If you’re going to make progress, you need feedback, and you need consistent sources of feedback.
By relying on your objective performances, your subjective sensations, and occasional, yet regular confirmation from video, you’ll be able to ensure that your performances are consistently moving in the right direction.
The best part is that you don’t need to rely on anyone but yourself to get this feedback.
Of course, any additional feedback a coach can provide would be useful as well.
By using multiple sources of feedback, you’ll be able to take advantage the relative strengths of each type of feedback to guide performance.
You can compare how your swimming feels with how fast you’re swimming or how many strokes you’re taking.
That will help to improve your skills and your feel for the water.
The same process can be implemented when comparing video footage to how you feel you’re moving through the water.
Between these three options, you’ll know all you’ll need to know about how you are improving in the water, and that will allow you to make effective decisions about how to change when necessary.
Here's a quick recap-
Keep track of your times. Know how fast you're swimming in just about everything you do. While you don't always need to try to swim faster, you need to know where you're at.
You figure out pretty quickly what helps you swim faster.
Keep track of your stroke counts. Improvements in stroke count is a long-term investment in improvement.
Stroke counts will only improve if you know what they are.
Be aware of the speed and stroke count trade-off. To go faster, you often need to take more strokes. However, you want to limit that increase. IF you can be fast AND long, you're winning the game.
Know the numbers.
Be aware of the effort stroke count trade-off. It's not always about swimming longer as swimming easier matters, too. You want to be able to swim longer with the same effort or less, unless a little effort gives you a BIG improvement in stroke length.
How do you know?
Pay attention and get the feedback.
Video yourself swimming. 2 seconds of video can change your swimming forever. I'm not joking. Words can never do video justice.
When you can get it, get it, regardless of the type.
Do it regularly.
Pay attention to what you feel. If you don't know what you're feeling, you'll be unable to make a change.
Paying attention is a skill, and you can improve a lot with practice.
Tune in to what you're feeling, and what your swimming accelerate.
Compare what you feel to what you see. What it feels like and what it looks like are often VERY different, and this makes change challenging.
Reduce the difference by calibrating what your swimming looks like and what it feels like.
The better the calibration, the faster you'll be able to change.
Compare what you feel to how you perform. You need to know what faster swimming feels like.
How do you do that?
Pay attention to your performance, and pay attention to what you feel when you're swimming well.
If you want to replicate or improve those performances, you need to replicate those feelings.
If you want to improve your swimming, you need to know how you're doing.
Unfortunately, that information isn't always presented to you if you're not aware of what to look for.
Fortunately, once you know, what's important, creating feedback for yourself is simple, and quickly becomes integrated into your practice sessions.
With better feedback, you'll improve faster, and you'll improve more dramatically.
Faster. Easier. Better.