First off the photo really has nothing to do with the post, but I thought it was cute and at the very least pool related. Perhaps I should have titled the post “get your ducks in a row”. Anyways . . .
Many of you are heading into your biggest competitions of the season, so I thought I would give you some “must do’s” for routine that will ensure that the routine performances are season bests. These tips will help you combat the preventable and controllable things that can go wrong at competition.
1. Train full presentation
At all times swimmers must train full presentation. Presentation does not come naturally to everyone. By practicing presentation it becomes more natural and real looking. I am amazed by the lack of presentation skills because it is a skill you do not need to be a talented as a synchro swimmer to have. I think teams that are weaker technically should be trying everything possible to look like they are having a fun time in the water. Work on getting the manner of presentation score up there. Coaches you must correct this skill. It is judged.
2. Count Walls
This one gets me all the time. Swimmers must count walls in spins. Every pool has four walls so get used to counting and not relying on what the wall looks like. Get used to seeing the distance you are from each wall when you are at the specified spin. We have all been to pools that have lights on a wall that you are not accustomed to or lights on all four walls. Perhaps there are no lines on the walls. If you count walls you will have a much better idea of where you are going and it will take the stress of competing down.
3. Lap One Starts from the Deck
In training leading up to competition always start from the deck on lap one and for swim throughs. The deck work is apart of the lap. Getting out of the pool for lap one is often dreaded because the swimmers get cold, but they could be cold at the competition. How will they deal with shivering. Besides being cold, the choreography in the water may change with the deck work being added.
4. Practice Walk-ons at your Home Pool
More teams need to figure out the walk-ons at home. You can find information about the walk on area so do the research and prepare before you get to the competition. The competition should just be for tweaking. Have you ever tried to synchronize a walk-on that has a step up in it? It is a lot harder than you think.
5. Swimmers look at Judges
This one is tricky, but the way I have fixed this predicament is to set a judge chair to look at in practice. For the meets I would go to the chairs were always relatively in the same spot, so at practice I would tell swimmers to look at chair one even though there was no physical chair. Once at the competition they knew where to look. They were trained at practice the correct chair to look at. The chair order stays the same even though the position may change slightly. This way at the competition you are not telling them what chair to look at. They already know.
Competition is meant for top performances and for the swimmers to be on auto-pilot. The five “must do’s” are things that may unnecessarily cause stress to a swimmer. Do you really want your swimmer to be worried about their walk-on prior to competing or would you rather them be mentally ready to compete?
Coach and plan for your swimmers to be successful.
For more tips on preparing for competition check out 23 Things to Consider in Preparation for a Competition.
Share your tricks and tips on my Facebook Page.
Yours in Synchro,