Skill Acquisition, Deliberate Practice
Deliberate practise is a conscious focus, awareness, and adjustment of your movements with the goal of perfecting the movement. It is a continuous cycle of evaluation, modification, adjustments, reflecting, evaluating and making further refinements.
Once you have mastered one flaw, you move on to the next. Sounds like what we do with our swim stroke right?
Deliberate Practise in Swimming
Obviously, we need deliberate practice.
We need to analyze our swimming with coaches or using video to see what our body is doing in the water; there needs to be conscious of our balance in the water, rotation, and high elbow; we need to control our effort and paces. Especially for beginners, your stroke needs constant analysis and refinement. As you swim, you need to think about your stroke and hold it in the forefront of your mind.
Deliberate practice though can be exhausting and overwhelming, so we also need flow in our swimming–where we just let go of everything analytical and just be with our stroke.
From Deliberate Practise to Flow
Sometimes you just need to “swim”, and forget about all the little bits and pieces that you’ve been thinking about to correct your stroke. This is where I like to get athletes doing 50s, 100s or other distance reps, starting with a drill and then finishing on full stroke. On the full stroke, I don’t actually want you to think too much. The idea is that hopefully, the drill exaggerates a part of your stroke enough that the technique resides in the subconscious part of your brain for you to feel it when you swim on the following length.
Try this – for thinking about rotation in your stroke from the hips – do 25 metres kick as rotator kick then do 75 normal easy full stroke, and just swim without concentrating on anything. For thinking about getting hold of the water and a good solid engagement/catch, you could do half a length scull, 1 and a half lengths swim. In each case, the drill gives you your deliberate practise. You focus on one element of your swim. In then doing the full stroke you can aim for that easy flow and relax into your technique.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch; either by email, facebook or leave a comment on here! Remember, you can always get your swimming reviewed in the endless pool with our video swim analysis packages.
See what’s up next week for our #SwimTechTues tip!