19.5 Ways to Get Better Even When Practice Is Cancelled

Ryan Woodruff
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You have worked hard this season and don't want your well-earned improvement to go to waste.  What can you do to get  better even though the pool is closed? 

1. Swim in front of a mirror.  Just stand there and swim slowly toward the ceiling. Pay attention to how your stroke looks.  Don't forget to take an imaginary breath.
2. Take a nap. A little extra rest would do you some good.
3. Watch swimming videos on YouTube.  Type in Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, or 2008 men's 4x100 freestyle relay.  Beware of goosebumps.
4. Stretch.  From your head to your toes.
5. Drink some water.  Getting hydrated will help you at your next practice.
6. Write down your goals or take a second look at goals you have already set.  Are you on track? Do you have long-term and short-term goals?
7. Do some ab work.  Think of your favorite ab exercises.  Don't do those.  Do the exercises that you struggle with.
8. Do some push-ups.  Start with the most you can do in 30 seconds.  Take a minute rest. Repeat several times.
9. Meditate. Just find a quiet place to sit, relax, and breathe deeply.
10. Visualize yourself performing well.  Play a movie of it in your mind with as many specific details as possible.
11. Memorize your best times.  For an extra challenge, do it all the way to the hundredth of a second for both SCY and LCM.
12. Figure out splits for your goal times, especially IMs.  Write them down in a place where you can find them later.
13. Make up a new team cheer.  Silly or serious is perfectly okay.
14. Come up with a mantra or positive affirmation to repeat to yourself behind the blocks. Example: "I am strong and fast, ready to have a blast." Rhyming is encouraged.
15. Make a team poster for the next meet.
16. Find your national rank in your best event on www.usaswimming.org.  Make a goal to move up a certain number of spots.
17. Stretch again, this time focusing on your ankles.  Sit on your knees with the tops of your feet against the floor.
18. Do yoga.  Google "basic yoga poses" for examples.
19. Call or text a teammate and remind them about this list.
19.5 Bake your coach some cookies.  Because cookies make coaches happy.