These tips apply to swimmers of all levels.
1. Plan your swimming week and be prepared to “DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY”. Sounds obvious, but many people fail to make time regularly to get into the pool each week and when they do they fail to do anything differently to what they have always done.
2. Seek a “Sensi” who can teach you the strengths and weaknesses of your current stroke. Get an ‘expert’, to conduct a detailed Video Analysis of your stroke. This “evidence based” footage unravels your strengths and opportunity for improvement The majority of people who view a video of their stroke for the first time are amazed at how different it looks to what they thought they were doing. An “expert” should be a technique specialist. Not every swim coach is a swim technique specialist.
3. Learn drills and exercises that will bring about the changes you require. Get your “expert” to explain the Drills that you need to practice that will bring about the changes to transform your stroke. It is important that you clearly understand the mechanics of what you are trying to achieve and how that should feel in the water.
4. Diligently and deliberately practice these new movements. It is commonly accepted that it takes about 10,000 strokes to imprint a new muscle memory. Jason Lezack (US Olympian) has talked about how it took him 4 years of working on his Balance to finally achieve the result he was chasing. Whilst some changes might yield quick improvements (low hanging fruit), some take years to master.
5. Regularly monitor your progress to ensure you are on the right track. As with anything, if you do not occasionally monitor your progress you can very easily start heading down the wrong path. Check in with your expert on a regular basis. With a deliberate practice focus and should start to see and feel “Evidence Based” improvement in your stroke.
Peter Hendriks is a Certified Total Immersion Swim Coach (Melbourne and Perth)
A full list of Certified TI Coaches around the world can be found here http://www.totalimmersion.net/get-coached/find-a-coach