Russ Kasl Leads Doc Counsilman Creative Coaching Award Winners At ASCA Clinic (Video)

JACKSONVILLE, Florida, September 24. ONE of the most exciting places to hang out at the American Swim Coaches Association’s world clinic is the “Counsilman Creative Coaching” table. That’s where coaches from around the world submit their ideas for innovative ways to make workouts more fun for athletes or work on various aspects of technique in interesting ways.

Each year, the top four ideas get a cash prize and their inventors recognized at the awards banquet. This year, Russ Kasl of SwimMAC Carolina won $400 for what he called “Alphabet IMs.”

The set, designed in collaboration with fellow coach Larry Lee, is 26 x 100 IMs on an interval set for a particular ability. Each 100 IM has a letter of the alphabet attached to it, corresponding to a skill to be worked on during that repeat. For example, the letter for the first 100 IM is “A” for “Almond Joy.” Like the candy bar, the goal is “go nuts in the middle,” according to Kasl.

“It’s cool for the swimmers because it changes every time and coaches know that they can have them do a fairly long set where the skill/focus intention is specific while being conditioned,” Kasl wrote in an email.

Watch Kasl and the other three winners accept their awards in the exclusive video below! After the video, Kasl and Lee pose with the photo of Counsilman that comes with submitting the best idea, and a chart of the set’s progression.

26×100 Alphabet IMs:

Almond Joy IM: “Go nuts in the middle”
Back Half IM: Sprint breast and free
Cruise IM: Cruise entire 100
Drill IM: Coach picks drills
Even IM: Same speed for first and second 50
Free IM: Substitute free for fly
Green Light IM: All out effort
Half IM: Pick first or second 50 for entire 100
Inside Out IM: Back-fly-free-breast
Jumble IM: Any order you want
Kick IM: Board or no board is OK
Limb IM: One limb (arm) per 25
Mini IM: 12.5 yards/meters per stroke x 2
Number IM: Count number of strokes for entire 100
Oreo IM: Favorite two strokes in the middle
Phelps IM: Underwater kick on freestyle as far and as fast as you can go
Quiet IM: Swim each stroke as quiet as possible
Reverse IM: Free-breast-back-fly
Strokes Per Length IM: Lowest number of strokes per length
Tractor Pull IM: One swimmer holds another swimmer’s ankles, and switch off per 25
Underwater IM: Coach determines underwater distance per 25
Victory IM: At end of 100 each swimmer practices celebrating
Wacky IM: Mix pull and kick (i.e. fly pull with breaststroke kick)
X-tra IM: This is a 125 IM; swimmer picks stroke for extra 25
Yell IM: After 100 IM, swimmers yell “IM Team”
Zero IM: Zero breaths on fly and free

Editor’s note: Swimming World advises all coaches to watch all swimmers carefully during breath-holding exercises.