Encourage Self-Guided Practice
It is certain that some students won’t prefer to work on their own, and want to pay for your time to guide them all the way. That is ok. Some students may take those practice principles and walk away, content to work on their own from then on. That is ok too. And some will, as we hope, take over managing their own basic practice and keep coming back to us for deeper, more advanced work, building upon what they already know and can do.
As the coach designing and guiding your student through a practice, you are using a collection principles to guide you. Internalizing those principles will enable you to make the practice fit with the immediate developmental needs of this student. By leading them through this principle-based practice, you are giving them an example of how to practice on their own. You know the principles involved, and over time, you have the opportunity to impart an understanding of those practice principles to your student so that they become a better self-guiding practitioner. When your student eventually takes on more of the responsibility for planning and conducting their own practices, this then frees you up to guide them into more advanced skills and more advanced training.
The Measure Of An Effective Cue
There are lots of commands or cues we might use to provoke an improvement or correction in the swimming stroke.
Any kind of cue for motor control we might use is, by nature, a metaphor, and metaphors are something that attempt to approximate a piece of movement reality, but are certainly not that entire reality itself. Therefore all cues have limitations on how they can help. They might also have liabilities.
Here are some questions we may ask to get a sense of how effective a particular cue is:
Does this cue provoke the desired result in most of the people who try it? If the cue makes sense to most people without a great deal of additional explanation, then it is one we might use more often. If it works for only very few people in a particular mindset or circumstance, then we should be very careful to not waste time or cause frustration trying it out on those not in position to benefit from it.
Does this cue trigger several desirable features to occur together while drawing attention to only one? The better cues are those that get the swimmer to produce more features of the desired pattern while requiring attention on very few. This is basic efficiency. The more time-and-energy efficient training process uses the fewer cues to produce more of the desired movement pattern.
Does this cue avoid creating new problems while fixing the one it was aiming for? A cue that is awkward or too easily misunderstood may help in one way an hinder in another. A good cue gets the swimmer closer to the bullseye without overshooting it.