First time using Phlex guide
As long-time swimmers and coaches, we are intimately familiar with the day-to-day process of training at nearly every level of the sport; from age group swimming to collegiate programs, masters swimming, professional leagues and all the way up to the Olympics.
During our time in the sport, we experienced the all too common challenge of fine-tuning a training program for each individual athlete. Phlex’s Coaching Platform was designed from the ground up with these (and other) challenges in mind. Phlex for teams is a simple system that is comprised of 3 core parts, 1) the Phlex wearable device (developed in partnership with Polar), 2) the Phlex Swim mobile app, and 3) the Phlex Coaching Platform web dashboard. These core parts work together in an easy-to-understand way:
- The coach goes to our website at app.phlexswim.com to setup their complimentary coach account with the Coaching Platform web app (available from any internet-connected device).
- After logging into their coach account, the coach can enter a swimmer’s email to invite them to join their team.
- The swimmer then sets up their account through the Phlex Swim mobile app (available on iOS and Android phones), including linking their new device for the first time.
- The swimmer places the device onto their favorite pair of goggles, turns on the device and jumps in the water for a workout.
- Following their workout, the device will automatically send workout data to their phone for processing and then uploading to the Phlex cloud.
- Once the workout has finished syncing with the swimmer's phone, it will be available for review by the coach in the coaching platform.
- That’s it! It’s as simple as that. Every workout will be kept in the cloud for you to review and analyze for as long as your subscription is active.
How Phlex personalizes a swimmer’s profile
Phlex individualizes the analysis of each swimmer by creating (and continuously updating) a baseline of their physiology and technique. The baseline consists of finding each athlete’s maximum heart rate, and creating training zones based on their speed at each heart rate zone. In the first few weeks using Phlex, you will notice that the athlete profiles will not be fully populated or the data will not make much sense. This is because the first few weeks using the device are used to create your baseline metrics. We suggest giving your team 2 to 3 weeks for these athlete baselines to be relevant. While 2 to 3 weeks is just a suggestion, this time will allow enough workout data to be processed for all 4 strokes in every training zone.
You might be wondering, what are training zones and how are they personalized? While most coaches are used to heart rate as a reference for a swimmers effort, we know that every athlete has different responses to training. One swimmer, most likely a distance swimmer, can have a lower maximum heart rate and therefore maintain a lower heart rate throughout practice. So while getting heart rates is a good and well-tested system, Phlex takes personalizing training zones to the next level. By including Critical Speed for each of these athletes training zones, heart rate metrics now become more valuable. As a coach, you will be able to track speeds at different heart rates, and prescribe training or pace times based on every athlete’s unique physiology.
Track your Season’s Progress
We track over 30 different metrics during every workout that is swum with the device. These are then brought together to provide an analysis of 3 key areas in the coaching platform: Readiness and Load Management, Technique Trends, and Fitness Level.
Load Management and Readiness:
- Phlex allows you to easily track and view the training load for every athlete. Training load is a comparison of your current week’s load (7 day rolling average), compared to the last “training block”, in this case the last 4 week average (28 day rolling average). Training load is calculated by factoring both the distance of practices and intensity during the practice. Intensity is calculated by time spent in different training zones.
- Training load can be viewed in the coaching platform in 4 categories.
- Resting: Sometimes called detraining in sports science, the coaching platform will indicate a swimmer is in this phase whenever their current average is over 5% less than their last training block average.
- Maintaining: This category is pretty self explanatory. An athlete will be labeled in this phase whenever they are within 5% of their last training block average.
- Building: Building is the ideal phase for most of the season. This phase is defined by being between 5-20% above your last training block average.
- Overload: Overtraining can definitely lead to injury and less effective training. Swimmers will be labeled in this training phase whenever their current week’s average is 20% higher than their last training block.
- Under this area in the coaching platform, Phlex will also give you that athlete’s speed at aerobic and anaerobic zones. This can be useful to reference when a swimmer might be overtraining, since you will see a drop off in speed at a higher heart rate. As a coach, you never want to see the speed at aerobic threshold get too close to the speed at anaerobic threshold. You can also reference this during meet preparation, when an athlete should get faster in both zones.
- We provide, update, and track progress over time on the 4 training zones that are derived from Critical speed and our data collection.
- The athlete’s heart rate data is connected to the training zones to provide key insights into how well an athlete is adapting to their training. The obvious goal here is to increase your speed while staying at the same heart rate zone.
- The training zones can also be used to prescribe training in a very similar way to the well-known and established color or rainbow charts popularized by Jon Urbanchek and Jim Richardson. (The coaching platform provides a simple calculator tool to create these pace charts for every training zone).
- Phlex tracks stroke rate, stroke length (distance per stroke), stroke index (speed times distance per stroke) for all 4 strokes. Besides tracking all 4 strokes individually, Phlex also tracks technique metrics at every training zone.
- The trend of these metrics over time indicates changes in technical efficiency for the swimmer, and this is monitored for each stroke to then provide a “Technique score” for each stroke.
- By default, each swimmer will display their Freestyle Technique score as the “primary stroke” throughout their profile, but this can be changed at any time. Example: If you have a breaststroke specialist on your team, you might want to have the breaststroke metrics show up at first glance rather than freestyle.
More tools for your team
We have covered the essentials in the coaching platform to implement Phlex with your team. While exploring the rest of the dashboard, you will notice other tools you can use with your team. Below, you will see some of the features you have as a coach.
- Build an Athlete Report: With this tool, at the click of a button, you will be able to create a one page printable pdf of an athletes profile. This can be used to have 1-on-1 meetings with your athletes, to share with other staff members to improve communication, or to send to parents periodically to keep them informed.
- Create Pace Charts: As swimmers, we know how important pace can be. Managing pace for a big team can be very stressful, and this is when you would use this tool in the coaching platform. By selecting some simple settings, like athletes, distances and strokes, Phlex will automatically generate pace charts based on each training zone for the athletes you selected. It’s as simple as that, this tool is mostly used to write practices at desired training zones or to create pace charts for race pace.
- History Tab: A pretty simple, yet very powerful tool in your dashboard. Here, you will be able to see all the workouts ever uploaded to that Phlex profile. This allows for simple comparison between sets throughout the year. Most coaches are using this during test sets they like to do, or even to just compare different metrics throughout the season.
- Export a Training Report: Much like an athlete report, this tool lets you create a training report for a single workout. Once again, many coaches use this during test sets or sets they like to do more than once during the season. What can be very useful here as well is to compare multiple swimmers in your team with a similar one page printable full of splits and metrics.
Phlex aims to be the ultimate swimming platform for coaches. Here at Phlex, we know being a coach means way more than just creating training programs. You inspire, and build deep relationships based on trust, respect and understanding. Our platform saves you the time and energy to do exactly that. Coaches are using Phlex many different ways with their teams, we can’t wait to see how you will use it!