Having come to terms with the reality most triathletes face in regards to their swimming, let’s take a quick look at some of the problems that arise due to that reality, often problems triathletes create for themselves. Once you understand these mistakes, we can start to find solutions that will help you accomplish your goals.
For the vast majority of triathletes, there are two main errors they make. What’s challenging about these errors is that they occur as a result of sport culture and our innate desire to make things more complicated than they need to be. Fortunately, they’re problems that you have complete control over once you understand why they’re not serving you.
Mistake #1. Most approaches to improving your swimming skills are needlessly complicated.
Humans like to make everything complicated, much more so than need be to accomplish our goals. Swimming is no different. With a quick internet search, you can find endless articles and videos detailing all of the intricacies of each aspect of the freestyle stroke. While there may be some merit in understanding these details for a truly elite swimmer (although having worked with these athletes it’s usually NOT the case), all of this detail has little relevance to YOU.
You need to learn the 2-4 skills that determine 95% of your success, not the 100+ skills that make up the final 5%. Put another way, you need to focus on what’s really important, rather than majoring in the minors. The challenge is that while this makes sense in theory, it’s really difficult to know which skills are the critical ones preventing you from improving, and which skills are the details that are best left for really high-level swimmers.
While you could argue that you might as well work on all of it, remember what we discussed earlier about reality. As you only have so much time and energy to improve, that time and energy needs to be spent focusing exclusively on the skills that are going to improve your performance the most. Unfortunately, all of the information available actually makes this more difficult to do, as it’s hard to stay focused on a minimal number of key skills.
What's the key take away?
Pick a limited number of skills to work on, and work on them exclusively.
I'll have more details on just how to do that in future posts.
Stay tuned for part II where I will describe the second fatal mistake that triathletes complete when approaching the swim
FASTER. EASIER. BETTER.