Olivier Poirier-Leroy is a former national level swimmer based out of Victoria, BC. In feeding his passion for swimming, he has developed YourSwimBook, a powerful log book and goal setting guide made specifically for swimmers. Sign up for the YourSwimBook newsletter (free) and get weekly motivational tips by clicking here.
You trained your butt off all year, through the holiday training camp, all of those two-a-days, ditched hanging out with friends on the weekend in favor of sleep and Saturday morning workouts, and then finally got the opportunity to shine on the biggest stage of your swimming career.
No matter whether you exceeded expectations, or if you came up just short of your goals, after the meet is a fantastic time to debrief (see what I did there?). With a few minutes of reflection you get some perspective and intel on your performances, and draw lessons learned and apply them moving forward so that you can swim even faster next time around.
Here are 6 questions to ask yourself after the big meet:
1. How prepared was I for this competition?
There is no ducking this one. This question asks you to be accountable for the prep you did for the meet, both good and bad. It can be easy to shrug off a sub-par performance, but in doing so the opportunity to learn the lesson is thrown away.
The way we swim at our meets is nearly always an accurate indicator of how well we prepared. Sure, there are athletes who experience injuries just prior to the meet resulting an unfairly bad swim, but by and large the results at the competition are forged in practice.
Look back at the past few months of training. How consistent were you? During practice were you giving your best, while also focusing on improving technique and decreasing your stroke counts? Did your lifestyle choices provide you the best possible training environment?
(Okay, so I may have lied in the title. There’s a few more than 6 questions.)
2. Did you have a consistent pre-race routine to get you mentally and physically ready?
Last week we discussed the radness of having a pre-race routine, and the effects it can have on maxing out your performance come time to get up on the blocks.
Over the course of your competition did you do everything you could to prepare for each effort? Did you warm-up until the point that you felt ready to swim out of your mind? Or did you dial them in, swimming until you felt like it, or until your friends got out of the water? Were your warm-downs consistent and long enough to get you ready to race again?
3. What did I do well in my preparation for this competition?
There were some things that you did spectacularly well. It’s important to list and inventory these to give you something to build off of moving forward.
From each competition you should be able to add to the list of things that work in getting you to swim at the peak of your abilities. Over the course of a few meets you will be able to have a legit inventory of things to do each meet to insure some seriously fast swimming.
From the training you did in the months and weeks leading up to the competition there were areas where you totally nailed it. Write these out as well.
4. What are some things I can improve in my preparation?
On the other side of things, what are aspects of your prep and competition that you can improve on moving forward?
Having a list of things that work, and also a “don’t do” list of things combined can really help you stay focused on staying on the right side of things.
Looking at your training in particular, what are some things you can work on improving in the future?
5. Where are 3 areas in my race that I can improve on moving forwards?
Sit down with your coach and go over your race in detail. What are three areas of your race where you can see the most improvement? Were you losing time on the competition over the course of the starts? Out to slow? Stroke count too high?
Having the general, over-arching stuff to work on – things like consistency, diet, whatever – is good, but you want to have some specific stuff to improve over the next training cycle.
The more specific these things are, the easier it is for you to build a plan to take action.
6. What is next with my goals?
In the broad overview of your big, long term goals, where does this meet fit in? Are you on pace for achieving that world record in Rio, behind pace, or showing even more progress than you had planned on? Take a few moments to write out where this meet falls in the scope of your swimming, and chart a path forward.
YourSwimBook is a log book and goal setting guide designed specifically for competitive swimmers. It includes a ten month log book, comprehensive goal setting section, monthly evaluations to be filled out with your coach, and more. Learn 8 more reasons why this tool kicks butt.
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