Friday, March 11, 2011

What Gets Measured Gets Swum

'What gets measured gets done' is a famous quote from business management and applies in all walks of life. It refers to the tendency to overly focus on things we can easily measure. What's easy to measure in swimming? Here are two examples :

- Your strokes per length.

- Your time over a distance.

In your swimming or coaching, do you give these two numbers too much attention just because they're easy to measure? Quite possibly and here's why:

- Rather than continually focusing on minimising your strokes per lap, would it better to find the right trade off between stroke length and stroke rate for you as an individual? Here at Swim Smooth we know so: get this balance right and you'll be swimming more quickly and efficiently. Once you're in this sweet-spot who cares what your stroke count is and how it compares to anyone else's?

- By focusing on your PB time for 400m, do you completely neglect your ability to swim straight in open water or develop your drafting skills? Swimming off-line or missing out on a great draft can lose you many minutes over 1500 or 3800m, much more time than you'll gain from taking 10 seconds off your 400m pool time. Your open water skills are difficult to put a number on but don't neglect them for that reason, they are still incredibly important.

If you have been swimming for a while then be wary of focusing on the same things time and time again in your swim sessions. A different approach might be the key to getting yourself of that plateau - even if there's no obvious metric or target for it.

Swim Smooth!


Dan said...

I am thankful for this weekly email. Thank you for your time and good efforts in bringing us swimmers encouragement.
Port Huron Mi. USA

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the refocus on what open water swimmers really need. The main focus of the real swim during the race. Yes, technique is very important & helps us with swimming faster but you help us to refocus on all the aspect of what we will be going through out in the open water. This isn't a swimming meet in a pool where it has a consistency every time you enter, we just practice there & we have to remember open water has it own personality every time you enter. Thanks for the refocus. Shawn, Billings, Missouri, USA

Ramadurai said...

This is Ram. Well said and very true. This is also important to keep the boredom away.
For example.. I focus on the body rollover for a few laps.. then i focus keeping the legs closer to the body for few laps.. then, on the skulling and hand entering the water for a few laps. Believe me.. This helps me to make constant improvements to my swim.