Courtesy of SPIRE, a SwimSwam partner.
The question often is asked, “what’s a typical day like for a SPIRE Academy student-athlete?” The answer, more often than not, is that there is nothing “typical” about a day on campus here in Geneva, Ohio. That’s especially true when it comes to our swimming program. Yes, we focus on training our student-athletes in the water through a variety of drills and techniques to develop their skills and strokes. However, what makes our methodology unique is the emphasis on everything that takes place out of the water, both mentally and physically. Through a steady mix of performance, personal and mental training, we seek to get the most out of our athletes to make sure their minds and bodies are as well prepared as possible to reach the next level.
There are three core pillars of athletic development and training that we focus on for each student-athlete:
- Physical: Power, Speed, Agility, Strength, Conditioning, Endurance
- Mental: Visualization, Determination, Goal Setting, Application to Sport, Application to Life
- Nutrition: Awareness, Goals, Nutrient Timing and Ratios, Supplementation, Hydration
With a unique program developed by Director of Aquatics, Thad Schultz, and Director of Performance, Bobby Kaleal, a priority is placed on developing SPIRE swimmers out of the water as much as they do in the water.
“The SPIRE program is unique as we pride ourselves on performance dry-land conditioning,” explains Kaleal. “Our student athletes our doing dry-land training three days a week and have options to do recovery work the other two days.”
This not only gives the swimmers a break from the physical rigors of daily training in the pool but also a mental break and a change of scenery to work on other training methods that can’t be done under the water. Coach Schultz approaches their dry-land training with a “core-centric” focus by trying to maintain the same biomechanics on land as what’s used in the water.
Coach Schultz adds, “The dry-land training works as a part of the daily and weekly training cycle. We have three sessions per week that work with our eight water training sessions.”
Any good swimmer also knows that the key to success is just as much mental as it is physical. Having the perfect technique, perfect form and fastest stroke doesn’t always guarantee success. Having the mental focus and fortitude to wake up early each day, get in the pool and train with relentless dedication can be as mentally taxing as any other sport.
Kaleal elaborates, “Mental training and swimming go hand in hand. If you are mentally prepared to deal with the demand of the sport, then you will not be able to handle the physical demand necessary to succeed. Our swimmers are reminded that the actual competition is your victory, and what you go through to get to the competition is where the majority of the mental focus comes into play.”
Proper rest, recovery, nutrition and focusing on the approach and not on the results allows SPIRE swimmers to be mindful of their performance and less about nerves when it comes time to compete. SPIRE strives for each of its students to reach their own best achievements, while at the same time also developing a strong sense of character, leadership and communication. This attitude opens doors for both their personal performance goals as well as their team’s growth and achievement.
Kaleal considers SPIRE’s training methodology as “proactive.” They strive to support the demands of the sport by supporting movements through tactics focused on explosiveness, corrective and proactive exercises, strength, balance, mobility and joint integrity exercises, as well as regular and rotational core training.
“We are always adapting and changing as the season goes along,” Coach Schultz added. “Bobby has done an amazing job of staying on top of where we are in the season, working through weaknesses and inflexibilities and continuing to press the swimmers in everything they do.”
If you’re looking to Fuel Your Passion and join an innovative program that will help you develop your skills in and out of the water, then check out everything SPIRE Academy has to offer. Download our Admissions Guide today and dive in with us!
SPIRE is also offering two performance-based swimming camps in April, with one camp focused on strength training and the other on mental training. To learn more and to register today, please visit https://www.spireacademy.com/camps/camps-swimming/.
SPIRE Institute is the epitome of a ‘real world lab’ for professional, technical and health and wellness research. Like never before, student trainees and elite athletes will have the chance to train, study and be studied side-by-side with weekend warriors, wounded Veterans, Paralympians, Olympians and Special Olympians, as well as juniors, collegians and adults of all ages and ability levels. SPIRE is truly a melting pot of all things relative to long-term training and education development, and all of this delivered within a fun, healthy and inspiring environment. The “SPIRE Way’’ focuses on the development of the whole self – building strong minds, strong bodies and strong character.