Most swimmers come back from a ‘bad’ race and answer the question; “how was your swim?” with the one word answer “crap!”.

‘I’m staying here ‘til everyone in the stands goes home’

Bad swims are not bad. They are good. However, swimmers are emotionally tied-up with their swimming, so it is difficult to look at a bad swim unemotionally.

Every bad swim is an opportunity to see how you are adapting to your training. So mistakes are the weak links that need to be studied and corrected to make them strong.

If a swimmer is so upset about their swim that they won’t talk about it, then a learning opportunity is lost.

So, as a coach, having seen this reaction many times (some very emotional reactions!), I like to discuss this important aspect of racing before any learning is lost. I call the discussion C.R.A.P.

‘Crap’ is a wonderful topic title because it makes swimmers laugh. Then I know I have their attention and piqued their curiosity. It is memorable and relevant.

C.R.A.P. is an acronym of continuous revision after performance. For every mistake there is likely hundreds of things that went right. Swimmers, unbeknownst to them, are already experts. Their years of training has brought them to an incredible degree of skill. In the alien environment of water, swimmers are unbalanced, can’t breathe, and move through the medium which is 800x thicker than air. Small mistakes should be expected. Probably more than one!

Once a swimmer accepts CRAP then they will hopefully use the old adage ‘it is okay to make mistakes but make them only once’. So race the best you can then analyse it like a scientist with your coach.

About Coach Gary

I competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul representing Canada and coached in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics for Great Britain. I have a degree in History and a minor degree in Psychology from University of Calgary. I have travelled extensively and have been very lucky to see so much of the world while representing Canada and Great Britain at swimming competitions. I am very proud of the fact that I coached a swimmer to become number one in the world in the fastest swimming race in 2002. I pride myself in my ability to find new and interesting ways to teach swimming. I am an accomplished artist specialising in sculpture, I have another blog called 'swimmingart' where I publish some of my swimming drawings. I have three young children; all boys. I have recently taken up painting and yoga....but not at the same time. You can see my new paintings at: https://www.artgallery.co.uk/artist/gary_Vandermeulen
This entry was posted in General Knowledge on swimming and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to C.R.A.P.

  1. Pingback: Coaching ‘The Will To Win’ | swimcoachingblog

  2. Coach Gary says:

    Gary you are awesome


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