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Better Swimming Through Better Sets

We’ve been talking about improving your swimming, and how if you want to improve your swimming, you need to create change.

To create change, here’s what needs to happen.

You need to-

  1. Identify the most important skill to change

  2. Pick the most effective exercise(s) to learn that skill

  3. Design workouts that effectively facilitate learning

I’ve already shown you how to identify the most important skill to change by looking for the biggest ways to decrease drag or to increase propulsion.

I’ve already shown you how to pick the best exercises- ones that are simple AND effective.

Now, I want to show you how to design workouts that facilitate learning.

It wasn’t too long ago when I would have been the LAST person in the world to provide you with this information.

I did what pretty much everyone else would do.

Do some drills, do a hard set, then hope for the best.

Intuitively, I knew this wasn’t a great strategy, but I didn’t know what else to do.

So, I kept doing the same old thing, but I started looking for new solutions.

I read a LOT about motor learning and how to learn skills.

While there were some novel insights, I wasn’t really getting anywhere.

And then I read an article by Keith Davids, a prominent researcher interested in improving skills.

He talked a lot about perception and action, and how when they linked together, they facilitate change.

In other words, in order to move (act) differently, we need to feel (perceive) differently.

Learning is a sensory problem.

I knew that sentence meant something to me, but I couldn’t figure it out right away.

Then I got it.

The purpose of all technique exercises is to help you FEEL a new way of moving.

Then, you have to practice those new ways of moving while swimming freestyle.

And because you need a lot of repetition to figure it out, you go back and forth between the two, over and over again.

Here’s how it works.




It’s simple!

When you’re first learning, you do more repetition of the exercises and less repetition of freestyle.