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Can't swim - get some coaching

Sounds obvious doesn't it.

I self taught myself freestyle through perseverance and hours of garbage yardage.

I finally realised that I wasn't going to improve on my own and recently went on the SwimSmooth clinic at Bath Uni. I didn't expect overnight miracles, how could I possibly get better after one day's coaching. Now that's not because I'm really Ian Thorpe posting incognito (I wish!) but because I'd never been video'd I thought that my technique wasn't that bad. Ouch. doesn't the truth hurt sometimes. It sort of looked like a freestyle stroke, but only just - now I know why everyone goes past me.

Throughout the day we alternated between time in the classroom discussing technique, biomechanics and the remaining time in the pool putting into practise what we'd just seen and receiving individual tuition from either Paul or one of the other superb coaches. We were videoed again at the end of the day and although tired I didn't initially recognise myself as my stroke had changed so dramatically.

Now, one of Paul's mantras (misquoted) is along the lines of - reinforce, don't force, so I hope he'll excuse me if I qualify how amazed I am. Before the session it took me 62s for 50m (told you I was no Ian Thorpe) - I've just got back from a session and timed myself at 47s for the same 50m (okay, still no Ian Thorpe) and I'm over the moon. I haven't timed myself yet, but reckon I could go under 30min for 1500 now! Game on!

So, thanks again to Paul, Neil and Stewart/Stuart, the coaches, and all the others who attended the Bath Uni clinic and made it so enjoyable and to those who are sitting on the fence wondering whether or not to get some swim coaching - do it!



  • PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    Very interesting. I'll see if they're doing one in London early in 2007.

    Could you expand on the teaching methods used?

    Sadly, I've already had lessons and (I think) my technique is decent but I'm still around 60 seconds for 50m. I haven't swum for a month now.
  • pc67,

    I don't think that Paul would claim that there's anything extraordinary about his training techniques. It's all about common sense and identifying the faults with your stroke. That said, there is no holy grail of freestyle technique, it's about what works best for you. At the clinic I saw myself on video, looking fairly ghastly, focussed on one particular area that I thought would provide the greatest benefit, in my case the hand entry and catch, and worked on that, supported by Paul and the other coaches present at the clinic. The result - shaved 15s of my 50m time. I haven't tried a timed 1500m yet, but I have noticed that the 100m sets I'm currently doing to reinforce my new habits also seem quicker as benchmarked against the regulars in the pool...

    You mention that you had lessons - did you actually get visual feedback on what you were doing? IMHO I reckon that that's worth a thousand words, obviously coupled with the right guidance and pointers to correct it. We (there were 12 of us on the clinic) were all videoed at the beginning (and at the end) of the clinic - I can't speak for the others on the course, but it was hugely beneficial to myself in terms of motivation, simply to see the improvements made. It /felt/ better in the water, but to actually see my stroke improved was a huge benefit.

    I will be going back for further 1-2-1 sessions to keep the focus and improvement going, but for now I'm going to work on reinforcing what I've learnt. I think that Paul's disappearing to Australia in the next few weeks, but have a look at the swimsmooth website. I see that some of our feedback reviews have now been added to the web: http://www.swimsmooth.com/servicesUKBATH.htm

    If you want any more specifics, please PM me and I'll try and fill in any blanks you might have - although I'm no coach, I'm just pleased with the results!! Alternatively get in touch with Paul, he's very approachable and will certainly get back to you with answers to any questions you might have.


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