THE PRE-SEASON STRUGGLE
The 4-6weeks at the beginning of the new season can be a struggle. Not only do you have to re-adapt to the early morning rises, but if you are anything like me, in the 3-4 weeks you’ve had off after the last meet of the season, minimal exercise has been done and a relaxed diet has been emphasised!
Pre-season therefore is very important. Not only for regaining fitness and getting used to the daily balance of school and sport again, but it is also the perfect opportunity to start afresh with new goals, improve technique and skills, and to kick off the new season with a rejuvenated mental state.
WHY IS PRE-SEASON IMPORTANT?
The first session back is always hard. It’s amazing how quickly you can lose your feel for the water. Your body doesn’t seem to be as coordinated as it was at the end of last season, and swimming more than 400m seems impossible! However, this is the perfect opportunity to try and adapt your technique or to work on skills that you and your coach highlighted as a weakness last season. Whilst everything still feels difficult to do, you should try and rebuild your technique better than it was before.
WHAT SHOULD I FOCUS ON?
To answer this, you must set yourself goals. An end of season goal is perfect, but it needs to be realistic. The next step is to break it down into achievable and manageable steps. If you know that in your race you need to be able to hit 15m underwater off every wall, then pre-season is the perfect opportunity to start working on this. If you know that you are bad at breathing into turns, then start emphasising this change now.
You can break your goals down further by trying to focus on them within a specific portion of the session. Start by doing the whole warm-up concentrating on your goal. Once it has become easy, push it into the swim-down as well. That way you will be trying to utilise your skill whilst you are tired at the end of the set. Finally, working on your skill for the whole session, especially main sets. Building good habits are important as when you are under pressure in a race, these good skills will happen naturally without having to think too much about them.
TALK TO YOUR COACH
You should always communicate with your coach with what you are trying to achieve. They will watch you swim every day and probably know your bad swim habits better than you! If they know you are trying to work on a specific skill, they will help you to focus on this during sets or when you get tired. They will also make sure you are working on the best ways to improve your swimming.
Finally, push yourself. If you have an end of season goal, make sure every day counts. Don’t waste a day practicing bad habits.
The Pre-Season Struggle: September 12th, 2017 by Kathryn Johnstone