Things to monitor, measure, weigh, count and assess during a competition

Things I monitor during competition and why

Everything and anything.

Finish time, splits, stroke rates & stroke count, quality of starts, turns and handover (videoed).

Heart Rate.

(Weight).

Intake of food & drink.

Medications (if they have any).

Competition Data

Type of Data

Purpose
  Everything can be measured, assessed and improved … and then compared like for like until the athlete executes a skill, such as their turn, at a speed that is equivalent to good club, county, regional, national or international standards. Measured in the reasonably repeatable and similar conditions of a competition, i.e. in quasi-scientific conditions. This pre-amble applies to each of the following responses.

 

Race Pace Does this achieve what the swimmer and coach planned for. If so, well done, if not, why not? And what bearing did this have on the way the race played out and its outcome?

 

Critical Speed Was it achieved? If so when, too early or too late. What bearing did it have on the outcome of the race. How did it compare to previous competition races swimming the same stroke in the same or a different event. Why is it right, wrong or the desired figure? What bearing will this have on training and the next time this event is raced by this competitor?

 

Critical Stroke Rates Were they achieved? If so when, too early or too late. From break-out then held, dropping off during the middle of the race, then picking up for the last 25m or 50m. As planned or not? What bearing did it have on the outcome of the race? How was stroke rate affected by other competitors? And the lane swum in. How did stroke rates compare to previous competition races swimming the same stroke in the same or a different event. What worked and what didn’t? What bearing will this have on training and the next time this event is raced by this competitor?

 

Start Reaction Times Good, better or worse than usual. If so why so? How did this competitor compare to the rest of the field? How will this affect skills training poolside and land-based exercises? Does the swimmer compare well or badly with his or her peers? At what stage are they risking DQ?

 

Turn Times The turn times produced will tell the coach, the coaching team and the swimmer a great deal: are they performing as planned, or not? If not why not? Is their a component of the turn that is letting them down and needs to be improved? What bearing does their turn have on the outcome of their race?

 

 

Stroke Counts Up, down, spot on. Paced during the race. If not as planned what influenced a change and what effect did this have on the outcome of the race?

 

Heart Rates Degree to which Max HRT is reached and speed of recovery to suggest fitness.

 

Split Times Strategy during the race – how it was raced and whether it achieved the desire result. i.e. Did the swimmer set off too fast and have nothing left for the end of the race, or vice-versa? Or did they show no control at all speeding up and slowing down through-out. The aim is for the swimmer to feel in control because the race they give, evidenced by the split times, was that planned for.

 

Finish Times PB or better … or not. Short course or long (outdoors or indoors). Period in the training cycle, health, fitness & psychological wellbeing of the athlete … they can all impact on the finish time.

 

RPE Their perception and individual response to effort which will vary by personality, level of fitness, mood & state of health. Just as a doctor find out most by asking the patient what they consider to be wrong with them so a coach can find out from an athlete how they are coping simply by asking them. Doctors ask you to rate pain between 0 & 10; here the common practice is to ask the swimmer on a scale of 0 to 20 where 20 is outright effort.

 

Blood Lactate Levels Ability of the body to remove (or not produce) lactate when under sporting stress, and the ability to train this in … or to exploit a genetic advantage.

 

 

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