Category Archives: Mike Barrowman

Dryland: Thoughts by Coach Kelton Graham

ASCA just started a focus group, comprised of roughly two dozen young, resourceful and dynamic coaches.  The topic of discussion this week — Dryland —

Here’s what Coach Kelton Graham, of Club Wolverine, had to say on the subject…

1.       Explain your general dryland plan.  (e.g., How many times per week?  How long?  What age kids?)

Coach Kelton:  Basically we start off with some dynamic stretching where we have the kids swing their arms and maybe some leg swings as well. Things like touch their toes and maybe arch their backs. Bend over and swing inside their feet and then swing outside their feet.  We do this maybe three times a week about 30 to 45 minutes ages 11 on up.  Depending on our location we like to use med balls.  I still use some of Mike Barroman’s exercises where the kids pass the ball back and forth and do chess passes, or over head tosses, between the leg tosses.  This is good for all ages, we have lighter med balls for the kids who are 11 and heavier ones for the older kids (up to 18).  We typically alternate between doing these sort of exercises and doing some core body work with a physio ball or just basic planks.  We also do pull ups and some of the older kids tend to use stretch cords as well.

I try to make my dryland follow the water portion of the season.  So in the beginning while I may be doing drills in the water and teaching.  In the beginning I am going over proper technique for maybe squats ( although I have to review this myself).  I maybe doing basic things such as sit ups and lunges etc. And just adding reps in order to build strength.  Not must need for speed yet.  And we ALWAYS ATTACK THE ABS.  We do as many ab exercises as we can in order to strengthen it.

As the season progresses, and I think the kids maybe getting bored, then I may add in the med balls and try to make them more explosive.  So mid season we may just be doing basic sets of 10,  I may ask the kids to increase the speed of them and become more explosive than before.


2.       Is your dryland plan for this time of year different than what you do in the fall or winter?

Coach Kelton:  Well yes and no.  Not to different than the fall, since that is also early season, but yes for the winter.  Right now, all we are doing is just dynamic stretching or just some basic ab work.  Our spring season just started today.  So we basically just introduced ourselves to the kids and that was about it.

3.       Where do you get your dryland information?  What is the best resource (e.g., book, website, person, course) you have used to improve your dryland?

Coach Kelton: Various places.  We are surrounded by colleges here in Ann Arbor. But I still like Mike Barrowman’s med ball training. I’ve  picked ideas from EMU and U of M.  Bottom and Richardson and Linn all have great ideas.  Vern Gambetta has some interesting things that he puts up on his web site.  Bailey Weathers has some good stuff.  There is even an old Scott Volkers video that I thought was really good that I some times peek at here and there. Bowman had some good stuff here that I still use.

4.       Do you have a specific dryland coach?

Coach Kelton: We’ve had some in the past, unfortunately they’ve all got other jobs because they are good at what they are doing they move on.

5.       Do you do dryland with your swimmers?

Coach Kelton: Sometimes, if I think it will motivate the kids to do a good job.  Like if I have a swimmer not doing a good job with a med ball, I may become his partner and do it with them and remind them that I am old and can still throw the ball harder than them. (That only works with boys).  Other times I may go running with some of the kids and just talk to them as we go around a track or just run through a trail of some sort, kids seem to like that sort of stuff.  Never play dodge ball with them, because they all just aim at you however.

6.       What do you want to know about other teams’ dryland plans and training?

Coach Kelton: Probably just seasonal planning.  And how do they keep it interesting?

7.       What do you want to share about your dryland plan that is not addressed in the above questions?

Coach Kelton: I think one thing that we do pretty well is that we mix it up quite a bit in order that certain kids excel at certain things.  Some of our kids are good runners, so every once in a while we may go for a run and you’ll see certain kids take off, while us coaches may be in the back with those kids lagging behind or if I am feeling good I may try to keep up with the fast kids.  Other days, we may see how many sit ups a kid can do in a minute and you’ll see another set of kids rising to the occasion and winning that competition as well.