GO TO YOUR HAPPY PLACE
What makes for a positive training environment?
I asked a group of swimmers that question and got a variety of different responses:
“It needs to be fun.” “I want a serious training environment.” “I don’t want anyone pushing me.” “I want to be pushed.” “I like telling jokes; it makes everybody happy.”
Obviously a positive training environment meant different things to different people.
So I rephrased the question: What factors contribute to a negative training environment?
Put this way, I got consensus and agreement quickly. What bums people out in a training environment? Ultimately it came down to a single overwhelming answer – the behaviour of other people.
Here is a list of 10 behaviours that create a negative training environment when it comes to swimming:
Show up late and don’t join in with the others.
People have mixed feelings about athletes coming in to a workout late. Some care while others don’t. But one thing everyone agrees on – if you arrive late, join the lane and swim the same sets they are.
234Don’t be at the wall when the rest of the lane is ready to go.
When your lane mates are at the wall, ready to start the set and you head out for another 50 because you’re not done your warm-up, you force them to choose between including you in the set or getting cold waiting for your return. It’s a lose lose.
Fail to put yourself in the appropriate place in your lane.
If you want to really mess up a lane, put yourself in the wrong place in line or, worse, the wrong lane. No one likes to hit slow traffic, or have someone swimming up behind them. A coach will eventually sort this out, but sometimes swimmers are so close in skill level it comes down to the day and so self-awareness is important. Be neither too humble nor too vain.
8Stand and chat on the cross.
Inevitably, during a swim, you will run into a situation where some folks are swimming while others are taking a rest. If you’re taking a rest, then don’t forget about those still working. Make space on the wall for them to turn without having to navigate around you.
Don’t let others overtake you – once they clearly out-swim you (there’s a caveat here). The pass.
This is a tough one. It can be subtle and difficult to judge, but when someone is going by you, for the most part, it’s poor form not to let them go. There are exceptions though. If, in the last 100 of a strong 800, the guy behind you finally manages to pull up to you, it’s OK to make him or her push all the way to the wall. If, however, in an 800, you’re caught in the first 50 and you feel the respectful tap on your feet as the swimmer catches you, you need to stop and let them by.