Originally Posted by CSLEE
My son has been swimming competitively for about 3 years, he is now 11 years old, he attends 6 training sessions a week and frequently takes part in the age group competition. In this age group at the national level, he actually swims decent times which put him among the top 20.
The puzzling thing is during trainings, he could sometimes achieve better times than when he competes, why so? Is it because he is too tense in the competition? if so, how to overcome this problem?
I heard from coaches about the issue of certain swimmers are training-type but not competition-type, how true is it?
If it is true, logically there is no point to take part in the competition, can it be corrected?
Hi CSLEE. That's actually pretty common. I was an "age-group" swim parent for the better part of 15 years which was long before TI and any understanding base-build-peak and most importantly "rest and recovery" phases of training. Everything seemed to revolve around "peak" training with little to no rest, 6 days a week, 6-7k meters each each eve and some mornings. Kids icing shoulders was a frequent sight. The biggest problem in those years was over training and not allowing adequate rest and recovery, especially before swim meets - coaches just didn't know, and still don't. Competition does play a role on nerves, but found this is a good thing that sparks quick thinking and physical responses - but if you're fatigued (mentally and physically) at a meet or race, pressure will be counterproductive, performance will be mediocre at best. Talk to your son's coach about your observations and son's performance in practice vs meet, and ask how he/she addresses rest and recovery for peak performance of their swimmers before swim meets, especially key or critical swim meets like Jr Olympics.
Here's a good article about periodization base-build-peak phases and importance of rest/recovery from Phase-IV Periodization Principles