Total Yardage: 300-yards
12 x 25's Free @ :40
25s descend 1-4, 5-8, 9-12

Total Workout Yardage: 3,600


Anonymous said...

jaja.. it begins U, do the first line, the second one is mine

junker23 said...

I mean, you could come up with a "5x200 @ 2:45" type of system, but I don't know how you'd be able to make all the drills and little points of emphasis standardized. (I can barely even standardize stuff for myself.)

And there'd also be the issue of the program-specific terminology and stuff - you often hear football players talk about having to learn a new language whenever they change teams, feel like there'd be something similar with this.

Contact Mark Savage/SavageWinn said...

I think it's an interesting idea. There's a thread over at the usms.org discussion board suggesting coaches should use consistent terminology. Maybe give it a go and see where this leads.


RW said...

This an interesting idea for sure, but in my opinion much of the beauty of seeing what other coaches do is not just WHAT they do but HOW they do it.
Coaching is more art than science, and a standardized notation would dilute coaching's artistry.

Tony Austin said...

Coaching artistry is both real and beautiful and a notation system should be able to translate it for future generations.