Every race begins with the start. How you react and the direction you choose can determine if you’re ahead or behind.
Why do it:
Working on starts consistently gives the athletes more confidence entering a race. A check list of a couple things to think about as they step up lessens any tentativeness about the process.
How to do it:
1) Grab your camera, or phone and film your swimmers.
2) Look for the first movement when you say GO!
3) Do the swimmers stand up first? Do they lift their head? Do the arms buckle and then help them leave?
4) Work with the swimmer to discover what extra movements they’re instinctively putting into the take off… and take those movements out.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
Encourage experimentation… to the point where the athlete is trying something so new, they may make mistakes. This shows they’re listening, and not going through the same movement with minor adjustments. Look for those movements that happen AFTER you say go, and before they really start to move themselves forward. Engage the hands in the process to initiate the first movement by pulling on the block, rather than just releasing. Show them the extranious movements they’re putting in without knowing it, and have them work through the process.
Feedback is key, especially in the extra quick movements of a start.