“The Talk” (aka The Pre-Race Talk)

admin Coaches' Corner

By Coach Mackenzie M, MV2.

With many meets under their belts heading into the final weeks of the season, it is extremely important that VIK swimmers have some sort of awareness of what they plan to do in their races at Regionals and Provincials.

At meets, swimmers go to their coaches for advice before they swim to determine what they need to do to have the most optimal race possible. This season many of the swimmers in my group have coined the phrase “The Talk” to describe this oh-so-famous pre-race talk between coach and swimmer – a talk that I believe can make or break how a swimmer performs in a race.

One thing I have noticed this season (in my group and coaching other groups at swim meets) is that when swimmers come up to me for “The Talk” and I ask “What’s the plan here?”, they’ll often reply with “I don’t know”. It goes without saying that your coach is there to give you advice on what you should do in your race – but since it is you who is ultimately swimming, you should have some sort of goal or idea of what you plan to accomplish. These goals can be big or small, but if you have your own ideas about what to do in a race and combine those with your coach’s advice, your chances for success are high!

So, here are my three pieces of advice for having a fantastic Talk with your coach:

  1. Come to your coach with a plan, goal or idea for your upcoming race.

It can be as small as breathing every 5 strokes in your 100 Free or as big as a goal for your 50 metre split time in your 100 fly. Picking something to focus on before coming to see your coach will get you into that racing mindset and prep you for The Talk.

  1. Be positive and willing to take your coach’s advice.

Sometimes you may not want to swim a certain race and you come to The Talk with a negative attitude. This isn’t the best way to start off and could prevent you from taking in all that helpful advice your coach is trying to give you. Approach your coach’s advice with an open mind! We know what we are talking about and only want to see you thrive in the race you’re about to swim. Take our advice and use it!

  1. Be comfortable with having a positive back and forth conversation with your coach.

I think one thing a lot of swimmers get comfortable with in their early years of racing is just having their coach tell them what they need to do, without letting themselves contribute to the discussion. The Talk is definitely a conversation between two people, and should be an open space where you can offer some input into what you are going to do (or think you should do) in a race. I highly recommend going into your pre-race talk with some points that you’d like to share with your coach.

In summary, when it comes to your next pre-race talk: have a plan, be positive and open, and contribute to the conversation!

I hope these three tips will be of some help as you enter these exciting last few weeks of the season – good luck to everyone who is swimming at Regionals and Provincials.