Teaching Tuesday: How to Ask Better Questions to Get Better Feedback

 A valuable takeaway from practices and competitions, is whatever feedback a coach gives.

If you’ve been swimming for a while, you learn to get a feel for your swim and have more or less an idea of how you are performing. But sometimes, perception and reality don’t match. You think you’re doing one thing, but actually doing another. You can’t see what they are doing in the water; coach can. They can critique your swim and provide corrections as needed, so you can take action to improve your performance.

Here are 3 components you can focus to receive constructive feedback that will help you swim faster.

1. Stroking technique and metrics

Swimming with good technique is one of the most critical skills you need to become a successful swimmer. The more advanced you get, the more you shift your focus to improving speed, endurance, and strength.

Are you executing your strokes efficiently? Could you increase your stroke rate if you rotated a little more? What happens to your distance per stroke when you pull with high bend in your elbows vs. when you straighten your arms?

2. Pacing and racing strategies

Different distances will require different pacing and racing strategies. In a 50m sprint, you could likely go all out with a fast stroke rate from start to end, but doing this in a 400m probably wouldn’t be sustainable.

Do you need to lengthen your strokes in the 200 or are you better off taking shorter and faster strokes? Would you benefit from spending more time underwater?

3. Patterns in performance

When you’re mindful about your swimming, you will notice trends and patterns in your performance. These trends will help you identify specific strengths or areas of weaknesses.

Does your speed increase every time you increase your distance per stroke? What happens to your splits when you spend more than 3 seconds underwater?

Once you’ve identified your strengths, ask your coach how you can develop it further and utilize it to your advantage.