The repetitive nature of our sport — the constant back and forth, swimming miles upon miles on a daily basis, all to end up in the exact same place we started — can lead to either a monotonous or a stimulating environment.
While I won’t sugar coat it, swim training is a mentally grueling undertaking. Those who are better at staying mentally engaged typically end up being the best swimmers.
Going back and forth more times than your competition won’t make you a better swimmer. Each length needs to be swum with purpose. Each action and movement that you perform in the pool needs to be done with focus and attention. It’s the repetition of proper, searching movements that will make you a better swimmer.
We, as coaches, do all we can to write interesting and challenging practices. A great coach once said (and I apologize that I can’t remember who said this…), “If it isn’t interesting to you when you write it, it won’t be interesting to them when they do it.” That MUST be kept in mind when creating a practice. Keep the boredom out, to keep the day dreaming away.
Swimming with consistent technique is just as important as consistently showing up. If you want someone to be proficient enough to swim in any swim meet, in any event, on any relay, then they need to know the following:
- Track start
- Backstroke start
- Relay start
- Fly to Fly
- Fly to Back
- Back to Back
- Back to Breast
- Breast to Breast
- Breast to Free
- Freestyle Flip
It’s pretty straightforward, but the devil is in the details. Within EACH of the 14 items listed above, there are endless fine points to be learned, with intricate nuances pertaining to each person’s individual physiology, physical ability, mental maturity, and level of dedication. If we selected just one swimmer, and looked at the 14 “big rocks” of technique, including 5 fine points for each of the 14 points, we’re now looking at a minimum of 70 technique manipulations to be taught to just one swimmer.
If a developmental coach starts with a young swimmer and teaches them step by step through each stroke, each start, and each turn, the process could take a couple of years (to do it really well). In the length of a swimming career, two years is really not a big deal. The swimmers graduate into an older, more training-based group, and they are good to go.
But wait. Now consider that each swimmer changes physically (and mentally) every year. And that boys mature at a different rate from girls. Age-group swimmers get a bit bigger, a bit stronger every year. The length of their levers changes (not to mention the size of their feet). Their strokes may or may not change, but how they connect with the water (and the walls) needs to be adjusted. Suddenly, the coach who thought those 70 technique points were nailed down tight, and s/he could progress to simply TRAINING the swimmers, now looks out at 30-40 swimmers in the pool, each changing at varying times and rates, but constantly changing. If technique breaks down, it’s often dismissed as collateral damage due to increased yardage. No worries…the technique will return when the swimmer adapts to the extra yardage. But will it? Would the growing swimmer be better served by learning to tweak her 70 focus points?
Simple math tells us that… coaching is a TOUGH TOUGH JOB! It is incredibly difficult to know what everyone needs, and to give it to them at the right time.
What’s one solution? Educating the athletes so that they can start to self-evaluate, self-correct, and self-experiment.
What’s the best way to educate the youth of today? On their phones.
The GoSwim platform allows coaches to share videos with their swimmers every day, and to deliver those videos to the devices that swimmers are clutching tightly in their hands most hours of the day.
IF you were to send a technique video to your swimmers every day, it won’t take long before they are better educated about the sport of swimming. Swimmers are smart. They are visually oriented. It won’t take long before they can watch a technique video and make a connection or a discovery that would never have occurred to the coach. It won’t take long before they show up with questions, ideas, solutions. Imagine having 30-40 swimmers in your group giving you individual FEEDBACK, rather than you trying to give a one-style-fits-all technique instruction.
By educating your athletes, you empower them to be better swimmers, students, and citizens. You also are adding additional staff to your team. More people with more ideas can lead to a better training environment, better team spirit, a better team dynamic.
Kids today WANT to be involved. They are empowered more than any other generation by information, and to the ability to share information. Preaching and shouting don’t work anymore. You must engage your athletes in the process, and we’ve made it as easy as possible for you to do that.
If you think sharing GoSwim videos over time is impactful, wait until you start filming your swimmers with your phone, so they can watch themselves (on their own devices) before they even leave practice.
The combination of pre-teaching, and post-teaching, and the swimmer’s ability to start seeing great swimming, and gaining the knowledge, and then when they see their own video, start to understand what they’re doing wrong, on their own… IS the most powerful tool the sport has ever seen.
This is crowd-sourced education. It is athlete education and athlete empowerment on a mass scale.
Sign up for a GoSwim Coach Account today. Start sharing videos tomorrow, and watch your swimmers transform themselves. It may not happen immediately (education takes time), but the longer you wait to start, the less your athletes will know by the time they leave you. Start thinking of all of the details you want them to know before they leave for college, or before their career is over. Do you want them to know MORE than you do about their own stroke? They certainly should.