Myth-Busting, Beyond The Box Of Swim Rituals & Seven Skills Steps To Performance [Videos]

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Seven Skills Steps by Wayne Goldsmith - Photo Courtesy: Wayne Goldsmith

Last year, Wayne Goldsmith put together a series of terrific short videos while he was on tour in the UK and Ireland, writes Craig Lord. I was lucky enough to be at the Swim Ireland clinic at which coaches learned just how important it is to challenge some of the myths of swimming in the way the best mentors in history have, James Counsilman a key case in point.

The lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic gives coaches and athletes a moment to reflect and reassess some of the approaches they take to performance sport.  Here are some of the nuggets of Goldsmith’s How Coaches Learn Tour, his Seven Skills Steps Of Performance Practice, Some Myth Busting In The Mix:

The sport of swimming can be a great one.

But like a lot of sports it is held back – to paraphrase the great Doc Counsilman by myths, habits, rituals and traditions. Here are a few examples, the videos speaking to each of the themes in turn:

1. PERIODIZATION

  • A microcyle does not have to be a week.
  • A macrocycle does not have to be four weeks.
  • Time to move from being a slave to the old periodization model which is tied to western civilization’s obsession with a seven day working week.

2. BIOMECHANICAL PERFECTION.

  • There is no perfect swimming technique for all swimmers.
  • This is one of the biggest myths in the sport.
  • People see an Olympic champion, video their stroke and then waste months and months trying to teach their swimmers to swim just like that great swimmers.

Forget it.

The aim is to work with each individual swimmer and develop THEIR stroke – THEIR technique – not impose a mythical biomechanically perfect model on every swimmer.

3. SPEED ONLY AFTER ENDURANCE.

  • If there’s one thing that’s killed innovation and creativity in swimming it’s the slavish devotion to the aerobic base concept.
  • The best coaches in the world train speed all year round but still spend time developing the other important physiological capabilities including endurance.

But the old model of spending weeks and months on endurance “blocks” is an outdated and unnecessary training philosophy.

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Seven Skills Steps by Wayne Goldsmith – Photo Courtesy: Wayne Goldsmith

4. DOING MINDLESS REPETITION OF DRILLS.

  • Doing more drills will not improve the technique of your swimmers.
  • Most drills are performed at ridiculously slow speeds, i.e. kicking speed.
  • You need to have a skills development process where the swimmers learn the basics of the technique then progress the execution of that technique through SPEED, FATIGUE, PRESSURE and CONSISTENCY – THEN be able to execute the skill in competition.

See the model in the main image on this article – My Seven Skills Steps to  Performance Practice. 

5. BERNOULLI

  • And for the last time – BERNOULLI’S PRINCIPLE DOES NOT APPLY TO SWIMMING.
  • Even the great Ernie Maglischo doesn’t believe in it. Forbes Carlile moved on from it years ago.
  • No one with half a mind in the sport has given Bernoulli any credence for more than a decade.
  • Please stop teaching it in learn to swim and coach education.
  • Please move on.

Stop talking about pressure differentials and how swimmers’ hands are like the wings of a bird.

It is total rubbish.

Why not use the next few weeks at a time of containment in the coronavirus pandemic to re-visit all the things you believe to be true, consider some of my alternatives presented here and even if all I’ve done is get you to re-affirm your own beliefs then I’ve done my job.

Just don’t keep doing things because you’ve always done them for no reason other than – that’s the way you’ve always done them.

Challenge yourself.

Learn.

Commit to continuous improvement.

Get better at getting better.


You can also check out Wayne Goldsmith’s SOFT SKILLS OF SWIMMING E-LEARNING COURSE 

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