TURNING THE PAGE
We’ve come to that time in the season where swimmers are preparing for a season ending meet, be it their high school state meet, USRY Championship, the senior sectional meet, or the Nor'Eastern Champs. After a hard season of training, swimmers will rest in to their BIG short course meet and see the results of their hard work. Will you meet the goals you set for yourself earlier in the season? Did you flip turn on every wall and remember bottom arm pull, second stroke breathe? Will you make it to finals and score for the team? Will you just fall short? Were your goals too easy? Were they too hard? Did you qualify for the next level of meet? WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH NEXT?
Meeting one’s goals is exciting and very satisfying. If you accomplish a goal that you have set for yourself, it is only right to take a few moments to shout, “HOORAY!” and accept the accolades of your parents and peers. If you don’t meet your goals, it is all right to feel disappointment and take a moment to hiss and boo. But once the moment has passed, swimmers need to immediately start looking ahead to their next goal. Realizing that swimming is an ongoing process is an important part of the strategy for success. Striving for goals is part of the energizing force that propels swimmers to success. And, as always, swimmers need to be aware of short-term goals as well as long term goals.
At the meet itself, when a swimmer is done with his or her event and after they have properly warmed down so that they will be prepared to race again, the swimmer comes to talk to the coach about their swim. The coach is going to evaluate the swimmer’s technique and performance. If the swimmer had a great swim and qualified for the finals’ session, ideally they will be able to take in the coach’s evaluations and make any adjustments to swim a better race that night. If the swimmer had a great swim yet didn’t make it into finals, still, they should be able to listen to the coach’s advice and apply it to their next swim - i.e. if they swam the 100 back and will swim the 200 back the next day, or they swam the 200 IM and have the 400 IM yet to come, they should learn some things to help them with that next swim. Swimmers may be making adjustments to their goals throughout the meet. “Oh, if I had just had a better turn I would have made it into finals in that event so I am going to concentrate on that turn in my next event to try to get in position to score ....”
The bigger picture also looms. Often swimmers will be so focused on their immediate goals that they fail to be looking ahead and be prepared for what happens beyond their big meet. Those who are looking beyond the immediate are usually the swimmers who continue to achieve success. Some swimmers will strive for Y Regional cuts and achieve them, but go to the meet and swim poorly because they haven’t prepared themselves mentally by creating new goals. Some swimmers will have their last big hoorah before they age up and then let their performance slide because they haven’t been looking ahead toward competing in the next age group. Successful swimmers are always aware of the next steps along the way and try to keep themselves in position to move forward. Looking ahead at the big picture helps these swimmers know what short-term goals they need to set to achieve their next long-term goal.
As coaches, as we come into these end-of-season meets, we will be evaluating the training of the season. After all the meets, we will pause, lighten the training load a bit, catch our breath and allow the swimmers to catch theirs, start some mechanical fine tuning in practice, and then move on into the next training period. Swimmers should be looking ahead to their summer plans. Advanced gold swimmers and above should be thinking about swimming long course. The benefits of training in a year-round program the whole year round cannot be over-stated. Whether you plan to swim with a summer league team or not (and yes, most of our swimmers do because it is FUN!), if you want to continue on the road to successful swimming, you should plan to spend time practicing with LY this summer. The benefits of good training typically show themselves six to nine months down the road, so taking the summer off will not enhance your competitive swimming next year. Also, preparing to swim a 50 yard race for summer league just doesn’t translate into proper training for year round success.
Good luck to everyone as we head toward the end of the short course season and KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE FUTURE!
Ashley Mauzy signed her National Letter of Intent to swim with Liberty University beginning in the fall of 2015. Go Flames!
CONGRATULATIONS TO BLAKE NOWAKOWSKI, LYNCHBURG'S ONLY SWIMMER TO EARN THE HONOR OF USA SWIMMING SCHOLASTIC ALL AMERICAN THIS PAST SEASON!!
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