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:
- Warm up too soon and sit around for along time
- There warm up varies from a short warm up to a long one and changes content (made up as they go)
- On the way out to the blocks their eyes dart around and they fidget with their goggles and cap.
- 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.
- Set up a warm up time for them that gets them out within 30 minutes of racing, where possible.
- 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
- Practice the walk out and routine for standing behind the blocks prior to race (do this at training each week)
- 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!!