In a sport where water is a non-negotiable, one can imagine how difficult pool closures have been to the swim community amidst the ongoing pandemic. The transition to remote land training has left a lot of athletes in need of a way to build and maintain meaningful relationships with their teammates and their sport.
*Cue the Jeopardy gameshow music*
Surprise your team by ending practice early for a fun gameshow-style segment. Athletes can be divided up randomly into teams of about 4, and the Zoom ‘Breakout Rooms’ feature can be utilized to allow groups to discuss answers amongst themselves.
Questions can be tailored to your specific team to help swimmers reminisce about funny memories or previous successes:
Alternatively, a more classic version of ‘Trivia’ can be created with questions pertaining to the sport in general, to see who the hardcore swim know-it-alls are:
Another way to promote feelings of ‘togetherness’ amongst teammates is to share pictures at the start of each Zoom workout. Ensure that only a few athletes contribute each time in order to keep the activity short, and create a rotation so that everyone is included.
These can be uplifting, silly, or artsy depending on what each swimmer chooses to express. Some photo-op ideas to help get your creativity flowing:
Credit: AnnaMorosini/pomodoroproduzioni.it In this image: Emily Seebohm (AUS)
Lockdown is a great time to focus on extending our training to include our mental game. Luckily there are countless sport psychology books on the shelves that are designed to strengthen the mind as you would any other muscle. To name a few of my personal favourites:
Alternatively, athlete auto-biographies can act as motivational tools, and can help your team to engage critically with the sport and their heroes. Some ideas for different age groups:
Remember that it might not matter so much what you read. The important part is that you’re using the virtual book club as a space to create a shared experience.
A fun ice-breaker style activity is a simple Q&A session, where swimmers can take turns answering a different engaging question each practice. Some examples of ones that you can use are:
Asking athletes to think back to positive experiences can act as a great way to feel more connected to the sport. Better yet, you can try to tailor questions to help your team practice mindful gratitude and self care:
So, which activities do you plan to adopt for your next remote training session? Are there ones we missed that your team already does? Let us know! In the meantime stay safe, and remember – the pool will be welcoming you back before you know it.
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