Like all experiences of being filmed, what swimming feels like and what it looks like are two very different things, and it's always a bit sobering to witness your own swimming reality. But that's the point of being filmed. We identified a couple of key problems that obviously connected to my shoulder injury. Firstly, there is the dropping of the elbow and the subsequent upwards swoop of the hand:
|Walk like an Egyptian....|
And just in case my flaws are not entirely clear, here's me next to Shelley Taylor Smith, showing us how it's done properly. Significantly, this shot is of my right arm, which isn't even injured...although more by luck than judgement if this is anything to go by.
This felt like great progress - we had identified a clear target for our corrective efforts, and Emma assigned a small number of drills, each with a clear learning point, to work on later.
This, of course, is all massively useful and I've been working away at my drills and enjoying lots of (painfree) swimming as a result. It's still a bit hit and miss, and the dancing hands still make the occasional appearance, but I'm already seeing distinct improvements.
But the most important thing that I've taken away from the whole experience is about how to drill, and this is what I mean by saying I'm never too old to learn. I'm not new to drilling (in this, and also while learning musical instruments, for example), but I realise now that I've been doing it wrong all these years. My approach has always been to do multiple laps / repetitions of drills, over and over, in order to get the 'feel' of it into the body. But in doing so, I've somehow been disconnecting drilling from swimming. Emma's advice was to do half a length of, say, a sculling drill, or dog paddle, and then swim the remainder to locate it within the stroke. Drill, swim, drill, swim. And I'll tell you, my stroke is never better than the first few strokes after switching from drill to swim; it is in those (sometimes fleeting) moments that you really learn what it's supposed to 'feel' like.
I'm sure many people reading this are banging their heads on the table in despair at my late arrival at what is probably an obvious point, and I honestly don't know why I never got this before now - I work in education and use many of the same principles of learning / implementing in my teaching, but had somehow failed to transfer this knowledge to my own practice.
Never too old to learn....