It’s great to have beautiful skills while swimming slow, with no fatigue, and zero competitive pressure. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with having skills when it matters most- in competition. This is the step EVERYONE misses.
If you want your skills to show up when it matters, you have to TRAIN them.
Most swimmers, and coaches for that matter, have NO IDEA how to do this.
Fortunately, I do.
Fortunately, it’s simple.
Here’s how you do it.
1. Do it right. The first step is to do it right. You have to know how to execute the skill in question. Do whatever you have to do to learn how to execute the skill in question during full stroke swimming, and do it consistently. Really focus on FEELING the difference between the old way and the new way. When you have a really strong sense of what the new skills feel like, you’re well on your way.
2a. Do it fast. Once you can execute your consistently, you need to begin to be able to execute these skills fast. This is the next step. Progressively increase speeds over short distance, provided that your skills remain relatively intact.
2b. Do it longer. Work on subjecting skills to increasing levels of fatigue. This can be any other situation where there is a focus on extending how long your skills can be sustained. It’s not just about going longer, as there also needs to be a significant effort component as well. It’s about going longer with some level of effort. Any of your traditional ‘endurance’ sets would apply here.
3. Do it fast and tired. Once you can execute skills fast, and hold those skills for extended durations while fatigued, it’s time to do it fast AND tired. We’re talking about racing efforts in practice. Remember, you MUST continue to execute your skills well!
4. Do it fast, tired, and in a competition. Now, it’s time to test yourself in competition, any type of competition. If you can make it happen here, you’re almost there.
5. Do it fast, tired, and in a championship meet. This is where you have the most physical and psychological stress. If you can make it happen in step 5, you’ve made a change that matters!
Depending on your goals, you never may desire to progress beyond step 2a/b or step 3, certainly not if you have no desire to compete. At the other extreme, if you plan to compete in a championship setting, you’ll need to move all the way through step 5 to make sure the changes you create show up when it matters most.
Now, this is the general concept. Certainly, there’s more to it in terms of knowing how much to do, when you shift your focus, etc. We’ll explore these ideas in more detail on the blog. However, the framework is this simple. It’s common sense. If you follow the basic, you’ll get very close to getting it right, even if you don’t know anything else. Give it a shot and TRAIN your skills.
Easier. Faster. Better.