Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Bounce

One of the things we have been doing with a lot of success lately is working "The Bounce". We define the bounce as the lift we get after an exceptional performance.

It is really very simple. When a swimmer has a good swim at a meet we talk about what went right and how that made the difference. It could be something that led to a fast time or the execution of a skill we have been working on in training that produced the desired positive result, regardless of the time. Either way, we identify the result as a bounce in performance level. By acknowledging it we validate the entire process.

We talk about what the swim used to look like, how we have worked on the skill to make the change we want and then recognize the desired result as proof positive of the progress being made.

We even take it so far as to recognize a good repeat during a set and then encourage the swimmer to put another one right behind it. This builds their confidence during the set and gets them to expect more from themselves. Intrinsic motivation is the best kind, believe us on this one!

Frank Busch, Coach at Arizona, talks about how if you put a few good repeats together you have a good set. Put a few sets together you have a good workout; a few workouts gets you a good week; a few weeks gets you a can see where this goes.

We just had a really clear example of this. We finished our fall training block with some excellent results in our December shave meet. We bounced off that into a fine 4-5 week training block with a local meet in mid January. We swam very well at that meet with many of our swimmers showing better technique and more accurate splitting. We then talked about why they were able to do these things. This further empowered them for the last two weeks. We had a workout on Saturday that was spectacular. They knew it was coming and then they delivered. We will talk about the process again at our team meeting to raise everyone's awareness of just how well they are doing.

Tiger Woods is famous for his "Long Term Success Cycle". Picture a circle and at 12 is "You Feel Confident". At 4 is "You Take Inspired Action" and at 8 is "You Achieve Success". It is a process that feeds on itself. The key is the part where you need to take inspired action.

That action can be the smallest thing, like a short set on an interval you have never done short as 2x100. When you achieve it, you acknowledge it and bounce of it to the next step. Give this a whirl in your training and you will see the results for yourself.

All comments and feedback are welcome. Have a great week!

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