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The Keys To Turbocharging Technical Change Part V

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII

In previous editions of this series, I discussed how to determine what technical changes you should make, as well as some tricks for helping actually swim differently. While those are important, and often unconsidered, parts of the process, there is another aspect of the process that never considered at all.

How you do you get those changes to show up in competition?

The answer is that you need to train to display your skills in competition.

That’s not going to happen by chance.

It’s only going to happen with a plan.

A Plan for Transfer

Change isn’t going to happen by chance, certainly not if you expect that change to show up in competition. You need a plan to systematically develop the ability to execute your new skill during competition.

A step-by-step process is required to make this happen.

Hope is not a recipe for success. You’ve chosen the skill you want to change, and you have a sense of the tools you can use to facilitate that change. It’s time to make that change happen.

The first step is to get a feel for the skill using the tools described in the previous parts of this series. Once you’re certain you have a sense of what the change should feel like, and you’ve confirmed this with video or the knowing eyes of a coach or trusted friend, it’s time to practicing.

If you expect technical change to show up when it matters, you need to have a plan for how to progress from learning to execute the skill correctly to perfectly executing that skill under pressure. Fortunately, creating that plan is simple, just follow the steps outlined below.

Each step should be performed more or less in sequence, although you can occasionally skip ahead for small amounts of time, a strategy I’ll address at the end.

Step 1

Do it right. As soon as possible, you want to move towards the right context for sustaining the change. This means full stroke swimming during ‘training’ sets. Find a way to get in the right positions where you can feel the appropriate skills and can consistently execute those skills at low speed and levels of fatigue.

This is the starting point, and you must be able to do it right to start the process of change. Most of your time is going to be spent swimming slowly over relatively short distances, ensuring that you’re swimming correctly. We’re talking about lots of 25s and 50s performed slowly on loose intervals.

The goal here is not to condition or to train, but simply to learn and practice the desired skill. 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.

How do you know if it’s time to move on? If you can consistently execute your desired skill in the correct manner, and you can FEEL when you make a mistake, it’s time to start challenging that skill. Consistently and accurately executing the skill is the criteria for moving on.

Step 2

Steps 2a and 2b should be performed at the same time as one step doesn’t necessarily need to occur before the other. However, how much time you choose to allocate will depend on your goals. If you’re more interested in swimming fast in the sprints, focus on 2a. If you’re more interested in the endurance side, focus on 2b.