PDA

View Full Version : Does your mind get in the way of your swimming?



blainesapprentice
January 13th, 2007, 09:15 PM
The first half of my college season this year has been some what disappointing. I would do a bad time, or just have an overall bad swim, and then I think what furthered that trend was my mentality...that there must be something seriously wrong with my stroke, turn, start, anything really, that was going to prevent me from getting faster until I fixed it. Plus, after having a really bad meet, I have a hard time in general, getting back up the next day, next weekend, which ever and not thinking about that previous meet.

My coach says that sprinters tend to have that mentality a lot more than a distance swimmer, just because in a longer race, theres so much time to make a mistake, or get off pace. While, in the 50 or 100free, if your adding 2seconds onto your time thats huge, because you get to thinking "how could I have possibly swam that horribly, that I added 2 seconds to my 50 time!?"

But most significantly, I feel like lactic acid sets, where we go from the blocks at the end of practice and do a bunch of 200s or 100s depending on our coaches mood, for time, are the most detrimental to my mentality. I have never been much of a practicer, in the sense, that I can't hold my best times/race pace times in practice, no matter how hard I try. Even in sets during practice this discourages me, because while I know I am the fastest sprinter on my team, and in the top 10 in my conference, everyone is able to hold 100s and even 50s on a faster time than I. No coach has ever been able to provide me insight to why that is the case...maybe someone here has an idea on that issue? But, yeah, lactic sets, I regularly do 10-15seconds slower than my best time on my 200s, and 5 or so on my 100s...while most of my teammates are able to hold within 0-3 seconds of their best times a lot of the times...

So, the moral of my rant here is that tomorrow I have my first dual meet since early December. We've been doing doubles; working our butts off, and I am praying that tomorrow my season makes a full 180... I think I have brushed off any negative thinking I had had...so hopefully I will be able to swim my events tomorrow with confidence and ...speed?

Morgan:-D

sorry for boring you all with my super long, nearly pointless post:-/

Allen Stark
January 13th, 2007, 10:04 PM
I don't think it is your mind as much as your body. I suspect that you are more of a natural sprinter than your teammates. You probably have a higher % of fast twitch fibers than they do. Early in the season is going to be harder on you. Your muscles will generate more lactic acid than theirs and it will take you longer to recover. Your first few meets may be tough. Use them to get menally strong. You will need a longer taper than your teammates,but you will drop your time MUCH more than they will. The taper meet is what is important anyway IMHO(and probably your coach's.) Persevere and crush them at the end of the year!!

The Fortress
January 13th, 2007, 10:17 PM
I don't think it is your mind as much as your body. I suspect that you are more of a natural sprinter than your teammates. You probably have a higher % of fast twitch fibers than they do. Early in the season is going to be harder on you. Your muscles will generate more lactic acid than theirs and it will take you longer to recover. Your first few meets may be tough. Use them to get menally strong. You will need a longer taper than your teammates,but you will drop your time MUCH more than they will. The taper meet is what is important anyway IMHO(and probably your coach's.) Persevere and crush them at the end of the year!!

Morgan:

I agree with Allen. As a fast twitch swimmer swimming in the mega-yardage age, I used to swim like crap in the midst of hard training. I called it my "mid-season blues." I was always too beat up to swim really fast. Sometimes I'd swim off events so I wouldn't get depressed with my times in my best events. But when we tapered, I dropped tons of time and was real, real happy.

I was also never anywhere near 3 seconds off a PB in a 200 at practice. That's for endurance geeks. In fact, I have never done any PBs in practice. So no worries. I don't consider a 200 a sprint either, for that matter.

Embrace your sprinter-ness and realize that you will train and react and taper differently than your teammates.

Plus, read Ande's latest tips. He has one on "confidence" that might help. It's very insightful. Try not to be negative and realize that your time will come!

FlyQueen
January 14th, 2007, 12:26 AM
True sprinters tend to swim crappy at practice and not really "show up" until their taper meet. I drop on average 2 seconds from my inseason meets time to my taper times in a 50, sometimes 3. I dropped nearly 10 in my 200 last year. That's when my coach finally relented and called me a sprinter. This is also in masters practices, and certainly not while doing doubles.

I think sprinters tend not to be practice swimmers and not because they don't try but because they just aren't. Their bodies break down more and they need more recovery then those crazy distance swimmers.

chaos
January 14th, 2007, 08:46 AM
I think sprinters tend not to be practice swimmers and not because they don't try but because they just aren't. Their bodies break down more and they need more recovery then those crazy distance swimmers.

