RITTER Sports Performance Athlete Spotlight: Melissa Schafer

As you may know, I am a Performance Coach for RITTER Sports Performance. Below you will find a blog post regarding one of my online athletes, Melissa Schafer! It captures our very successful go at the 2016 Nationwide U.S. Masters Spring National Championship.

Check out what Melissa has to say about RITTER Sports Performance:

Interested in learning more about RITTER Sports Performance? 

Learn more about RITTER: http://rittersp.com/?ref=melissapost

Online Training Programs: http://rittersp.com/online/athlete/?ref=melissapost

Blog Post: 

Way back in November, I had the privilege of “meeting” Melissa. We had just wrapped up our initial phone call to discuss which RITTERSP path would best fit her needs. I’ll never forget at the end of our first call.

After about 30-minutes of discussion about RITTERSP programming, Melissa asked, “So you program my strength training right? Not the pool stuff?”.

It makes me smile when I look back and see how far we have progressed. Melissa set goals that were 4-7 seconds faster than her pre-RITTERSP times. Despite having some concerns, Melissa decided to take the leap of faith and sign up for RITTERSP Online Training. She opted for the Silver plan, which meant monthly updates to training.

My initial focus was to balance out some of her assessment score areas. For Melissa, this involved a heavy focus on shoulders and hips. On top of balancing out these areas, we started building our base strength. At RITTERSP we focus on hinge, squat, push, pull, and brace movements.

Monthly calls with Melissa were epic! Melissa always had great questions about how the training was going to help her with her goals. She also wanted to know more than just the surface level implications of an exercise. This let me nerd out on the program and help give her enough information to continue buying into the program. Melissa’s biggest struggle was trusting that her minimized time in the pool (compared to her college days) would truly allow her to reach her goals.

We entered 2016 with a focus on volume. This was also when Melissa started to notice her body changing due to training. While on a skiing trip, she realized her legs could hold lines better and she could turn with ease. In January we continued to build up Melissa’s strength. In February, strength continued to build but power also entered the equation. It was time for Melissa to start focusing on being fast.

March started with a little curveball. Melissa had about a week of illness. Being so close to nationals, Melissa was worried how this would impact her performance. We focused on maintaining joint function and doing low intensity movement as she recovered. After a week of easing back into things, it was full steam ahead.

Volume decreased throughout March but intensity was on the rise. We focused on less repetitions but heavier repetitions. Melissa would transition quickly from a heavy movement to a bodyweight speed movement, focusing on contrast. She also closed in on completing her first unassisted pull-up. As for conditioning, we started to mimic the duration of her events. By using rowers and other conditioning modalities, we focused training a range that encompassed the length of her events in the pool.  

March was a tough month in the pool for Melissa. The illness knocked out a week. Travel altered her swim schedule the next. A third week was affected by a busy life. She managed as many sessions in the pool as she could (1-2 a week).

Doubt started to creep in.

Melissa was unsure if a good national performance at the end of April was really possible. She signed up for a final tune up meet in early April to ease her mind. Melissa experienced slight drops in her times while racing conservatively!

April’s training focused on getting Melissa mentally and physically ready for the big meet. It was all about being FAST! We maintained Melissa’s strength with less reps and heavier weights. This allowed her body to experience lesser volume and not feel worn down. Melissa completed explosive movements to put the finishing touches on her training. Melissa also reached a huge milestone in the weeks leading up to the meet. She completed her first unassisted pull up!

After all of the ups and downs over the previous five months, it was time to race!

Results:

2016 Nationwide U.S. Masters Spring National Championship

100 Free 30-34yr: 4th-56.52 (59.23 seed time)

200 IM 30-34yr: 5th 2:20:07 (2:27:34 seed time)

            *Niagara District Record!

This is only the beginning! Look out for Melissa to make an even bigger splash in the future!

Bo Hickey

RITTERSP Performance Coach