Courtesy: Trevor Rill
Have you ever had a bad meet? Real talk, bad meets happen. Sometimes we don’t even know why, it just wasn’t your time to swim fast. You feel bad, you haven’t achieved a PB all weekend, and worst of all, you feel that you’ve let your team, your coaches, and yourself down. Next time you find yourself in a situation where you feel that you aren’t going to have the best weekend, remember these three things to get you out of your slump and turn a bad meet into a good meet.
1. Don’t focus on the fact that you’re having a bad meet
I know this is a lot harder to do in reality. One thing that you can do to help you stay positive is focusing on one or two things you can do really well during your warm-up and warm-down that you can also practice in your race. Sloppy streamlines and turns? No more during this meet! Bilateral breathing on the freestyle events? You got it! Three dolphin kicks off every wall? No problem! You may not get a best time, but you are practicing good technique which will make you a better swimmer in the end.
2. See every race as an opportunity to learn and grow
This may sound like tip number one, but it really is different. Talk to your coaches and teammates and ask if they can film you during your next race. Understand that this isn’t going to be the best, nor the last, swim of your life, so you should see it as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Notice that you’re not pulling all the way through your fly or you are gliding too long on breast? Practice it and make it better!
3. Be a good teammate
This is probably the most important point of them all. Just because you’re having a bad meet doesn’t mean that your whole team will. If you’re having a bad meet, you shouldn’t try to steal someone else’s success away by having a bad attitude. Cheer for your friends and teammates and celebrate their success with them, it’ll be your time to shine soon enough.
4. Set practice performance goals
I lied, there are actually four tips. This is what you do after the meet is over. Set performance goals for yourself in practice. Use what you learned from your bad races and mistakes and implement them into your practice. No more breathing in and out of your turns. Tight streamlines and smooth entry on every pull. If you practice these things often enough, you will eventually form good habits and all of these little details that you work on in practice will become second nature.
Trevor Rill has been coaching in Maryland for about ten years and is currently the National Training Group Assistant Coach and Intro Coach for Eagle Swim Team. Trevor is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Sports Management and Leadership focusing on Sports Coaching at The United States Sports Academy and is an ASCA Level 5 Education Coach. Trevor is also an avid volunteer for MD Swimming LSC serving multiple roles on their board of directors, most recently serving as their Coaches Representative and also serves on the Safe Sport Committee. Coach Trevor has always held an athlete centered philosophy at the core of his coaching and wants to inspire his athletes to achieve excellence in and out of the pool.