Familiarity does not make improvements

When I swam, firstly, it was a good few years ago – before WIFI!!! It was something I did, rather than actively being involved with. It became routine and, like routine, seemed to continue week to week and year to year. This was not a necessarily a bad thing, far from it – the more I trained, the fitter I got, with personal bests a-plenty. As I got older, however, this ceased fairly rapidly – the more I did, did not improve me. I trained just as hard as I had done before, what had been the issue?


It was only until I left the pool did I realise that the “how” element of the training, not necessarily the “how much”, was the definitive aspect of what improvements are made on. Yes, I had gotten bigger as an age grouper (and possibly fitter too) through my training, but, inevitably, the inability in myself to spent time improving my mistakes, ultimately, led to the quick demise of personal bests.


The vast number of HST athletes with have heard me talk about quality and standards and its huge need to be present on every session, if not every length or stroke. It is not just an action but, in its purest form, a mind-set. Rarely, in our lives, do we spend time on details, most things pass us by – especially those that are familiar to us. It is almost identical in swimming. Every freestyle stroke can be as repetitive (boring?) as the next; as can every butterfly turn or breaststroke kick. It is this familiarity, or lack of attention, that will allow you as athletes to engrain the same old mistakes day in- day out. Being used to something is cause for complacency and it is something that can vastly effect you, as an athlete, in a negative way.


Every aspect of every length should be a cause for scrutiny and examination (as well as experimentation to what works and does not). This takes time, effort and frustration but is surely worth it (over “working hard” on staying in the same spot). Every athlete in HST must have the incessant need to self-correct and self-better themselves every time they go near a workout – completion is not the goal. Just completing is the easy option, the option you can pat yourself on the back and call it a day “well done”. I expect, as a group, our attention to detail will be one of our finest qualities over time.


It is in the finer detail that allows you the opportunity to amend and better the overall athlete which will make you swim better. My advice is treat every session/turn/stroke/push up like a new one – one that has to be better than the one before. Do not be familiar, do not be normal and do not get used to where you are – as that is not where you want to be.



Yours in swimming,