What to expect from technical change in your swim

Creating technical change in your swim can be hard, but swim coach Andrew Sheaff is here to show you how to set your expectations appropriately and trust in the end goal…

Burnout in professional sports. Hard training on the way to the goal, striving for victory. A strong adult woman works hard in training to win.

As I’m sure you’ve experienced in the past, creating technical change in your swimming. But then if it was easy you wouldn’t need my help or anyone else’s!


With challenge and difficulty often comes frustration. While frustration isn’t necessarily bad, it can become a problem if frustration prevents you continuing to work towards your goals.

We tend to experience more frustration when our expectations are out of alignment with reality. The solution? Set your expectations appropriately and you’re much less likely to experience the frustration that might derail your progress.

If things go smoother than expected, even better!

What can I expect from technical change in my swim?

You may actually swim slower at first

It seems wrong and it’s really frustrating. Sometimes change throws you off your rhythm, it’s hard to get into a groove, and you just swim slower. Usually this is pretty short-lived.

Know that it might happen, stay focused on executing your skills, and do what you need to do to be successful.

You may actually swim faster at first

Some technical changes can make a dramatic impact on your speed. You might get faster almost immediately. If that’s the case, great! Understand that it’s normal and be glad when it happens.

When it does, make sure you fully understand what you’re doing differently because those are changes that obviously work for you.

It will take a lot repetition to ‘get it’

It will take a lot of practice to make massive change. Contrary to popular belief, technical change is not a quick fix. It’s a long process, even if you’re working on the right skill with great efficiency.

Even if you have the world’s greatest piano teacher, it still takes time to learn how to play the piano well. If you’re working on your ball float skills, and it’s not happening as quickly as you’d like, remember it takes time.

It will take a lot of repetition to become consistent

Even once you have a breakthrough moment and you finally get it, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to execute your skills to the same standard with consistency. That takes more time and more work. Be patient.

Once you have moments of genius, know that consistency is coming right around the corner. Like practising the piano, even if you know what to do, it takes time to do it right and to do it well.

Progress is non-linear

Some changes can happen very quickly. With other skills, it may seem like you’re making zero progress, and then you have a breakthrough.

When this happens, there isn’t necessarily anything you’re doing that makes this happen. It just is the way it is.

Rather than focusing on how quickly change is or isn’t happening, focus on putting in the repetitions with great intention, and trust that it will come around sooner than later.

Take a chance to accomplish your swim goals

Whenever you’re frustrated or uncertain, questioning what you’re doing, remember this. If you don’t do something different, you’ll get the same results you’ve always gotten.

Doing something different doesn’t guarantee different results. However, doing the same thing guarantees the same results. Sometimes you have to take a chance to accomplish your goals.

By attempting to make change, you’re doing just that. Take pride in your courage and STICK WITH IT!


Top image: Getty Images