Though I disagree,,,,I am interested to hear your solution......................You say these athletes need feedback......These athletes have coaches, some top coaches, that do not give feedback...Seem to imply most coaches, (by this thread) do not give feedback.......................So, if an triathlete that is new and does not have knowledge, How does this said person find the rare coaches yoy are talking about. So for example me, (though happy with my swim). Have a guy here that has 3 golds. Another that won masters nationals in the 200 fly a couple of times. They would disagree with you. How am I, who is nothing compared to them, supposed to know to not listen to them but find a coach that believes what you do,,,and know it? What is your solutution?
You ask lots of good questions. So let's start with a few things. In my answers, I am assuming that you started swim training (swimming to prepare for triathlons) as an adult.
I am sure you have some good coaches to help you, but you should also know that everybody's got limitations. Being really great at something does not mean that you can understand, observe, dissect, and then teach that skill. Especially when you have a coach or someone who began swimming at a high level at a very young age. Sure, they are fast as hell at age 30, but they have no idea how they got there, they just got there naturally. Kids do have the ability when you start them very early to, with some help, find somewhat decent swim strokes. (Well, not exactly. It's just the ones that don't find efficient strokes on their own quit swimming and leave by attrition. The remaining swim club swimmers end up faster as a group and it gives the illusion that kids will all naturally find the most efficient stroke. In actuality, only some kids are able to do this.) So a coach that started swimming really early (and stuck with it) often ends up without the ability to take someone who just started serious swimming 1 or 2 years ago and fix their visible stroke problems.
But the cool thing about much of this, is that you don't need to believe me. You can independently verify what I am saying. For example, if you are swimming solid weekly yardage and don't seem to be getting the speed you have been promised, try this. Go to youtube and search for videos of elite men and women swimming the 800m and 1500m free (no swim races shorter than that, sprint swim technique is different). If you are very tall, you can favor the videos of men (elite male swimmers are typically quite tall). If you are a male of average height, I would look more closely at the videos of the women (they'll be closer to you in height).
Anyway, study as many as you can, especially focusing on what is happening above water. After you have spent a few hours doing this and have burned those images into your brain, next, try this. Get any decent video camera and have a friend (it doesn't have to be a coach) and have him/her film you above water while you swim freestyle. Have them film you from the side and above while you swim in a wall lane and they walk beside you on the deck so the camera moves with you.
Next, watch the videos of yourself and then directly compare them to what you've seen on youtube. Even with your high weekly yardage, if you are visibly doing things with your body position and stroke and kick that are obviously and glaringly different from the elite distance swimmers, then you will see for yourself that your weekly yardage has not really helped teach you good technique. If you think more yards will fix your problems, well, then try this same experiment again in 6-12 months of lots of weekly swim workouts. I can easily predict that, unless you get stroke feedback and corrections during this time from a good swim technique teacher, you will be making essentially the same stroke errors in 6 months or 12 months. Yes, even if you swim lots.
To summarize, the big thing for you is not to just find a super fast swimmer as a coach. Yes, you should find someone who can swim fast, but who also really knows triathlon, and (here's the kicker) can teach you how
to swim faster. And, believe me, teaching this is not so easy to do. Sure, many very fast swimmers who have been training since youth swim great, but they simply do not know how to observe and troubleshoot your technique and then tell you how
to correct it.
Over my years of swimming (for triathlons) and swim technique coaching, I have noticed that some fast swimmers who started out as slow swimmers (so they were not trained competitive youth swimmers), but then, learned piece-by-piece, how
to swim faster end up being the best teachers. Because they know exactly what it took for them to "get" the fundamentals of better technique and better body position. And they will be the most likely to be able to truly help you in a way that you can rapidly comprehend, understand, and, most important, execute.
I am not sure how to find such a talented coach in your area, but one way to start: ask every fast triathlete you know. Ask every decent age group triathlete you know. rAsk every lifeguard you meet. Ask every swim or tri coach you meet. Rinse. Repeat.
I hope this helps.
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