Interesting...during the last couple of seasons, I have made an increased effort to become a "practice swimmer". The satisfaction of hitting practice goals and challanges throughout the year seems to me to far outweigh the "taper for the big one" goal. (I still don't believe that I've ever hit my taper just right). The potential to miss peak performance on the big one (for any number of reasons) is great, and to have all ones eggs in that one basket.....
I don't like having to wait a whole year for another basket of eggs.:2cents:

blainesapprentice
January 14th, 2007, 09:08 AM
Interesting...during the last couple of seasons, I have made an increased effort to become a "practice swimmer". The satisfaction of hitting practice goals and challanges throughout the year seems to me to far outweigh the "taper for the big one" goal. (I still don't believe that I've ever hit my taper just right). The potential to miss peak performance on the big one (for any number of reasons) is great, and to have all ones eggs in that one basket.....
I don't like having to wait a whole year for another basket of eggs.:2cents:

I completely agree! My coach always is saying--just wait till you see how much you improve at championships...and I'm thinking to myself do I really get up at 515 every morning, swim for 2 hours do dryland for another hour, then go to a full day worth of classes every day...for 6 months....just to have one good race? Back in high school and uss swimming, we would taper for a big meet or two a year, but my times didnt drop as drastically at those meets, because I was steadily dropping time all season long....which is much more rewarding, because then, after a big tapered meet, I was able to start back at a time closer to that PB i did tapered and shaved....while here at college, last year at championships I went a 54 high in the 100freestyle, but this season I started out back at a 58 low...((needless to say this has been a really slow season for me-as I hadn't done a 58 in the 100 freestyle in years, prior to this season!))...but I wish I could come back from a tapered meet, and be at least within a ballpark range of the performances I did there.

FlyQueen
January 14th, 2007, 10:16 AM
Interesting...during the last couple of seasons, I have made an increased effort to become a "practice swimmer". The satisfaction of hitting practice goals and challanges throughout the year seems to me to far outweigh the "taper for the big one" goal. (I still don't believe that I've ever hit my taper just right). The potential to miss peak performance on the big one (for any number of reasons) is great, and to have all ones eggs in that one basket.....
I don't like having to wait a whole year for another basket of eggs.:2cents:

Would I prefer to hit better times through out the season and in practice? Of course. This isn't to say I don't go PBs during inseason meets either, I do. I just usually drop huge at our taper meet. My old head coach was a taper expert. That was his niche. So I feel like I always hit my taper really well.

I also have only had two taper meets as a masters swimmer. I beat my taper times from 05 in almost every event in the 06 season untapered, but then dropped a lot more tapered. Now I'm trying to beat all of my 06 tapered times this season and hoping to drop a lot in taper again. In practice though I try so hard, am gasping for air and am still not within a 1-3 seconds of my 100 time in a meet .... we also have a shallow pool and no blocks, but ...


I always work my butt off in practice and aim for best times, whether it be practice bests, inseason bests, or tapered bests. Sometimes if it's an event I haven't swum in awhile I do a full out PB in practice. I'm still somewhat new to masters so that does happen. In fact I went a best time in a timed 500 a couple of weeks ago, but I haven't swum it in a meet in almost two years ...

The Fortress
January 14th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Interesting...during the last couple of seasons, I have made an increased effort to become a "practice swimmer". The satisfaction of hitting practice goals and challanges throughout the year seems to me to far outweigh the "taper for the big one" goal. (I still don't believe that I've ever hit my taper just right). The potential to miss peak performance on the big one (for any number of reasons) is great, and to have all ones eggs in that one basket.....
I don't like having to wait a whole year for another basket of eggs.:2cents:

Personally, I was trying to put myself back into my 20 year old mindset, as Morgan is very young and still in college. It appears that you were speaking wholly as a masters swimmer, Dave.

My middle age mommy masters swimmer perspective is quite different. From that perspective, I would have to say that, when practicing with my team, I try to work very hard and get the most out of practice. I don't believe I've ever tapered properly for a big meet. I am always busy with kid stuff, an ill-timed illness, injured or have something else that throws off my training and/or taper. So I agree that the potential to miss a peak performance is high. Don't think I've ever had one yet -- one where the training, taper, health and kids' schedules all cooperated. I went to Nationals on a whim last year to visit relatives and swam as an aside really. Wasn't really prepared. Just gave it a shot. I was sick as a dog at Worlds. So, as a middle age masters swimmer with time-consuming kids, I'd say you better attempt to get the most out of practice and enjoy practice, and just hope that you'll actually be able to attend a meet and that perhaps you'll hit some semblance of a taper before a big meet (assuming you can go).

But I don't think Morgan should be thinking like that right now.:2cents:

SwimStud
January 14th, 2007, 10:57 AM
It does and it doesn't....

