Photo Courtesy: Tim Binning | theswimpictures.com
So you’re a week out of your big meet. Your teammates around you are bouncing off the walls talking about how “fresh” they feel. You smile and nod, too scared to let on the secret you are holding in: you feel horrible!
First thing to do is to take a deep breath; this is one of the most common things you will experience in your swimming career – the infamous “Taper Funk” or “Taper Blues.” Odds are, some of your friends who are talking about how good they feel, might even be hiding some insecurities about their taper as well. It is all going to be okay. Here are some helpful things to apply when that doubt starts to creep up on you…
Stretch and Roll Out Frequently
This should be a staple even if you feel good on taper but is especially important if you feel sore. The point of taper is to rest your body and heal the muscles that have been broken down often during your intense training. Stretching and rolling out will facilitate that process.
Listen to your Coaches
Your coaches are there to support you, and they want you to swim fast and succeed. A swimmer who doubts a coach and his or her methods is making a large mistake. This sport is very mental, so believing in those who have brought you here is key!
Drink lots of Water
When your body is healing itself during taper, it needs more water to keep muscles loose. A healthy, hydrated muscle looks like a piece of juicy steak before it’s cooked. When you are dehydrated, your muscle looks like beef jerky!
Forget how you “Feel” in the Water
How you feel in the water is important, but it is not everything. If you are going the times in practice that you are supposed to go, but it does not feel great, relax. You are still on the right track to hit your end-season goals!
Give it Time…
Taper is a long process. Your body does not heal overnight. Many swimmers will feel horrible during the majority of taper until the very last day before a meet. #TrustTheProcess
Focus on Yourself!
This one is the most important. Forget what everyone else is saying around you. This is your taper! You cannot control how your teammates feel or what they say. You can, however, control the things listed above and your positive attitude. Those things will combine and make you become a formidable force come that championship meet.