Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Things We Need To Do Better

Here are 5 things that we should have learned from 2008 but, I feel, have failed to demonstrate adaptation...

1.) Many races were won and lost underwater. I often hear coaches talk about 5 or 6 or 7 kicks underwater on all sets, but what we saw in 2008 (and saw the winning athletes do really well in 2012) is kick really fast and powerfully. Practicing fast kicking is key... getting in slow kicks only helps your ability to hold your breath and control exhale rate. FAST kicks have to be practiced all the time; not just when you feel like it.

2.) Breathing in and out of walls and double breaths (one once to each side of your body successively) is NEVER seen on a world level, but an alarming thing that I'm seeing at all levels of competition... even now at Senior Nationals. We're not going to win with a base like that.

3.) Warmdown is so important to clear lactate and allow your body to maximize performance later. The TV cameras showed Missy Franklin and Ryan Lochte warming down when they only had 20min between races at finals. Some people found this comical, but it was a very important thing to show, especially for younger kids. Refer to my write up on the 2011 Indianapolis Grand Prix and how many of the Ontario Athletes took this seriously. Warm down is a part of winning and we all need to learn how to do it without being distracted. This an extra 1% that is a gimme if we'd just do it properly. 

4.) Multiple events are possible, and scratching one to focus on another is not neccessary. It's not easy, but it's doable - Just ask 17 year old Missy Franklin. We need the toughness to be able to do more than one great event in a session (especially since Age Group Sessions are approaching 5 hours in length now).

5.) Swimming is the most watched sport in the Olympics and people watch it because it's exciting. We need to make our championship meets more exciting. I love what the Hickin meet did this year and I the larger level meets (Provincials, Age Group Champs, Senior Nats) need to make the meets more of a spectacle. Michael Phelps made the sport exciting but his presence will soon evaporate and new swimmers (in 4 years) wont know who he is. We need to keep this sport exciting and fun. I'm about to be a swim parent... entertain me.