Synchronization is key to the success of every team. If your routine is unsynchronized it is difficult for the judges to see and appreciate the choreography. The list is in no particular order. Some suggestions are easy, others may cause resistance from some athletes.
1. Count in a language where the words are shorter. For example, seven in english takes longer to say than “sept” in french. The longer it takes to say the count the greater the chance for an error in synchronization.
2. Only say the counts you use. I like counting 1,3,5,7,1,3,5,7 . . . Most choreography does not happen on the even numbers so do not waste your athletes memory on counts they do not need- the extra counts are clutter. If a move does go on 6 then count 1,3,5,6,7.
3. Have tapping sessions where you do not use the music and tap only the counts. You will find out who knows the counts versus those who swim to the music.
4. Count on the microphone while the team swims. The athletes will all learn to hear the music the same. If you cannot count the music do not use this approach.
5. Have the athletes swim sections one at a time.
6. Landdrill to counts only. Stop and review when errors happen.
7. Choreographed movements need to stop. Synchronization errors occur because athletes do not stop the movement. Make sure your team starts and finishes movements on the correct count.
8. Use video. Athletes do not always believe what you tell them. If they see it then they may understand. You need to point out the synchronization errors. Not athletes will be watching synchronization even if you tell them to.
9. Landdrill with eyes closed. Not in pattern. This way you will catch the swimmers that watch others for synchronization help.
10. Visualization. Have the team visualize their performances. The goal is for them to see themselves swimming the routine error free. Mental mistakes in visualization will be real mistakes in the routine.
11. Get your music cut professionally so the transitions in the music are seamless and countable. Weird cuts lead to synchronization errors.
13. Demonstrate correct counts.
14. Use your voice to emphasize sharpness of counts. If you coach in a monotone voice the movements may look slow and sloppy. If you count precisely and with enthusiasm your swimmers will be more likely to swim with the same energy.
“Highest energy wins”
15. Use music your swimmers can count. If one swimmer cannot count it move on. There is a pretty good chance they will never get how to count it.
16. Put a consistent metronome beat underneath the music in hard to count sections.
17. Have the team swim the routine to the metronome only. Boring but effective.
18. Elimination. The team performs small parts and whoever has no errors get’s to sit out. Synchronization is not everyone’s strength so be careful using tis technique. If a swimmer is always last they may get discouraged.
19. Watch the swimmers set-up from under water. Are there legs ready to do the surface on time? Often swimmers get their legs when then are supposed to be surfacing.
20. Watch the direction the swimmers are facing under water. This can effect the synchronization of the movement if one swimmer is on the angle and another one is on the straight. The choreography will look off.
What have you found to be the most effective way to train synchronization? Do you have any other great ways to improve synchronization? If you do share below or on my Facebook page.
Looking for some reasons why synchronization errors occur then check out this blog post.
Yours in Synchro,