The Superbowl & Better Swimming
Superbowl NFL athletes are the highest level professionals in their sport, so how do they attain that high level of play for so long?
- Ritual - Watch the players closely, on the field and on the sidelines, habits and rituals occur before and after each play.
- Habits of Training - When faced with a new situation or play that takes them by surprise, their habits of training will kick in, their muscles know what to do before they even think it.
- Drill - Watch how the person making the tackle ensures the person and ball are down before getting up. They had it "DRILLED" into them for years to follow through.
- Another example of the above, watch how the receivers continue to run their routes even on a running play, or at the end of a play. Practice Habit & Drill
- Look for the defenders sprinting to the ball even after the tackle has been made. Practice Habit & Drill
- Team Focus - The offense lines up together and moves as one from the huddle to the line of scrimmage, and then "sets" together every time. Even if the player knows he'll mostly be out of that specific play, and all players will be doing different tasks, they start and move as one.
Is it by accident that the best players in the world consistently do what every Rec Football coach tells 10 year olds to do? Of course not, at each level higher in their career, the demand to perfect those habits is relentless. By the way, you'll never see the coach praising a player for doing any of the above, it is expected.
- Develop a routine, a ritual, before and after each race and even each practice.
- Years of doing practice drills will hone your muscle memory and teach you to follow through to maximize each stroke and technique. So, take the drill sets seriously and focus on the technique.
- Example: Jason Lezak - 2008 Olympics, his 3rd Olympics, and at 32 years old swimming at that high of a level, that makes him an old man. He hit a 46.06 Long Course 100 free split, that converts to 40.28 in yards (think about that 40.28!), it was the fastest 100 split ever in history, then and now. When asked how he trained to do, he said he focused on the basics of technique and drills he's been doing for years. These weren’t new drills, they were the same ones he’d been trying to perfect since he was an age group swimmer. That’s reinforcement, drill, and habit; it's taking what we’ve learned previously and tries to make it even better every single practice.
- Streamlining is a habit, you shouldn't have to think about it, it's supposed to be just what happens when you push off the wall. BUT, it takes habit and MUST be done every time in practice to become what naturally occurs.
- If your goggles fall off, if you mess up the start, or almost miss the turn, if you swallow water - ALL of these unplanned things happen at some point to every swimmer, that's when your habits of training kick in. The skill & ability of your throat, mouth, and lungs to know how NOT to choke and to swim through it. You want to get to the point where you don't need to think about how to handle the unplanned situation, your muscles already know what to do, so you don't stop, you don't panic, you follow through.
- The best swim teams, although swimming different events, sit together, cheer together, swim together, and win together. They move as one.