Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Supporting Your Team

The athletes are in great shape, the training and preparation is done and the team behind them has worked tirelessly to ensure that they are the best prepared team they could possibly be.

We are used to seeing athletes in close discussion with their coaches on poolside. Their relationship is tight, built on a foundation of hard work and trust, with the coach often joking that they spend more time and see the athletes more than the athletes families do.

But it’s not just coaches who continue to play a key part in the preparation of our swimmers and divers. The world of nutrition and sport science has an increasingly important role and is now part and parcel of athlete life.

At the holding camp in Aberdeen there was a strength & conditioning coach, a sports physiologist, a sports analyst, a nutritionist, a doctor, a masseuse, a physiotherapist and a sports psychologist providing services such as hydration testing, blood lactate and glucose testing, massage, video analysis with both above and below water footage available, physio, NEMO analysis (comparison data), the list goes on. All such services were provided, in partnership with the sportscotland institute of sport, to give the athletes the support they required in the taper phase and athletes were encouraged to continue with it if it was part of their normal training programme.

One session which involved the full team was led by sports psychologist, Misha Botting, who asked the athletes to discuss the values important to them as an aquatics squad.  The athletes were split into groups and asked to talk through what they stood for as a team and share with the rest of the group their three key values. These values were then written down on paper and that bit of paper was signed by every athlete so ownership was assumed.

It was a very powerful session with the words 'pride' and 'passion' being common amongst all the groups. They also saw their selection as an opportunity to become role models, something that Robbie Renwick mentioned in his media interview on Sunday where he said, “we are the ones the younger generation should be looking up to, not the reality TV stars or glamour models.  I’d much rather someone be inspired by me and want to compete on the world stage in a sport, than to want to appear on the next series of a TV show.”

While there were deep rooted themes of unity and team, determination and medal success also featured highly on the list, as did the support of a patriotic Scottish crowd.  With key medal events on day 1 of the swimming programme the athletes are excited and believe that the backing of a loud home crowd could really give them the edge during the competition.

The athletes are in great shape, the training and preparation is done and the team behind them has worked tirelessly to ensure that they are the best prepared team they could possibly be.

The swimming programme starts on Thursday 24th July and runs for six days until Tuesday 29th July at Tollcross International Swimming Centre. This is followed by four days of diving competition at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

Thanks to:

Strength & Conditioning - Neil Donald

Physio - Louise Imrie

Sports Physiologist - Ade Campbell

Sports Analyst - Simon Lovelock

Sports Phychologist - Misha Botting

Nutritionist - Susie Oliphant

Masseuse - Coreen Gillespie

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