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Old 08-26-2013
CSLEE CSLEE is offline
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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?
Thank you.
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Old 08-26-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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It seems to me, speaking as an ordinary swimmer, not a coach or expert in any way, that at age 11 it is more important to enjoy swimming for its own sake and not to be concerned about winning or losing. Boys and girls of that age are often all at different stages of physical and emotional development and how they swim now is unlikely to be how they will swim in a few years time, with the exception of the occasional very gifted swimmer, such as Spitz or Phelps. Often they don't begin to show real form until they are in their late teens.
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  #3  
Old 08-26-2013
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSLEE View Post
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?
Thank you.
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

Good luck!

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 08-26-2013 at 08:13 PM.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2013
CSLEE CSLEE is offline
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Dear Richardsk, I actually kind of encourage my son to swim for fun and competition as well, but I just feel that to be able to be truly competitive when you enter the real competition stage, stroke and technique are extremely important. Most of the time, the coach and I just want him to swim the time he should be able to achieve in a competition, even though he sometimes doesn't do it, to me, I won't get mad with him (disappointed, yes, but I won't show it in front of him) but I will be quite angry if he just "wrongly" swim, because I just feel that if he doesn't make a habit of swimming the correct way (stroke and technique), then it will be even more difficult to correct when he grows older.
I fully understand for the kids below 12/13, different rate of growth in physique and mental development may give huge advantages to the particulars swimmers, this is why we can see a swimmer can pose better time that another who is 2 years older than him.
But again, perform better in training than competition seems to be quite a frustrating happening for any swimmers and I believe it could be very deflating to the swimmers themselves and indirectly dampen their spirit and confidence, it is an issue truly requires solution.
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Old 08-27-2013
CSLEE CSLEE is offline
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Dear Coach Stuart, thank for a good piece of advice. My son is definitely far from taking part in any Jr Olympics trials yet ( and I don't really see that in any far future!), over here at Penang Swimming Club, my son trains 6 sessions a week, each session takes about 1 and a half hour, for his age group, the mileage for each session is about 2500m to 3500m, even in term of density, it is not very high. I have to admit that our training programs lack of real tapering periods, especially for young swimmers because we consider just average mileage and density for daily training, most of the time the swimmers would train as usual until two days before the competition, a day before competition, the swimmers usually will have test pool, that's all.
As for my son, the disparity of performance between training and competition is a bit too starkly obvious. For eg. , after training for about 2000 to 2500m, he still can swim around 36-37s for 50m freestyle, or 43-44s for 50m backstroke, but for the last competition he took part last week, he still swam around 35s(his pb is also 35s done early this year) and 43s(the pb is 42s done middle of last year) respectively for 50m free and back.
The coach and I really sensed that something must be wrong, of course he said he was so nervous and felt so tense before going up the plunging board.
Maybe this is mental fallout that need to be overcome?

Last edited by CSLEE : 08-27-2013 at 04:39 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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It's natural to be nervous before a competition and in fact it can be beneficial. With practice one ought to be able to harness that nervous energy and use it to good effect. Maybe some visualisation exercises would be helpful, such as mental rehearsal of the perfect race, clean dive, beautiful breakout, easy speed and so on. It is said to be very helpful and some of the top swimmers use visualisation.
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Old 08-28-2013
CSLEE CSLEE is offline
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Thank, Richardsk, I totally agree.
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