Over the past few months I have been able to get to competitions and observe a variety of athletes from age group through to senior experienced swimmers.

A key observation is that the athletes that seem to prepare for their races with routine and walk behind the blocks with a process to follow are the ones who execute their race plans best.

The benefit of having a routine is that you allow the swimmer to follow a step by step process that requires them to think about each step and not the outcome of the race.

What I Observe in Swimmers

What I observe when swimmers don’t follow a set routine is that they:

  1. Warm up too soon and sit around for along time
  2. There warm up varies from a short warm up to a long one and changes content (made up as they go)
  3. On the way out to the blocks their eyes dart around and they fidget with their goggles and cap.
  4. Stand behind the blocks with arms crossed or not looking relaxed at their side.

I Like To See

I like to see the following for swimmers of all ages at competitions.

  1. Set up a warm up time for them that gets them out within 30 minutes of racing, where possible.
  2. Set up 3-4 different warm ups for varying distances so that athlete can select it to follow. Laminate for them to have on deck
    a. Example: 200 IM warm up – 300 swim/kick/pull + 3×100 IM + 4×50 25 swim 25 drill IM order + 2x dive starts fly
  3. Practice the walk out and routine for standing behind the blocks prior to race (do this at training each week)
  4. Practice step up on blocks, placing feet and readying for the starters signal

There are many things that a coach can do for the athlete to develop a routine.

I remember every time my athlete walked out to compete being able to see if they were following their routine, if they were I felt confident, if not I got nervous!!