Here is an important rule to follow every time you step on the board during practice. Always attempt to dive in practice with the same intensity that you would expect during a meet.
You might ask, “Why should I do this, practice is just practice, but a meet is different.”
And the answer is in the question, “A meet is different.”
Everyday Should Be a Competition
By practicing everyday like it is a competition, a diver will become accustomed to the pressure and intensity that accompanies a meet. The diver will, in a sense, relax during the pressure because they are used to it - they deal with it everyday.
Being able to relax and put forth your best effort, is a key to success in competition.
Why do you think divers listen to music during competition? To relax and take their mind off the fact that they are competing. Similarly, if you become accustomed to the intensity of a meet by practicing in that manner, the mindset becomes the norm, and not the exception, and the diver is calm and relaxed during the heat of battle.
If the diver is not used to that intensity, then they will become tense and nervous and that will inevitably lead to mistakes and a poor performance.
I’m sure you know, or have seen divers who excel at practice but can’t quite put it together during a meet. While this might not be the only reason, I’ll bet that it is a contributing factor – they can’t relax.
How Do You Train Like You’re In A Meet?
This question can be answered a thousand ways, just as every diver is different and each has a unique way of approaching a competition.
But for starters, here are a few key points:
- Pay Attention to the Details – point your toes, rip your entries, don’t balk, and never, ever break form.
- Make Every Dive Count – there are no “do-overs” in competition.
- Don’t Skip Parts of the Workout – those ten back tuck kick outs could mean the difference between first and tenth.
- Concentrate on the Task at Hand – once on the springboard you wouldn’t carry on a conversation during a meet, so don’t do it in practice.
Competition Is Fun
Competing is fun and is generally why many athletes endure the grind associated with training. It is the end result of hard work and the successful feeling of accomplishment builds confidence and self-esteem.
So if you can make your practices as much fun as the competition, you will make every day a great day at the pool.
Always remember, there is one constant in athletics. If you train hard and with the same intensity that you would use in competition, you will see positive results.