AG Blast #9

News and Notes:
The Holidays are upon us.  Please to not hesitate to tell the coaches if you will be missing practice time due to family travel plans.  We always recommend that swimmers hook up with the local USA Swimming team while they are away.  If there isn’t one (make sure you ask your coach, you may be surprised), we have a practice packet for swimmers who can get to a recreational pool or YMCA.  If there is no pool within comfortable driving distance, we have a dryland packet, and we allow swimmers to bring a stretch cord and jump rope on their trip (provided they notify the coach and bring it back).

  PSDN 13&O Holiday Classic is this weekend.  It looks to be a big, fast meet!  There will be some changes afoot, however.  No practice for any group on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Please stay tuned for the warm-up times.

  Our annual Holiday Party is on Tuesday, December 18th.  It will be 6:30-7:45PM.  There will still be practice for All of AG that day, 3:30-5:00PM.  There may be some water polo to be played at that practice…just maybe.

  Meet sign-ups are fast approaching: 

SR Circuit #3 (Jan 5-6, Fairfax, VAWakefield Rec Center ) swimmers with AA in two strokes need to check with Mark before Monday, December 17.

  PSDN Winter Splash All Ages BB+ (Jan 5-6, ACAC) swimmers with a BB in two different strokes are eligible to swim all events.  Sign-up by Friday December 14.

  NOVA January BB/B/C mini meet (Jan 12-13… NOVA Aquatic Center ) swimmers who do not have a BB in two different strokes should swim this meet.  Sign-up by Monday December 31.

  Our Holiday Schedule is now on-line.  We do have double practices available for those looking to add a competitive edge over the Holidays.  They are not mandatory; however, Advanced Age-Group still has a minimum practice requirement of 6 per week.  Swimmers should plan on staying about 10-15 minutes after practice for our traditional Holiday push-ups.  In case you missed the schedule, here is a re-cap:

Thu Dec 20:  8:30-10AM, 3-4:30PM

Fri Dec 21:  8:30-10AM, 3-4:30PM

Sat Dec 22:  normal Saturday practice

Mon Dec 24:  8:30-10AM

Wed Dec 26 – Fri Dec 28:  8:30-10AM, 3-4:30PM

Sat Dec 29:  normal Saturday practice

Mon Dec 31:  8:30-10AM.

  Last but not least…I wanted to mention how proud I was of the crew that recently competed in the SEVA Christmas Champs.  We did fall a little short of our goal to retain hold on 2nd place, but I was very impressed with the fight that they put up in the process.  We are getting to the point where our young ladies are swimming like women with nerves of steel and icewater in their veins.  Special kudos to you girls! 

  Topic of the Week:  Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF)

  Everyone has their own way of preparing for a stressful situation.  Some people need to know all the details of everything beforehand.  Some need no time at all to get ready to face a tough task.  Some need to look as intense as the Redskins Defense before taking on a 4th down and 1 yard situation.  Some need to look as if they were just hanging out on the beach on a warm summer day.  In any case, every swimmer must approach a race in his or her own way for their own best performance.

  How does one find their IZOF?  Lots and lots of practice.  First you must narrow your focus enough to observe what you are doing:  how you warm up for your event, what you do behind the blocks, when you leave to wait for your event, stretching, jumping, moving, looking, blinking…you name it…you need to watch it. 

  Then it is all about experience.  If you achieved a good result doing something one way (not in a “good luck / bad luck” sense), repeat it.  What happened?  Could you see a proportionate relevance from your race preparation to your performance?  If it was good, try it again.  If it wasn’t, take the good from it and try something new.  Nervous?  Take a few deep breaths, warm-up a little longer and slower, and take your pulse.  Feeling a little too mellow?  Sprint your warm-up, jump up and down and slap yourself, listen to some fast music behind the blocks. 

  As we are approaching another December meet this weekend, I want to reiterate that this meet is not a “do or die” situation for failure or success.  It is another step in the learning process that brings the swimmers closer to swimming their best.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.