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Prep for success!

17 October 2017

 Coach Lisa Bates
Coach Lisa Bates

With race season kicking off again we thought it would be the perfect time to get some tips from coach Lisa Bates on how to prepare for the big day. Lisa is Director of Swimming at London's Chelsea and Westminster Swimming Club. As head coach of the London Aquatics Centre Performance Programme she prepared Olympic-finalist and Funkita athlete Aimee Willmott for both London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Check out what Lisa has to say below but also ask your coach for guidance to assist with your preparations for race day. They understand that being nervous, tense, eager or excited are natural feelings swimmers have before heading to the pool so they can help you through it. And they know that many swimmers have race rituals to control their emotions and stay focused so they perform to the best of their ability.

Pre-race day preparation tips:

1. Prepare for the 'what ifs'
Think about situations that could occur on race day and rehearse them in training to become familiar with possible race day anxieties.

2. Simulate race day warm up
To prepare you for limited warm up time on race day and the pressures you might feel, run through a race day warm up with a time limit during training and then perform a stand up swim.

3. Imagine you're racing
In the training sessions leading up to the competition, prepare for the best delivery in your race by using mental imagery to simulate the perfect race and execute it during training so it becomes natural when you race.

Race day tips:

1. Focus on what you can control
Your timeline, nutrition and your race preparation method are all within your control so focus on them. Don't focus on what you can't control!

2. Familiarise yourself with your surroundings
This also includes familiarising yourself with the event protocol to ensure there aren't any unnecessary stresses or surprises.

3. Don't intensify the event
Remain calm. It's just you and your lane. The length of the pool is no different from where you train so don't make the occasion bigger than it has to be.

Common race day mistakes:

1. Don't get caught up in your competitors
You'll forget what you have worked on and fail to    deliver race processes. Swimming someone else's race plan can increase your stress and reduce your speed.

2. Don't forget to pack spare kit
Ensure you always take additional racing suits, Funkitas, swim caps and goggles, so if one of these items breaks before a race you'll always have a backup.

3. Don't get distracted
Swimming competitions are always good to catch up with friends, but it's detrimental to your racing if it distracts you from what you're there for.

4. Don't isolate yourself
On the flip-side to the above don't shut yourself off from everyone as this can often increase anxiety, so make sure you find a balance to stay focussed but not waste unnecessary energy.

Race day timeline:

3 hours before race
Wake up to trigger your inner core (even if it's to get up to go to the toilet).

2 hours before race
Eat a full breakfast then go for a small walk to wake yourself up and start the blood flowing.

90 minutes before race
Arrive at the pool. Get set up and gear organised for the day.

1 hour before race
Warm up in the water and then do a land based warm up. Don't allow yourself to get cold.

30 minutes before race
Quick snack and suit up

5 minutes before race
Go through a 'priming activation' routine: some squat jumps, medicine ball throws, etc.

Race Time
Leave the call room happy and excited to be doing something you love!

Good luck to our Funkita F-Teamers! To keep up to date with our F-Teamers, follow us on our social media pages below:


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