Learn to feel the movement
Swimmer moves himself in 3D space and controls the movement in the level of tens of milliseconds. All of this goes through their system, but afterwards they have only wake feelings on what just happened. Water as an element makes it even harder. Role of feedback is to help them strengthen the correct feelings.
SmartPaddle records the movement as it happens: movement and resulting force in 3D space. This enables the swimmer to pick the details that they want confirmation on. And for the coach to direct the focus on the phases of the stroke which have the biggest impact on the performance.
A sign of the swimmer understanding their movement better with the information is the fact that when we ask them "what makes makes the force drop in this phase of the stroke", they very often give a precise answer. Their body is full of unattended messages of their execution and when attention is paid to them, they are able to pick those sensations that support the observation.
Understand the feedback
Usually the swimmers have been told many times what they should do differently. However, there is a difference between hearing and understanding. Not to talk about believing.
The difference on the SmartPaddle information is that there is no explanation needed. The force gaps are immediately visible and with the available information it is possible to simulate the correct movement. This enables getting directly to the real discussion on what to do about the observation.
Many times swimmers use terms "feel for the water", "feels powerful", "feels weird". And coaches use terms "high elbow", "fast", "strong". And often they do not understand each other in the same way. Good thing on measurement in general, and SmartPaddle in specific, is that it provides concrete things to discuss about. And the fact that those are measured facts on the actual human movement make them unambiguous. The result of the common terminology is that in 10seconds it is possible to exchange more information than in an hour with plenty of explanation. And 10sec is the luxury that the coach and athlete has in between the sets. These short moments make a big difference on the speed and direction of development.
Change your swim and learn from the impact
Movement is controlled by movement patterns and finetuned by sensations during the execution. Those happen inside the swimmer's system, and can only be modified by the swimmer themselves. Therefore it is essential to make the swimmer feel the difference between the correct and incorrect movement.
It is seldom that the first trial on changing the movement would be optimal, and it never remains the same after a few repetitions. The only way to optimize the movement is to continue trying and get good quality feedback on the trial. The main thing on the feedback is that it is actionable: helps making the next trial in a more optimal way. Actionable feedback requires that:
- It is available immediately
Human memory system flushes 97% of the memories on the movement in 3 minutes. If the feedback is available before this happens, it is possible to bring unattended information to the acknowledged memory and in this way speed-up the learning process.
- It is easy to understand
Feedback in practice always means discussion. Therefore it is essential that it is displayed in a format that enables unambiguous interpretation and provides terminology for high quality interaction.
- It is easy to identify with
The displayed data needs to correlate with the feelings of the athlete. If they change something, it should also be visible in the feedback. Usually the end result (= swimming speed /laptime) does not immediately correlate with feeling and therefore the feedback information needs to provide visibility to the movement itself.
SmartPaddle system is designed to fullfill these criteria.
Maintain the focus
We are good on remembering the best and worst things on what we do. This easily lead to hasty conclusions.
A natural tendency for a swimmer is to rely on "the good old habits" when they are stressed or don't focus on the execution. This makes changing a movement an adventure that requires "a map to coordinate".
When new movement is being learned it takes time to see the changes in the end results. In the beginning the variation of the movement will be big: there will be good and bad strokes. In order to see the progress it is essential to get visibility to the average stroke and the variation around it. Having visibility to the nature of variation will enable setting the constraints for the execution to speed-up the progress. Seeing the progress of the stroke level variation will build-up on the change both for the swimmer and coach.
SmartPaddle automatically calculates the average strokes and enables comparing them to previous recordings. Also the trend is automatically available.
Develop the capability to learn
The swimmers that have been using the SmartPaddle for a longer time have commented that "they modify the curves" when they change their swimming. This indicates that they have stored the SmartPaddle stroke information in their memory system and pick the most suited one for any specific situation. SmartPaddle measurement happens on the same level of detail as the human movement control and after using the information for some time, human mind seems be able to process the information really efficiently.
The fact is that there is hardly a similar stroke in lap length of swimming. As this is the case, it is important to be able to modify the curves and learn to adapt the strokes.