I did my 10 x 100 on 3:00 Breast yeasterday. 1st 100 at around 1:35 then started to slip out the time to about 1:41 from fatigue and then thinking about stroke etc. On the last 100 I said to myself "shut off the brain and race" I went back to 1:35 again...so yes it can get in the way a little but it maybe be when you're using it you're imprinting what you need to do well.

From my example, surely after 900Y I must have had fatigue...but yet I pulled the same time as my first 100 again. My theory some fatigue yes but, the good examples from my set, albeit marginally slower, were imprinted in my mind and body when I just shut it off and swam it. Also some adrenalin too I am sure, knowing it was the final 100...

Heather should start to worry about my fly now...although not being in the same age group as I will save her any embarrassment later... ;)

chaos
January 14th, 2007, 11:23 AM
Personally, I was trying to put myself back into my 20 year old mindset, as Morgan is very young and still in college. It appears that you were speaking wholly as a masters swimmer, Dave.
:
If I am not mistaken, Morgan is also planning a marathon swim(?) and I figure that if she didn't want to hear what the perspectives of old people like us are, she would be watching MTV (insert smile-thing denoting sarcasm)instead of participating in this forum.

Let me also specify that I don't expect to ever hit PB's in practice (except breaststroke) but many of the sets I like to do have little to do with setting myself up for the big one (which will probably be zones this year) and more to do with the challenge of the day. ie: four weeks to the 4200 yd fly b'day set. (open invitation...finners and froggers and sprinters welcome)

SwimStud
January 14th, 2007, 11:38 AM
How did that post twice? lol

quicksilver
January 14th, 2007, 11:48 AM
So, the moral of my rant here is that tomorrow I have my first dual meet since early December. We've been doing doubles; working our butts off, and I am praying that tomorrow my season makes a full 180... I think I have brushed off any negative thinking I had had...so hopefully I will be able to swim my events tomorrow with confidence and ...speed?

Morgan:-D

sorry for boring you all with my super long, nearly pointless post:-/

For what it's worth...I too was not a practice swimmer. In college I let the slow swimmers go ahead of me during practice. When the meets came I usually blew the doors off of everyone with a consistent 46 or 47 for the 100 free. The coach was pleased and angry at the same time...because it completely baffled him how someone can hold back in practice and excell in racing.

Don't get down on yourself. There are many athletes in the same boat. Just think how much faster you will be when you get down to business on a consistent basis.

swimr4life
January 14th, 2007, 12:00 PM
Hi Blainesapprentice,
I feel your pain. I too am a drop dead sprinter. I never do PBs in practice despite working as hard as I can. Just keep working hard and hopefully your body will adjust eventually or.....maybe talk some more with your coach. He may need to back off on you. I remember one season when I was about 18 and doing two practices a days back in the "mega yardage" mentallity days. We were in the middle of heavy duty training. I was so exhausted. My heartrate would jump up and pound just from walking up the stairs! My workouts were sooo hard because I was working as hard as I could and not going anywhere! One morning I actually fell asleep driving to the 5am practice and actually went off the road. I woke up when my car hit the gravel on the side of the road! THANK GOD! When I got to practice and told my coach, he told me to go home and sleep and take the day off. He started giving me one day off a week. You may need a recovery day or two! My coach used to have to taper me for a MONTH because I would get so run down! BUT I would always see huge time drops as he almost always hit my taper just right.

What about your diet? Are you getting enough protein for recovery? You may want to consider a recovery/post workout drink that will help your body recover. Make sure you are drinking enough water/sports drink before, during and after your workout! I didn't do that back in the 80's and I have found that to make a huge difference in my swimming now.

Hang in there baby....taper's coming! :agree:

blainesapprentice
January 14th, 2007, 06:24 PM
If I am not mistaken, Morgan is also planning a marathon swim(?) and I figure that if she didn't want to hear what the perspectives of old people like us are, she would be watching MTV (insert smile-thing denoting sarcasm)instead of participating in this forum.


Very true, and yes I am working towards a marathon swim in a little over a year.

But, I can proudly say that my meet negativity spell is broken, and at this point the rest of my season has me excited. We had a meet today where I got to swim the 200free, 100fly and 50fly in the medley relay...and I did all best times of the season. I wish I had dropped a little more in the 200free, as I probably will not get the chance to swim it again this season before our championships, so I will be stuck with that seed time...but I went a 27. in the 50fly, and a 1:04. in the 100fly. I know I could have taken the 100fly out faster, since I only went out in a 30.0, where as I should have or could have gone in a high 28 or low 29 with ease, but none the less its closer to my best time and its a PB for the season.

:wave:

Allen Stark
January 15th, 2007, 12:20 AM
Fantastic!!!