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Maintain the Edge - Holiday Swimming Tips from Coach Cheryl

18 December 2014

It may be the holidays, but Coach Cheryl Philp, head coach with Multisport, is never one to let the grass grow under her feet, or the feet of her squads for that matter!

Here’s her holiday message to swim squad members, with some great advice for maintaining the competitive edge even during the break.

Dear Team,

I would like to say a big thank you to all the swimmers and parents for your support and cooperation in the 1st half of this 2014/15 competition year which has aided the team to the successes we have reached this term.

I encourage the swimmers to use their break wisely and try to acquire a furthered edge on their swimming ability.  Here are some things the swimmer can do out of the water to achieve this:

Goal Setting - Goal setting is one of the most important skills taught to athletes in order to help them achieve optimal performance.

  • Download Meet Mobile
  • Research all of the meets you have attended (Multisport meets are not listed on MeetMobile)
  • Record all of the times you have swam for as many events as possible
  • Write down all of your PBs (Personal Bests {fastest times}) and display it on your mirror, on the fridge - somewhere that you see every day!
  • Memorise all of your PBs 
  • Write down on a separate sheet the GOAL TIMES you would like to achieve by Chinese New Year
  • Write down all 3 things you consistently need to do to achieve these times. For example, let’s say you want to swim FR in sub 30.  You may say: 1. Give more effort in KICK sets; 2. Attend 100% of sessions; 3. work on perfecting my dives and break outs each and every length.
  • IF YOU HAVE NO TIMES - don’t worry it doesn’t need to be time focused, it can be general goals.

Visualisation - Visualization has also been called guided imagery, mental rehearsal, mediation, and a variety of other things. No matter the term, the basic techniques and concepts are the same. Generally speaking, visualization is the process of creating a mental image or intention of what you want to happen or feel.

  • Think of a meet that went well for you
  • Think back to the things (big and little) that you did to prepare for the meet - this includes; swims, fitness, what you ate, what you wore, how you felt
  • Think of a meet that did not go well
  • Perform the same processes as you did before
  • Start to figure out what works for you.  Will you perform your best if you are very emotionally aroused?  Or are you a swimmer who likes to almost be woken from a nap or reading before stepping onto the blocks?  Did you swim well because you were well prepared? Did you swim well because you listened to your favourite song before the blocks?
  • Start to visualise the perfect race in your head. Now, just like a DVD, replay it over in your head; you can pause, rewind anytime you like.
  • If the visualisation goes wrong!! i.e. you start to lose or your goggles come off, don’t stop the visualisation, keep it going and think of what you will do if these things happen?  This is great preparation for meets.

Research - Whether you prefer to do old-fashioned research (books from the library) or the internet (wikipedia search all of the strokes, the medley relay, the free relay) take time to learn the techniques in your head so your body better understands what is being asked of it!

  • 'Go Swim' is a great swimming website that releases drills each week with good videos of how to do it!
  • USA Swimming is great and has lots of land-based exercises!
  • Youtube for those with a VPN or Youku; these are the following things that I recommend and explore as you will; Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Ian Thorpe, Rebecca Soni, Dana Torres (one of my favourite swimmers, she has been to 5 Olympic Games and gained a place on the team as a 41yrs old athlete, incredible!), Chad Le Clos, Allison Schmitt, Natalie Coughlin, Pieter van den Hoogenband, Leisl Jones, Amanda Beard (one of the youngest Olympic Athletes at 14 years old).  After researching, start to send me your favourite swimmers!
  • I would highly recommend every swimmer watching each one of Michael Phelps medal races in order 1-8 from Beijing 2008.    
  • Read NO LIMITS, Michael Phelps biography.  
  • One of my favourite races - this shows you how important FINISHES are! On YouTube OR YouKu 

Land-Based Exercises - Your families can help you with these basic exercises

  • Sit-ups
  • Stretching - stretching your hamstrings so you can place you hands flat on the ground without bending your knees - hold stretches for as long as possible - the longer the better!
  • Cycling is great for leg strength 
  • Lunges
  • Squads
  • Press-ups - nose to ground - back flat (girls should be able to do 10 solid press-ups by Jan / boys you should be able to do 25/30 solid press-ups by Jan)
  • Pull-ups
  • General sports or activities; doesn’t need to be anything more than going out for a walk!
  • Planks

Have a wonderful holiday!

Coach Cheryl