Official website of 16th FINA World Championships 2015 in Kazan
16th FINA World Championships

July 24 - August 9, 2015

Give some credit to your coaching expertise, Russian swimming team’s interim head coach says

Photo courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya
10.11.2015, 16:45 Official events
Interim head coach for the Russian national swimming team and Doctor of Medical Sciences, Sergey Kolmogorov, hosted a coach workshop on the margins of the Russian Short Course Swimming Championships in Kazan.

Kolmogorov read a lecture in which he elaborated on two key aspects:

1. Technology for decreasing active drag at the maximal swimming velocity for elite swimmers
2. Individual programmes for altitude training of elite swimmers upon metabolic and biomechanical criteria

Here are some extracts from his lecture:

– You, personal coaches, are responsible for resolving all these issues. Not a person who supervises the pharmacological programme, not a head coach – if you think they are, you are deluding yourselves. A large organisation works towards eradicating the use of prohibited substances. A lot of manual therapists and doctors come out of nowhere in the Olympic year and say to your athletes: “Just take this pill, and you will become an Olympic champion!”. Make it clear to yourselves: most of these people are just amateurs and will do nothing but harm. Give some credit to your coaching expertise.

– If 30 years ago during Sergey Gordon’s lecture I had said that with swimming velocity being increased the resistance can either remain the same or decrease (it is currently known under an international abbreviation ‘CDP-phenomenon’), I would have been shushed. Let me explain: back then people didn’t know certain rules of hydromechanics. None of us could ever imagine that the introduction of a technical swimsuit in 2000 will result in a situation that happened in 2009, the year when swimsuits were banned after the world championships. Does anybody remember these championships? World records were beaten in almost all races there. In 2000, none of my friends – coaches or scientists – even assumed or extrapolated that something like this will ever happen. It’s a small detail which explains that sometimes knowledge of how things work is more important than anything else. After that you may start analysing and taking action.

– I want to explain one simple fact. Words cannot teach a swimmer to swim correctly. Sure enough, you can talk to them, you can explain things to them. But the art of being a good coach lies in the ability to come up with a solution that will help you to accomplish a task. Vladimir Zakharov, a coach that raised an Olympic champion, once complained that his trainee has a fast stroke. I offered him to try a certain exercise. He altered it a little bit. And it worked – when exercises are performed the way they need to be performed, the results arrive really quickly, although Zakharov himself has another opinion. He said: “I have worked hard with Ilchenko for 3.5 years – I kept pushing and pushing and eventually I got my way. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do. In order to decrease the active drag, you need to change the kinematics – trajectory of movement, angle of attack, etc." Even the most experienced coach will not be able to put it into words – he will need to find a suitable exercise for that. 

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