From a discussion on the Total Immersion Forum
Originally Posted by HandsHeal
The co-founders of NLP believed that four essential patterns of behavior underlie success in an endeavor:
1) set specific goals and outcomes
2) maintain flexibility to attain specified goals and outcomes
3) seek feedback and adjust behavior and/or goals that are not working
4) monitor one’s internal state and adjust as needed
NLP techniques change behavior by modifying internal representations to aid the attainment of desired goals.
Both TI swimmers and coaches have significant roles in practicing the four NLP patterns of behavior. Bedause of experience TI is better positioned than individuals for teaching the internal representations that will improve swimming behaviors.
My internal representations include both visual impressions and Terry’s phrases like, “Yield to the water”, “Feather feel”, etc.
“Ease” has a rather abstract meaning. That stroke thought might not be generally effective, because of the wide variation in skill levels, andinternal representations of swimmers who hear it.
The new swimmer needs to be taught first how to float, then themechanics, then coordination, and so forth. Then, and only then, can they begin to put those fundamentals together with the advanced thought “swim with Ease.”
I’m looking forward to ever more interesting internal representations to consider, and methods to modify them, that flow from the Kaizen thinkers at TI headquarters.
Hands, you raise two key points here: (1) the influence of the concepts that guide our actions (NLP calls them internal representations); and (2) the importance of visual and verbal instruction that help the student translate those concepts into progress toward their goals and outcomes. So let’s consider the word “ease” in both of those contexts:
1) A concept that guides our actions. Positioning EASE as motivating goal of swimming is critically important because it counters the prevailing orthodoxy that hard is good and harder is better. If you believe the prevailing orthodoxy then as you start a repeat, set or race you’re likely to think “Swim hard.”
This virtually guarantees you will swim harder. It’s nowhere near as certain that you’ll swim better. As Amy noted in an earlier post, a likely side effect of an intention to “Swim Hard” is that you’ll increase muscle tension. And that will hurt your effectiveness.
So for TI to position EASE as a foundational goal is important in changing concepts.
2) However simply doing so isn’t enough. Therefore we translate ease into specific stroke thoughts in many ways. Here are just a few:
- “Hang” your head.
- “Hang” your hand.
- Cooperate with gravity.
- Marionette Arm
- Featherlight catch. (Or “Gather moonbeams.”)
- Rotate less. (Swim OFF your stomach, not ON your side.)
- “Nudge” your hip.
- Get your legs to “draft behind” your torso.
- “Flick” your toes.
Those are just instructions on “mechanical” ease. In addition, we have a whole range of instructions for “strategic” ease, such as “how to swim faster”: (1) Focus on sustainability, not velocity. (2) Reduce the resistive force of the water before increasing the propulsive force you generate. (3) Work the “math” of speed – building “neural circuits” for high-skilled combinations of SL and SR – rather than heedlessly churning your limbs faster.
And finally there are “illustrations of ease” such as the image below of Shinji, from the Outside the Box video shoot demonstrating the Marionette Arm.