"But the strength of my swim program was rammed home to me while on camp with a few of our true believers, who have improved their swim immensely since ditching the technique method for the toys method."
"Meanwhile another 47 min non-wetsuit IM swimmer joined the fray in the form of Mathias Hecht. Now Mathias’ stroke makes Stephen look like Michael Phelps, it is off balance, breathes on the wrong side, gets nearly as many strokes in as Stephen."
"People, I can only tell you the way it is. You race in a wetsuit most of the time. Get the paddles on, pull buoy between your legs and just get after it. As Bella says, “I used to spend an hour and a half fussing about trying to do all the perfect technique contortionist things in the water gliding and stretching. But once I just got in, got on with it, stopped thinking about technique"
Where exactly did he say anything about learning the technique. He openly advocates ditching technique for paddles, pull buoy and band.
Paddles, pull buoy, and band are technique tools. However, unlike drills, *with adults* the former actually effect changes that stick. In other words, if you bang out long sets with a band, you learn good body position and to hold the water for the length of your stroke. Likewise paddles force a proper catch, so over time, they ingrain the muscle memory.
Drills are great for kids (even through HS I'd wager), but after that, you need to use tools - what Brett calls "toys" - to force technical changes. Once you are 20-something, you just don't have the neural plasticity to adapt with drilling, especially given the amount that most triathletes swim.
Brett advocates using tools that force you to change your technique as opposed to drills that try to encourage you to do so. I'm not sure that 100% of every set with paddles and a pull buoy is the best way, but I don't think Brett necessarily advocates that. Maybe -Tex can enlighten us. But I do think that 100% of every set with paddles and a pull buoy is a MUCH better and more productive approach than 100% "technique" focus, drilling, etc. which I how I see a lot of people wasting their time in the water.
I think the basic message is that hard sets with paddles and pull buoy should form the core of your swim sessions, not "drills." And I wholeheartedly agree with that. Swim hard, swim a lot, and use tools to make sure that your technique is good. I.e., especially if you are tired from running and/or biking, paddles and a pull buoy can turn a set that would have been a disaster into a productive workout. Sometimes - a lot of times - your legs are just fried. And you can either slog through or you can use tools to keep your technique solid.
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