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.
This time of year is very formative, daunting, and exciting all rolled into one for swimmers. After a brief break we get back into the meat-and-potatoes of training, a clean slate before us, pounding out miles of drill and aerobic work, laying the foundation for a fresh set of goals.
With no tapers in sight, no championship competitions for miles (and miles), and nothing but training staring you in the face the fall can be a little daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. This is the time of year where we are all given a clean start, and a fresh set of opportunities to improve and define ourselves as swimmers.
Here are 7 ways for swimmers to reap the most of the start of the new season:
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1. Get back to the fundamentals.
With a new season you have a fresh start with your stroke and technique. What are those corrections you were meaning to make but kept postponing last year? Now is the best time to hammer those into habit, so that when the mileage and intensity ramps up in the upcoming weeks and months you will have solid fundamentals as a foundation to build on.
2. Analyze the season that was.
Just because the previous season is in the rear-view doesn’t mean that you should steamroll over the valuable lessons it can provide. Sure, the parts of the season that sucked where you were injured, or got sick will stick out because, well, the sucky parts unfortunately tend to outshine the good things. Learn from those setbacks – make sure you are staying ahead of injury by doing pre-hab, and cut down on sick days by taking better care of yourself. And speaking of the positives, there were things that you did super well, so make sure you are incorporating those into the new season and building on them as well.
3. Get short with your goals.
Especially at the beginning of the season, when the days are short, the nights long, and your first big meet is perhaps even off into the new year, it is important to set yourself some mini-goals. Doing so will keep you focused on your swimming, add purpose to what you are doing, and keep you motivated through the long bouts of training.
4. Slap around that part of your swimming you’ve always wanted to improve.
We all have those little weaknesses in our swimming that we never quite find our way to getting around to solving. The beginning of the season is a perfect opportunity to attack that weakness and finally improve on it. Whether it is improving on your kick, adding distance to your underwater, or even flexibility-related issues, the fall is a perfect time to put in work on these areas. The best part? As long as you stick with it over the winter months that weakness will shuffle over into your armory of weapons.
5. What you invest now will pay dividends next summer.
The fall and winter are where the foundation of your performances next summer are being built. The habits you choose to adopt (or carry on from previous seasons), the consistency you provide in the pool, and the technique and breathing patterns you instill now will carry you through the rest of the year. Remember to have a long-view mindset when you are feeling like all you are doing is pounding out mindless yardage; the way you train now is an investment for your swimming next spring and summer.
6. Get a feedback loop going with your coach.
When making those little adjustments in your technique or stroke, stay in constant contact with your coach so that you are getting the necessary feedback. He or she is there to provide you with the expert instruction to help you improve as a swimmer. You and I both know that the way we perceive ourselves swimming in the water isn’t always a very accurate reflection of what we are actually doing, so make sure that you engage in a feedback loop with your coach.
7. Choose what kind of swimmer you want to be this year.
With a fresh slate comes a new opportunity to be the swimmer you want to be. Last season is long gone, and the way we judge ourselves is based on how we do the next time we grace the competition pool. Will you be the swimmer that never misses a practice? That never gives up on the main set? That is a supportive and positive influence amongst the other swimmers on the team?
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.
NEW: We now have motivational swimming posters. Five of ’em, actually.
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