Another gruelling summer of underwater kicks, butterfly strokes and weeks of hell has come to a close. Regionals are wrapped and it’s time to hang up the goggles after another challenging season in the water.
When the rain starts to fall in a couple weeks, the urge to get back at it will start to creep up for dedicated swimmers all over the lower mainland. A break is important to recharge mentally and let the body mend itself, but the swimming offseason is a great time to work on a few key areas without the glare from the bright lights of competition.
Here are four simple but demanding focus points to work on this swimming offseason.
Swim meets during the short summer season are exhausting. If you’re not in the pool competing and trying to outlast the opponent in the lane next door, you’re waiting on deck or in your tent for your turn. Once your body cools down, you’ll want to rest and it can be difficult to muster the strength to compete again.
This offseason, combine your endurance in the pool with your longer-lasting endurance outside the water. Do this by adding multiple training sessions in the same day. This will help maintain your physical endurance as well as your mental endurance throughout the winter.
What held you back in the summer? If your endurance was poor, refer back to bullet number 1. What else? We all have weaknesses, even Michael Phelps.
Alright, low blow. The point is that there’s something you can improve this swimming offseason. Your butterfly? Your underwater kicks? Your starts?
Figure out what you’re weak at and make a conscious decision to improve it. I apologize for the hockey reference, but did you know that Sidney Crosby was terrible at faceoffs in his first couple season in the NHL? It’s an element he decided to work on and the results were crucial to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ playoff success.
Here are some drills to help you address your weaknesses this offseason.
Before you run to the gym for a straight-up chest and biceps beach workout, it’s important to get external advice. A simple body analysis by a physiotherapist will tell you a lot about your body’s strength’s and weaknesses (literally) and what’s slowing you down in the water.
There’s a lot going in behind the scenes in our muscles we’re not aware of. Serious swimmers need to a lot of offseason maintenance to their shoulders, hips and core-strength muscles.
Once you get confirmation of your specific requirements, dryland training will help you rejuvenate your body so you’re ready for next season.
Brute strength and excellent endurance are both important to swimming performance, but if you’re neglecting the finer points of your body positioning and the details of your technique, then you’re selling yourself short.
Think long and narrow rather than stocky. The offseason is the perfect time to improve your body positioning because you can slow down and improve the little things before you add speed.
Here’s a list of articles over at active.com to help specific swimming techniques.
Enjoy the offseason everybody! Try to keep the binge-eating guilt in check!