My style of coaching is VERY expressive, and I love to find words that describe how a swimmers’ particular stroke or style FEELS, and words to describe how that swimming SHOULD feel. Finding a great cue word that provokes immediate positive change in your swimming is enlightening. When you figure out what swimming properly feels like, having one simple cue word to remind you to swim that way, can save you from having to ‘think’ too much about all the various aspects of your stroke. Let’s face it, there are a lot of things going on when you swim, all at the same time, and ideally it’s all happening pretty quickly. Having one simple cue word can be a great way to tie all the pieces together, help create rhythm, and it’s something you can take with you to any workout or swim environment.
I keep a log of everything that I say to swimmers, so that if they have a brilliant moment in the pool, we can label it, learn to recognize it, and then pattern it. I had a good chuckle this morning reading through my coach log when I realized how many different words I have used in the past 6 weeks to describe swimming, and thought I would share. This is not a recommendation to swim any particular way, nor should any swimmer read this list and go try and change their stroke, that’s not the point. Some of these words describe poor technique, and some describe good technique. Some of these descriptions are good technique for one swimmer, while poor technique for another. For example – a swimmer who is very flat in the water might be encouraged to be more ‘rolly’, while a swimmer who overextends/pauses/then scissor kicks might be encouraged to be less ‘rolly’. I also realize that some of these are not actually real words. Most of these can be preceded by “Be…” or “Don’t be…” Often they’ll be strung together to form a full sentence, i.e. “You look kind of pinchy & too precise today, be open, neutral, natural, and relaxed.” Of course the context relates to whatever we are working on, and is accompanied by a demonstration or physical manipulation.
If you’ve been coached by me this fall, I think you’ll smile as you read this, as you have probably heard a lot of this recently.