We are with our team – North Bay Aquatics – at the Husky Invitational in Federal Way, Washington. What a fabulous facility and a great place to go racing!
This is our “shave and taper” meet for the fall training block. Our eggs are in this basket. It is most instructional as coaches and swimmers alike to watch the swims unfold, witnessing – yet again – the basic concept that most of the time swimmers race the way they train. If you have put the time and effort in you can expect the results to reflect this.
The thing that confounds us is when a swimmer indeed doesn’t race the way they have trained. A small disclaimer here; when swimmers are younger, growing every month they often improve their times simply having time elapse. Today we are talking about the older more experienced swimmers whose gains are incrementally smaller.
We have a couple of swimmers (all coaches do!) who are working on bringing their training level to the racing pool such that the race will more accurately reflect their level of prowess.
We find that if this type of swimmer will focus on the task rather than the result we often get the breakthrough we have seen daily/weekly in training sessions. And this is the biggest recommendation we have for those in this situation. Pick the one thing that will make a difference in the outcome and make that the goal of the swim; not the time swum.
Examples might include: integrating your kick into your stroke on the last half of a 200; staying low and tight on your fly or breast turns; pushing off into deeper water on fly, back or breast to get into calmer water; holding your breath on the breakout strokes on 50, 100 and 200 free and fly; the list is endless.
And at some point, the coach needs to challenge the swimmer to “get over herself” and do the swim the way they have practiced it. She must accept the fact that the outcome is in her hands and to “do it”…the “it” being the task.
So, while it is certainly important to train the way you want to race, once you have done that you need to then actually race the way you have trained. As a coach once you have mastered teaching this skill you will have a waiting list to get on your team!
Be well this week and have some fun at the pool!