I absolutely love analyzing, training and creating pattern changes. There are some obvious and maybe not so obvious reasons that pattern changes are unsynchronized. Here are 13 points to consider to increase your teams synchronization ability.
- There are NO COUNTS. Coaches you need to choreograph the start count of a pattern, the move counts and the click count of ALL your patterns.
- The swimmers legs are NOT READY. Often from an under water surface you can see some swimmers with their legs hanging out behind them. The knees need to be under the shoulders ready to kick. You can even set a leg ready count.
- The arms are NOT READY. Same as with their legs, the arms need to be ready for the next move. They need to be in position.
- There is NOT ENOUGH TIME for the pattern set-up or pattern change. Sometimes us coaches think they should be able to make it by a certain count. Watch your routine to see if you need to allow more time.
- Swimmers are swimming to the WRONG SPOTS. By this I mean the coach wants certain swimmers to be in certain spots so they do some weird switch under water before surfacing. This unnatural switch could be causing other swimmers problems getting to pattern.
- UNCLEAR SPACING guidelines. You need to tell your swimmers their spacing. In a hybrid are they foot to the knee of the swimmer they can see? You decide and ensure the entire team does it. Remember to do spacing when they are on the surface too.
- DIFFERENT UNDER WATER work. Some swimmers may be tucking others may be sprawling. Getting the swimmers to be all the same will help clean up patterns because the swimmers will all be swimming at the same time.
- LOOKING IN THE WRONG SPOT. Sometimes the swimmer is looking in the wrong spot with their head, shoulders or eyes. This can have the swimmer out of pattern to start and then clicking into a different pattern at the end. These swimmers think they are in pattern so you need to fix their shoulder or head position. Sometimes it is even where there gaze is.
- NO HEAD CHECKS. Some pattern changes need head checks. Especially in hybrids. This will cure many of the synchronization errors.
- Patterns that WORK on the STRAIGHT but NOT ON THE ANGLE. You need to make sure your patterns are easy for everyone to understand. It is most important your swimmers get it. A pattern change on the angle can be unsynchronized when there does not appear to a end a pattern to check.
- Swimmers CANNOT COUNT the music. Make sure you swimmers can count the music. Some pattern synchronization issues happen because swimmers think they are on count, but they really are counting off the music.
- The MUSIC CUT is hard to catch. Make sure that key pattern changes happen when everyone can count. Music cuts can be challenging.
- The move or click is on an EVEN COUNT. For many swimmers it is easier to swim on odd counts. So 1,3,5 and 7.
Those were my thoughts on why synchronization errors occur in pattern changes. Do you have any more to add? Please comment below if you do or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Synchro,