Training Diary, 3rd Sept 2018. I tried out a new swim session

I’m still on a mission to improve my swimming and a learning point for me after being at the Total Immersion swim coaches convention in August was the power of a coached swim session to improve my stroke. I find it a lot easier to focus and concentrate with a coach on pool side telling me what to do, and its also a lot more fun.

On that note, I took myself off to Coach Jai’s regular Monday night swim session in Hinckley for the first time.

Reflecting on the experience, I realised that despite the fact that I’ve been racing triathlon for at least 10years, and I’m a full time swim coach, it can still be intimidating going to a new club or group session for the first time. In years gone by this would have had me in a complete tiz. Here are some of the strategies that I use to help make it easier.

  1. Contact the coach, club or organiser in advance to find out about the session and let them know you’ll be going along. If it’s a club session with a number of volunteers and organisers it helps to try and find out who the specific coach will be for that session and if possible to be in touch with them directly, before the session.
  2. Ask what you need to bring in terms of kit and details like what you need for your locker or is it ok to bring bags on poolside. This all just helps to make you feel more comfortable
  3. Be clear about your ability, experience, injuries, anxieties or nervousness. This makes it easier for the coach to help you, and put you in the right lane or group.
  4. Arrive early and allow plenty of time to find a new venue
  5. Introduce yourself to people in your lane. This just helps to break the ice and make you feel more comfortable.
  6. To start with swim at the back of the group while you figure out how fast the group swims and where you fit in.
  7. It’s normal to be worried about keeping up, being fit enough, good enough, cool enough etc. Just notice those thought! Check them in at the door, and try and enjoy your swim.
  8. Focus on you own swim and your own stroke. Deploy your cocoon of calm to insulate you from the distractions and pressures of other swimmers.
  9. For your first session don’t worry about completing the whole session perfectly, just enjoy the fact that you’re there.

Get in touch to share your experiences of group and club session. Who do you like to train with and why?