Training and Competition Tips by coach Ian Wright (Scotland)

Here are some tips from Chief Coach Ian Wright to help you give your best performance in competition:

Competition Guidelines and Procedures
Behaviour at Competitions
Competition Preparation Guidelines
Those Who Do Not Hope To Win Have Already Lost!!!

Competition Guidelines and Procedures

Swimmers and parents are advised to adhere to the following points in order to ensure competitions run smoothly and effectively:

  1. You will normally be informed of meets well in advance. Please make a note of the venue, date, time (especially warm-up time) and events due to be swum.
  2. Swimmers should then set goals and target times for each of the events entered. Each race is an opportunity to improve and achieve one of these goals. Try to set goals which are realistic, achievable, specific and measurable.
  3. On the day of the meet, ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled warm-up time. Allow ample driving time.
  4. On arrival, get changed and report immediately to the coaching staff present.
  5. If cards need to be posted, ensure this takes place. It is the swimmer's responsibility to look after cards and post them, not the coach's. When cards are returned, take note of your heat and lane number.
  6. Warm-up. One of the keys to successful swimming performance is the warm-up. It cannot be emphasised enough how important this is. The warm-up should always start with a land based stretching and loosening routine of 5-10 minute minimum duration. Follow this with a comprehensive swimming warm-up. This should last an absolute minimum of 30 minutes. As there is sometimes less than 30 minutes available to warm-up, ensure you maximise the time you do have as much as possible. If you are in anyway unsure of how to warm-up, ask the coach.
  7. When not warming-up or racing, swimmers should gather in the Warrender 'team area' and sit together as a group. This promotes team unity and spirit.
  8. Swimmers should wear Warrender apparel on the poolside (e.g. T-shirt, sweater, shorts etc.) and if using a cap during the race, this must be a Warrender cap. Again this promotes team unity and greatly aids recognition by coaches, spectators and other swimmers.
  9. Each swimmer is responsible for knowing which events he/she is swimming and being on time to swim.
  10. Before marshalling or reporting to the blocks, swimmers must always report to the coaching staff to review race strategy and goals.
  11. When reporting to the blocks swimmers should always take with them, their race card (if necessary), spare goggles and spare cap (if used). This will prevent any last minute panic if goggles break or cap splits.
  12. At the conclusion of each race, swimmers should obtain their official time (either from the scoreboard or lane timekeepers) and report immediately back to the coaching staff present at the meet. This gives the coaches an opportunity to discuss the race with the swimmer and add positive comments concerning splits, technique and strategy. If a swim-down facility is available, swimmers should then immediately swim-down for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  13. It is expected that any swimmer making a final will compete in it.
  14. In between races, swimmers should rest and stay warm. All energy should be conserved and used in the competition.
  15. Swimmers should always make a note of their official time (to 1/100th second) and split times for each race they swim and record these in their swimming log book. Any personal best times should be highlighted and their personal best time list updated. This will give you a record of your swimming career and help make setting future goals easier.
  16. If a swimmer has been asked to compete in a relay, it is expected that they will honour this responsibility and not leave the meet early.
  17. The composition of relay teams is the sole responsibility of the coaching staff and, good or bad, there are always many variables to consider. These include: the attitude of the swimmer, personal best times, ability to perform under pressure, relay takeover ability and the type of meet the swimmer has had for that particular day and occasion. The fastest four individual swimmers do not necessarily make up the best relay team. It is therefore often very difficult to select the best team and coaches do not always get it correct.
  18. Any swimmer due for a presentation of any kind is expected to attend it. It is not acceptable or respectful to miss a presentation (for whatever reason) or leave a meet early without attending presentation. It is also the swimmer's responsibility to know when and where presentations take place. Further, presentations must always be attended wearing some item of Warrender apparel.
  19. What to bring to a meet:

Behaviour at Competitions

  1. Whenever and wherever a Warrender swimmer wears any item of club uniform, he/she should remember that his/her actions reflect on the image of the club club to all who see them. Thus, swimmers should behave in an appropriate manner reflecting the pride they have in being part of a team. Inappropriate behaviour will be severely dealt with.
  2. As a matter of courtesy to the officials and meet hosts, it is preferable that swimmers and parents stay off the poolside unless they are competing or serving in an official capacity.
  3. Similarly, as a matter of courtesy, all questions swimmers or parents may have, concerning meet results, an officiating call or the conduct of a meet, should be referred to the coaching staff. They, in turn, will pursue the matter through proper channels.
  4. As a matter of pride, swimmers should leave the poolside in a neat and clean condition at the conclusion of each session of the meet. This again is a reflection on the image of the club and affects how others perceive it and you. Ensure it is a positive one.
  5. Swimmers must always compete within the rules of the sport and within the spirit of fair play of competition. Swimmers (or spectators) must never "bad mouth", or show disdain for their team mates or competitors from other clubs, whatever the reason.
  6. During presentations, swimmers should always offer congratulations to the other swimmers being presented. This is generally best accomplished by shaking hands and saying, "well done".

Competition Preparation Guidelines

  1. Start mental preparation earlier
  2. Focus on your performance and time, not others or the result
  3. Have clearly identified goals which are specific and achievable
  4. Mentally visualise your races and time them with a stopwatch at the same time - can you get close to the time you actually want to do?
  5. Go to bed earlier and gain more rest during the day as well.
  6. Write down your pre-race strategy - everything (in detail) you want to do on the day of the race(s) right up until the start of the race - then stick to it!
  7. Obtain carbohydrate supplement to add to drinks and generally eat more carbohydrates.
  8. Have a large bottle of drink with you at all times when at any swimming pool.
  9. Have small healthy snacks available to eat when necessary.
  10. Make checks of all things relevant in the race when at the competition (e.g. walls, blocks etc)
  11. Write down your exact warm-up for each day and race (including finals).
  12. Pack your bag (yourself!) the day before the meet.
  13. Have a positive mental attitude at all times.
  14. Take responsibility for your actions.
  15. Stretch and loosen fully
  16. Write down your race strategies - how you want to swim each event - rehearse these before the meet and when there, especially during warm-up.
  17. Remember to focus when called to blocks and in the "Take your marks" position.
  18. Warm-up completely prior to every race.
  19. Swim down for a minimum 15 minutes after every race.
  20. Know what to do to calm down if you start getting too nervous - have something with you to relax (e.g., book, walkman, Gameboy etc.).
  21. Never think about pain. Pain is temporary, victory is forever!
  22. Concentrate fully on technique at all times when competing and training, especially when feeling tired.
  23. Give 110% in concentration and effort.
  24. Never quit or fear anything.
  25. Arrive early for everything!
  26. Remember, you're tougher and more focussed than your competitors - believe in yourself!
  27. Give the best performance you can possibly give!
  28. WIN!

Those Who Do Not Hope To Win Have Already Lost

Statement Effort Meaning
I Did 100% Accomplishment
I Will 90% Determination
I Can 80% Knowledge of Power
I Will Try 70% Willing Heart
I Think I Can 60% Faith in Self
I Don't Think I Can 50% Lack of Confidence
I Wish I Could 40% Desire
I Can't 30% Too Lazy To Try
I Don't Care 20% Indifference
I Don't Want To 10% No Desire
I Won't 0% Stubborn
Where are you?