“Man is Unchanging, Only Technologies Change Him for the Better” — Marcel Wouda.
One of the main events of two-days’ FINA Swimming Coaches’ Golden Clinic in Doha (Qatar) in the frame of Wold championship in 25 m pool was a presentation of well-known Dutch national team coach Marcel Wouda.
Born in 1972 in Holland
First Dutch World champion among men in swimming in 1998 in 200 m medley
World record-holder in 1997 in 400 m medley in 25 m pool
Bronze medal of Olympic Games-2000 in Sydney in relay 4×200 m freestyle
Graduated coach from Michigan’s University (USA)
Coming back to Holland, started to train children, juniors and then swimmers of national Dutch team
Among his trainees are many well-known Dutch swimmers, as Marten van der Veiden (Olympic champion 2008 in 10 km in open water), Hinkelin Shreder (Olympic champion in relay 4×100 m free style in 2008), Femke Heemskerk (3 gold medals of World championship-2014 in short pool in freestyle) and many others.
Without head coach
The name of Wouda’s presentation in the seminar was “Using of science and innovations in every day’s training process”, based on his present work in National Dutch swimming centre, situated in Eindhoven (Holland). An important contribution to development of this centre was made by Jacco Verhaeren, a coach, who twenty years before began to create his own system, in accordance with which contemporary Dutch swimming is developing now. In this very moment, in national team of Holland there is no head coach, as such. Four experts are working in National centre, and, as usual, all best Dutch swimmers come to train with them.
As well, there are coaches for national junior’s team, from its team young sportsmen pass to four most qualified tutors or their personal junior’s coach is moving him-self with his sportsman to the main national team. We can notice, that a big quantity of Dutch coaches remain volunteers, because of what, as Marcel Wouda thinking, there is several problems in their qualification.
It exists in Holland 2-levels system of coaches’ certification. First level – in general pedagogical principals, second level – in principals of sporting training. Membership in National centre in Eindhoven permits to swimmers to train under supervision of experienced coaches, to be in favourable conditions, where all swimmers and experts are tined to high sporting results, at the same time using necessary scientific logistics. However, in many cases only this, that Dutch swimming federation can propose. Sportsmen often take over their expenses for habitation and food.
Bolt is a little bit faster then Owens
On the beginning of his presentation, Marcel demonstrated an extract from a speech of David Epstein “Are the athletes really getting faster, better, stronger” of March 2014, main idea of which was a question, if we really follow classical Olympic slogan “faster, higher, stronger”.
For example, a glorious American sprinter Jasse Owens during Olympic Games in Berlin in 1936 was running 100 m with a World record of 10,2, and now Usain Bolt from Jamaica is the faster man in the planet with his recent World record equal to 9,77. Owens might be lag behind him in 4,3 m. However, if we imagine present’s inspiring surrounding conditions of all Usain’s races with millions of spectators, upgraded covering of running tracks, sophisticated starting blocks and equipment, and those possibilities would be given to American, his gap from Usain will be minimal.
This a real example of modern technological progress, and its fruits now can be used by all contemporary swimmers. The same progress is taking place also in World swimming with all those separating lines in pools, confluent pool’s boards, permanent upgrading of swimsuits, starting blocks and other options. At the same time, modern informative technology is playing a big role in this progress. Caused by Internet we have now many possibilities to receive more and more information, as well as to share with new knowledge and observations.
So well, Marcel Wouda is sure, that the human race has not a real evolution, and the results in swimming are growing only because of contemporary scientific, technological innovations and their daily using during training. For many expert such conclusion of Dutch coach is, frankly speaking, rather disputable. Personally, he declares today with a certain regret, if he knew before a volume of modern knowledge, which is accessible to him now, his results might be much better. Of course, he is calling all coaches to learn deeply past training experience and to use it as a base to invite sophisticated and effective training methods.
Sportsman and coach – main figures
In National Dutch centre main figures are always swimmers and coach. Around them is build daily job of physiotherapist, trainers of bodybuilding, psychologists, physiologists, biomechanics, nutritionists, masseurs, doctors, managers. Every expert is “situated” in his own small virtual island, and main goal of coach is to reintegrate all people in one unit. All experts of National centre are working directly with swimmer and his coach in cooperation between each other, in order not to disturb their colleagues and feel in any time, that together they are moving in the right way to final victory in races.
As an example of his personal positive training’s experience Marcel Wouda presented his work with his Dutch trainee Femke Heemskerk. Their cooperation began in 2013. First, he made analyse of her competitions’ activity during previous years. He gave her 12 best results in her main distance in 200 m freestyle, excluding 2008-2009 (era of rubber swimsuits), and compared them with results of Olympic champions and medal-holders in 2000 and 2012 (except Olympic 2008). The same analyse was executed in accordance with the following parameters: dispatching of every 50 m of 200 m distance by time and percent, changing of time of every 50 m of distance, calculating of medium tempo of every 50 m, changing of tempo of every 50 m during distance.
Receiving data demonstrated to Marcel Wouda a high correlation between balanced swimming during distance of 200 m and final result of the race. Using a tactic of Olympic champions and medals-holders and time of first 50 m of Femke, her final result in 200 m freestyle might be 1,52 – 1,53 (in reality it was only 1,56,39). Finally, Marcel realised a main conclusion of his analyse — necessity to change race’s tactic of his swimmer. Then similar analyse was made of start’s timing and turnings during race, calculating timing of star diving 15 meters’ range, also 5 meters of entry in every turning, as well 5 meters diving’s exits from them during 200 m distance.
After changing of race’s tactic by Marcel Wouda his trainee Femke Heemskerk became triple World championship-2014 in freestyle in 100 m, relay 4×50 m, relay 4×200 m in short swimming pool in Doha (Qatar).
Texte: Serge Wodes/photos: ad.nl, zimbio.com