Effective training is a habit.
When you're training well, you're doing simple skills automatically and repeatedly.
While you need to make your technical and physical skills a habit, you also need to make your thought processes a habit.
More specifically, you need to make these two simple questions a habit.
Here's a common complaint I get.
Won’t this take too much time?
While at first, it may be slightly cumbersome, that’s to be expected with any new skill or way of doing something. If anything, not knowing the answers to these questions simply indicates that you’re NOT paying attention to what you’re doing when you’re swimming. And THAT is a much bigger problem than any time you feel you might be wasting by asking these questions.
Once you’re used to the process, it should take no more than 5-10 seconds. As you get familiar with asking these questions, it happens fast. Remember, that this process is happening subconsciously or even consciously as you swim. You’re evaluating what you’re feeling as you’re executing each repetition. This is exactly the point of the whole process. It’s keeping you focused on what you’re doing. By the time you hit the wall, you already know what you did well and what you could do better. You know because you’re paying attention. It might take a couple extra seconds to integrate your performance time into your evaluation if you’re using that information as well.
As with evaluating your progress deciding what to do next is just as fast a process. Simply, trust your instincts and go with what feels right. You can’t choose wrong. You’re either going to reinforce your success, or work on further opportunities for improvement. In both cases, you’re going to be facilitating your improvement. Further, you can always change your focus from repetition to repetition.
The process of ensuring that you are properly focused for each and every repetition during practice can be driven by two simple questions-
What did I do well?
What could be better?
By asking yourself these questions, you can quickly and accurately assess your performance, as well as create a clear set of objectives for the following repetitions. This process works because it forces you to focus on what you’re doing throughout each repetition of the entire practice. You can’t answer the questions with any sort of accuracy is you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing. While these questions are useful because they can help you focus on what’s important, the real value is that they force you to focus. Over the course of a training session, maintaining your focus is the biggest obstacle to success. These questions help you do that.
Ask the questions, act on the answers, and get faster.
FASTER. EASIER. BETTER.