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Driving Change in Swim Training: Breaking Down Skills for Optimal Performance

20 June 2024


In the world of swimming, innovation and adaptation are key to achieving optimal performance. At the HC Swim Club in Tasmania, coaches Sam and Rachel, Jess, Harry and Mitch have introduced an approach to skill development. By breaking down progressions of skills using shapes as cues, swimmers have experienced significant improvements in their technique and overall performance. This article explores how this unique method has become a driver for change within the swim club and highlights its positive impact on swimmers' abilities.

Breaking Down Skills:

One of the key strategies employed by Coaches at HC Swim Club is the use of shapes to guide swimmers in mastering specific skills. For example, when teaching turns, swimmers are taught to create an ‘h’ shape with their bodies, balancing themselves under the water:

By first practicing this movement on land and then transferring it to the water, swimmers can better understand and execute the necessary actions for a successful turn. This breakdown into biomechanics has proven highly effective in helping swimmers grasp the intricacies of each skill.

Example of coaching basketballs using shapes
Example of coaching basketballs using shapes

Step-by-Step Approach:

The HC Swim Club coaches have found that breaking down skills into three steps and teaching each one separately yields excellent results. By initially focusing on individual components, swimmers can fully comprehend and master each step before combining them into a cohesive whole. This method allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the skill, ensuring that swimmers can consistently perform it correctly. Once the skill is broken down and repeated, training sets are tailored to the swimmers' abilities, gradually increasing the distance they can practice while maintaining proper technique.

Positive Outcomes:

The implementation of this innovative approach has brought about positive outcomes for swimmers at the HC Swim Club. By providing a structured framework for skill development, swimmers have experienced improved technique and efficiency in their strokes. The step-by-step approach has allowed swimmers to build a strong foundation and gradually progress to more complex movements. Moreover, the use of shapes as cues has enhanced swimmers' kinaesthetic awareness, enabling them to better understand and replicate correct body positioning in the water. For further information to support this concept, visit this blog:

Biomechanics In Sport - Physiopedia (physio-pedia.com)


The HC Swim Club's approach to skill development, driven by the expertise of coaches has revolutionised training methods and yielded remarkable results. By breaking down skills into manageable steps and utilising shapes as cues, swimmers have been able to grasp the biomechanics of each skill more effectively. This approach not only enhances technique but also instils a deeper understanding of being efficient in the water.

By Rachel Brennemo (HC Head Coach)

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