If you’re going to coach yourself, and you should regardless of whether you have a formal coach or not, you’re going to need to create feedback for yourself.
If you don’t know whether you’re accomplishing anything, it’s going to be difficult to know whether you need to change your approach, and it’s going to be just as difficult to get motivated.
As all athletes are motivated by success, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to get motivated if you don’t know whether you’re experiencing any success.
A key task for coaching yourself, whether you have a coach or not, is to create as much feedback as possible to help to motivate and guide your performance.
While this seems like a daunting task, it’s actually a lot more manageable that one would expect.
Most of the feedback you’ll need is already available to you. You don’t need to buy any expensive equipment.
You simply need to pay attention.
There are 3 major sources of feedback that can really guide training.
In the first case, it’s critical to measure your performance.
Measure your speed and measure your stroke counts. Doing so will inform you about whether you’re moving in the right direction or not.
What’s great about measuring these numbers is that they’re objective- they’re better or they’re not.
Beyond measuring performance, another key source of feedback is what your body is telling you.
Our body is constantly providing us with information about how we’re moving.
The key is to start listening to what it is has to say.
While this source of feedback is valuable by itself, it’s really valuable when you can compare it to your objective performances. You learn how to feel what faster swimming feels like.
The third source of feedback is visual.
It can be really helpful to SEE what you’re swimming looks like.
Fortunately, with a smartphone and a Ziploc bag or a friend, it’s pretty easy to get visual feedback with regularity. As with paying attention to what you’re feeling, the value of visual feedback is in comparison.
You can learn to calibrate how you swimming feels with what you’re actually doing based upon what you see. Further, you can compare what you see with how you perform.
By measuring performance, knowing how it feels, and knowing what it looks like, you’ll have all the feedback you need to develop your swimming.
In future posts, we’ll explore all of these aspects of creating feedback in depth.