One of the first authors to discuss the importance of resting before competition was Stampfl (1955), who insisted that his distance athletes rest for 4 full days before competition. But it was really Carlile (1963) who first emphasized the importance of tapering before competition. Incidentally, the term tapering was first coined by Carlile and Professor Frank Cotton in 1947.
Carlile and Cotton found that after 2 or 3 months of hard training, swimmers performed best if they eased their training for the last 3 weeks before major competition. At the end of the first week of tapering, the swimmers would complete a time trial. “A poor time generally indicates that the swimmer needs more rest” (Carlile, 1963, p. 33).
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The 1962 European Swimming Championships proved the correctness of this approach. Before the championships, Carlile was appointed national coach to the Dutch swimming team, which had previously performed very poorly. Carlile’s approach was to send each swimmer a document that warned of the dangers of hard training during the last 3 weeks before competition.
The swimmer who feels that he must be training very hard close to an important contest, as far as swimming knowledge is concerned, is still a child. On occasions a week or more of complete rest, out of the water, should be taken even during the final preparation for a big event .
I give notice here to members of the Dutch National Team, that within a week or so of International contests, I shall be using the “rest principle” very much more than the “train hard” principle. My experience as coach
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