A question raised on my last post:

You point out that when our stroke breaks down, we asses where and why the stroke is not right and go back to drilling.

What if we can not find the answer from the drills…..especially if self-coached, how would you suggest we “think outside the box”… ???

(I am thinking this will lead to a few posts to lay out some concepts to help Self-Coaching Swimmers build a diagnostic grid for troubleshooting the stroke.)

It may be that you don’t yet know how to see everything a coach can see when guiding a swimmer through the particular freestyle drills sequence that I laid out in the previous post. In time you will. You may even develop some drills on your own. Drills, in general, are a classification of tools we use to uncover stroke problems and correct them.

To use the auto analogy – think of drills as that act of taking the automobile to the mechanic, and then lifting it off the ground on one of those hydraulic lift platforms- in addition, the drive-wheels are on rollers so that the car engine and transmission can be accelerated while the car remains in a stationary position where it is easy to examine. (Actually, this is a better analogy for what a skilled coach or swimmer can do in an Endless Pool with mirrors and camera system.)

A drill is anything that helps you isolate and focus upon a limited section of skill for problem-finding and problem-solving. So, by this definition it is not merely swimming at slow speed, or a funny set of movements that we won’t call real swimming – rather drills are a change of agenda and focus, sometimes involved a change or restriction in movement or speed, sometimes not. (You can drill in the middle of a race at top velocity, if you’ve trained to use focal points this way.)

A drill can be fast or slow, whole stroke or limited, active or passive, moving or stationary. The whole point is that a drill enables the mind to focus. If the swimmer is not focusing his attention on the precise purpose of the drill then effective drilling is not occurring no matter what laps are accomplished or what drill assignment the coach has passionately written on the white board.

Then, that raises the question, “What then should the mind should focus upon in order to find the problem?”

Next post…

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