Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Science of Swimming - James E. Counsilman

When I was in Jr. High my father gave me a wonderful gift...a book by James "Doc" Counsilman, The Science of Swimming.  The book was written in 1968 and the information within those pages is a salient today as it was when it was written.  On the recommendation of Guy Edson (ASCA) I recently re-introduced myself to the original reference book of the sport of swimming.

Virtually every aspect of the sport of swimming is covered in the volume.  With some exceptions on body position, much Counsilman's details on each of the strokes as well as starts and turns are still very much as are being taught today.  The much of artwork and photography in the book could be used in any swim text today.

The methods of training in the book include interval training (cutting edge methodology at the time), dryland training, and progressions within a season.  In his detailed writing he gives example sets, exercises, etc used in his program at Indiana.

Counsilman covers season planning, Age Group swimming, educational concepts, nutrition, even motivation of swimmers.  Fundamentally speaking, this book is as sound as any swimming text.  There have been others (Maglischo & Colwin) who have written other great swimming books but, in my opinion, Councilman's remains the seminal work on the sport.

I strongly encourage you to acquire a copy.  I found a few copies at that I am giving to my staff, but the book is no longer in print.  If you want to add a copy to your coaching library I wouldn't wait too long.

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