Swimming for Peak
The three "P's"
Preparation) are the keys to a successful season.
The factors, which determine peak performance, are:
Learn and implement the fundamentals of strokes, turns, and starts.
Your body and mind must work together at every practice to develop
efficient technique habits.
Practice sets are designed to train specific energy systems.
Swimmers need to operate at the proper pace or level of effort in
order to improve a particular system. Consistent level of effort
and mental "toughness" play an important role in improving
Develop arm speed and power - faster than race speed:
muscular strength and endurance.
Attitude: possess a positive, determined, and confident
frame of mind. Only you can decide that you will do whatever is
required to be successful by doing whatever is necessary to swim
fast. It is a voluntary choice.
- Diet/Fluids: Eat a well-balanced diet
and maintain proper fluid intake.
- Rest: Get
the proper amount of rest; schedule time for relaxation and
maintain a regular sleeping pattern.
- Commitment: Manage your time and set
priorities. Maintain the level of commitment that is consistent
with your goals, attend the appropriate number of practices, and
- Goals: Set
and achieve them!
Goal Setting for Better
- I wish I
All motivation begins with a goal. It is the desire you have to
get where you want to be. Motivation is all about having a big
enough "why" or reason for doing something.
- I think I
A meaningful goal is:
- Attainable: can be
- Specific: narrow
- Positive: what you
will do rather what you will not do.
- Affirmed: put you
goals in writing, tell the coach about your goals and make the
- Open-ended: even
though you set specific goals, keep in mind that you may surpass
these goals - don't let it limit what you think is
specify how your progress towards achieving your goal will be
measured and set a time limit.
- I know I
Develop and follow a plan to achieve your goals. Focus on the
process rather than the outcome. Your commitment or behavior must
be consistent with your goals. Remember the 3 P's - Proper Prior
- I knew I
Achieve your goals at a specific meet. Set new goals and follow
the same process. Become as good as you desire to be.
Good Nutrition for Better
Athletes need to eat
a nutritious, well balanced diet to fuel their bodies. They should
eat a variety of food everyday: lean meats, vegetables, fruits,
grains, beans, and low fat dairy products. Athletes should limit
their amounts of processed foods, saturated fats, and
- Eat Regular
Skipping meals can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting
in overeating. Skipping meals can also lead to low energy levels
especially when the athlete is training and competing. Start each
day with breakfast.
- Avoid the Good
Food, Bad Food Concept!
Foods aren't good or bad. What makes a diet good or bad is how the
foods all fit together. Balance, variety, and moderation are the
key words in selecting a healthy diet.
- Make Eating Fun and
Variety adds nutrients to your diet. Athletes need about 40
nutrients everyday to maintain health and not one food contains all
of them. Balance your food choices - you can't perform at your best
by eating only one food group.
Snacks are a great way to re-fuel. Choose snacks from different
- Make Diet Changes
Just as there are no super foods or easy answers to a healthy
diet, don't expect to totally revamp your eating habits overnight.
Changing too much, too fast can result in failure. Eat healthy
foods that work best for you.
- Drink plenty of
Water is one of the most important nutrients we can put in our
bodies. Performance will suffer if our fluid (water) intake is
inadequate - just a 2% drop in body weight due to dehydration can
have an overall negative impact on performance. Dehydration can
stop even the finest athlete from doing their best. Do not rely on
your thirst sensation to take care of your need for water. Exercise
can disrupt the thirst response and athletes may stop feeling
thirsty before they are fully re-hydrated. Therefore, athletes need
to drink water before, during, and after practice or the
At swim meets eat the foods that
work best for you. Sip water every 20 to 30 minutes and eat small
amounts of food frequently during the meet. Sport drinks should be
cut with water to avoid too much sugar that can upset your stomach.
Do not drink sodas during the meet. Eat a well-balanced meal two to
four hours before the meet to allow time for it to be digested and
leave the stomach. Energy should already be stored in the muscles
from the meals eaten two to three days prior to the meet. If
muscles contain insufficient amounts of energy, the swimmer
probably will not perform very well even with a nutritious pre-meet
Maintain a well balanced diet and
drink plenty of water. Your performance at practice and at the
meets will be better when a healthy diet is followed.
Getting into the Zone for
Get in the zone at
the meets. The zone is that mental and physical state when you are
ready to perform at your optimum. This can be at anytime during the
season. The following steps should be practiced and refined at the
meets during the season.
- During warm-ups, keep your first
race in mind and get physically and mentally ready by:
- Increasing heart rate and muscle
- Recalling goals and race
- Visualizing the race
- Working on specifics of the
strokes, turns, starts, and finishes
- Becoming familiar with the pool:
walls, gutters, flags, and bottom
- 10-20 minutes prior to the
- Review goals and race pace
- Warm up again
- Visualize race
- Immediately prior to the
- Move around, stretch, get you
heart rate up
- Stay overly warm
- Visualize race
- At the start:
- Early/Mid-season Meets: focus on
- Late Season/Taper Meets: trust
your habits and let it happen!