We were talking with Coach Mark the other day working to simplify the tapering process. We remember clearly when we first started coaching. Tapering was a mystery. We quickly learned how important it was because everyone was talking about it. Then, somewhere along the way we realized that it wasn’t so complicated after all.
We think two things really are important. First you must be rested so that the work you have done can come to the surface and be available to you. Secondly, you need to be supremely confident so you are ready when it counts the most.
Most swimmers don’t rest enough. Why is that? Well for one thing, it takes more courage to rest than it does to train. Also, folks worry a lot about getting out of shape. So, remember to rest, both in and out of the pool. Oh, one more thing. Unlike a math final you cannot cram for a swim meet. So, take whatever work you have done, even if it hasn’t been very much, and then rest like crazy.
Confidence is the most important muscle in the athlete’s body. How do you get it? Pretty simple again; you look at how much stronger you are, your times in the mid and late season compared to last year at this time, your repeats in workouts…you get the picture. Look at what you have; not what you don’t have or what the other guy has and see how big your shortfall is.
And if you haven’t done much work and your times aren’t faster than last season, well then – deal with it. Put a smile on your face and realize that there are probably hundreds of thousands of folks your age who would much rather be in your shoes than theirs. And do your best so that you can say you gave it your best shot. And if you aren’t pleased with the results then you can do something about it the next time. This is what is so great about our sport. Each swimmer has the personal power to makes him/herself faster and better.
And we would say one more thing about this time of year, here in California in particular. Our high school season is ending just as the school year ends. There are multiple distractions for the swimmer/student…or student/swimmer. There are the end of season festivities and heightened expectations with multiple championship meets. You are faced with the end of year school testing and finals. There are many social distractions, not the least of which is school proms. And if you are a senior, you have graduation – practice for same and parties and festivities.
Our advice to our team is very simple – “Resolve to stay on track and then do so.”