3 Things A Swimmer Never Wants to Hear at Practice; Working Through the Challenges

Swim Practice

3 Things A Swimmer Never Wants to Hear at Practice; Working Through the Challenges

By Sadie Jones, Swimming World Intern

Athletes are always told to have a positive attitude in order to achieve results, but sometimes that positive attitude feels just a little out of reach. Here are three examples of things a swimmer never wants to hear at practice and some tips on how to work through these challenges. 

It is Test Set Day

Showing up to practice and finding out that your coach has planned a test set is never a swimmer’s dream. For those that do not know, a “test set” is a workout designed to collect times for a specific skill or distance to measure an athlete’s growth. This ensures that a test set is very hard even if it is for a short amount of time. One of the most significant struggles that comes along with test set days is getting into the racing mindset. Reaching racing mentality during a test set is difficult because you are in a practice environment and not a meet environment. Finding the energy and motivation to swim your best and fastest is hard when you do not have fans cheering or a tech suit on. A positive way to look at test set days is to think of the workout as an opportunity to better yourself as an athlete. After completing this type of practice, you get to look at a set of data that you will compare in the future as you repeat the set. 

Okay, That Was Round One of the Set. Two More to Go

When your coach forgets to mention that you will be repeating a hard set, it can be a tough pill for swimmers to swallow. Mentally, it is easier to get through a workout when you can see the whole layout and you know what is coming next. When you are not sure what is coming next or you are surprised by the fact that you will be repeating a part of the workout it can be quite intimidating. It is common for athletes to be a little upset or annoyed upon hearing this news,  but on the bright side, you have already completed the set once. One reason coaches do this is to see how you react to spontaneity and how you work through adversity. When you try your hardest, even when you don’t want to or you are very drained, it proves to your coach what a good athlete and hard worker you truly are. 

A 200 For Time 

Watching the big red numbers on the pace clock go by as you are counting down the minutes until practice is over is a common activity for many swimmers. Getting near the end of a difficult practice is a victory in itself. One way that can be rudely interrupted is by your coach uttering the words: “Now give me a 200 for time.” Already being fatigued and mentally checked out only adds hurdles to this strenuous task. Getting on the starting block knowing you are required to race eight lengths of the pool at the end of a grueling practice is the last thing most swimmers want to do. Pushing through this mental block will only make you stronger. Use this 200 for time as an opportunity to show your coach and yourself your true potential. 

Know that you are not alone and almost every swimmer hates hearing each of these statements. It is okay to be upset or annoyed. Just know that your coach is making you do the hard work now for your benefit later.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x