Swimingscience.net posted an article about External and internal focus for optimal learning.
Basically: external focus is better. Using golf, darts, and balancing a board, researchers have shown that when you focus your attention on doing SOMETHING to something, you get better results.
This applies to swimming lessons because it gives us an insight into how we frame our language to get the best results.
Why do we say:
"Squeeze your ears, Look down, lock your thumb.
"Keep your arm straight, look down, and stay on the surface
Are these effective? Or are these internal cues.
Swimming and moving in the water is a highly personal thing and we often think about telling someone to do something by guiding their body. We assume they are attempting to move their body in a certain way, and they are!, but it may be more effective to give them a target, instead of giving a path.
Perhaps this is why "11, Y, scoop and Reach" is so effective. It isn't a "reach your arms up, keep them straight, sweep out, then shoot forward quickly." It is instead, providing a visual target, or an external cue that swimmers need to externally achieve by moving their bodies toward!
How can we use our language as swim instructors and coaches to use these external cues.
We tried it at swim practice
"zombie" and pull during freestyle
We drew these on the board.
We tried it in swim lessons:
It really works well when you do two benches facing each other:
Specific swim lesson activity