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  #1  
Old 08-05-2013
StuartK StuartK is offline
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Default Do we need to keep setting new targets

Not long after I started swimming and thinking that speed was the ideal and therefore what I should be looking for, I had a look at another swim site where I discovered two things: 1. I was evidently a bambino, (anything less like a bambino would be hard to imagine!) and 2. That for me their system was a backward step as I was reverting to the splashing, thrashing, gasping wreak that started out. For me brute force was not what I wanted.

My ti friend Talvi suggested that his swimming was like that of a manatee, which in turn was the ideal image I had of myself as an adult onset wannabe 1 mile swimmer, after all manatees are harmless creatures, not pretty, particularly fast or gracefull but totally comfortable in the water doing their own thing, which is where I wanted to be.

Now having eventually managed the mile what next, should I try to go faster or like Swimust follow the Zen like Shinji grace and form path or are they the same.

I have no dreams of ever winning races I'm not competitive enough, started too late, too old and short and will never regain the stamina of youth also I could not keep focus I'd get bored. So which way do I now go, what do fellow TI-ers suggest as a new goal that will provide the most satisfying challenge for us manatees?

As Talvi has just posted

Quote:
Swimming just in order to swim, rather than to get somewhere, is a challenge:- "..bbbut ..if there's no end, then....Noooooo!". There's a contradiction in this. If we're truly swimming for the joy of it, rather than to break barriers/records etc, then "swimming-on-the-spot" should pretty much be where it's at. So why do we aim to finish? Would a manatee want to stop swimming?
Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2013
craig.arnold@gmail.com craig.arnold@gmail.com is offline
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It doesn't really matter what goals you set, but having one is probably better than not. So choose something random.

For example...

"Compete" in an open water event. If you have never been in one before then you don't need to worry about where you finish or what time you do. The nice thing about the events though is that it's a structured event, there will be safety boats in the water. There will be lots of people around.

Just go and enjoy yourself, and have the goal of finishing if you can and enjoying the experience. By completing some events you will give yourself some data and many experiences which you can use to choose something else random.

Swim first in a wetsuit, then later that will give you a goal to do an event without one.

Raise some money for charity. Or alternatively be one of the few people NOT swimming to raise money for charity.

Once you have a time - or better a top n% result, then see if you can improve on it the following year. Or at least maintain it. See how well you do in your age group. If you finish last then make it your goal to not finish last again - encourage someone slower to enter. :)

I don't think it matters what you choose, but having no goal at all leaves you feeling a bit aimless.
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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times are limited by age and 'decay'

form much less so.

The only goal you really need is to make each stroke slightly better than the one before. you can add short term goals to this, how many great strokes can I swim in a row? how long can I swim in a zen like state?

This is why I admire 'Phil the power' taylor, 15 times world dart's champion. He is the only one in the sport who sets each dart up to be the best he's ever thrown, despite having thrown x million of them.
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  #4  
Old 08-06-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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You get to choose your own goals...how awesome is that?? :)
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2013
terry terry is offline
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Default Manatees Rule

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartK View Post
My ti friend Talvi suggested that his swimming was like that of a manatee, which in turn was the ideal image I had of myself as an adult onset wannabe 1 mile swimmer, after all manatees are harmless creatures, not pretty, particularly fast or gracefull but totally comfortable in the water doing their own thing, which is where I wanted to be.

Now having eventually managed the mile what next, should I try to go faster or like Swimust follow the Zen like Shinji grace and form path or are they the same.

I have no dreams of ever winning races I'm not competitive enough, started too late, too old and short and will never regain the stamina of youth also I could not keep focus I'd get bored. So which way do I now go, what do fellow TI-ers suggest as a new goal that will provide the most satisfying challenge for us manatees?
Stuart and Talvi
I liked what Manatee conveyed the first time I saw that reference.
I think you have brought us a gift in having a friendly term to describe a healthful spirit that I believe countless people would love to bring to their swimming.

I also find it strikingly similar to a person who has written for many years for Runner's World magazine. He took on the persona 'Penguin' to capture the happiness he feels running marathons and other long distance events quite slowly, enjoying the scenery and the camaraderie and support one typically finds in the rear of the pack. In the front, the pressures of winning and placing keep the focus on running against, instead of with. Also they're running too fast to chat or 'smell the roses.'

However I believe the Manatee spirit has far more potential for uplift than Penguin, because (1) Manatees move with great beauty and flow--and a fair degree of 'easy speed' while swimming. Penguins are among the most ungainly creatures on foot; and (2) At least as conveyed so far, the Manatee spirit here easily and naturally accommodates a strong Kaizen aspect. I see little or none of that among Penguins, who seem quite complacent about their running abilities.

I think the number of people who might aspire to be a Manatee is many times greater than those who might aspire to Shark status, which strikes me as a useful analogy for capturing the contrasting outlooks between TI and that other site you reference. My impression is that their pre-eminent value is speed and the worth of any technique or training approach is determined primarily by whether it produces immediate increases in speed. 'If you're not a Shark, what are you doing in the water?" But I think that reflects that its leading figures are still quite young. One might expect their perspective to broaden with another 20 or 30 years of life experience. Or even 10.

Speed is a data point with great utility, but as with all data points -- SPL, tempo, distance, etc -- must be cross referenced with at least one other data point to be meaningful. And as I've written numerous times, I always include a 3rd reference point, which I call 'mojo.' Does this way of swimming make me feel better physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?

Where does setting new targets or goals fit into this?
Mainly in the effect it has on your outlook, and its potential to improve physical and mental health. Those targets can be widely varied--more speed, greater distances, more ease and economy, a more graceful and beautiful stroke, mastery of new strokes or open water, etc, etc, etc.

For me Kaizen Happiness fits into all. I've sensed in recent years that my brain has grown more receptive to happiness. More moments and experiences bring me a sense of joy and the intensity of that happiness is deepening. I very much credit my TI practice for this.
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Last edited by terry : 08-06-2013 at 10:24 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-06-2013
terry terry is offline
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Default Growth Mindset Too

Continuing to set new targets or goals is also valuable in cultivating the Growth Mindset. Here's something I wrote about this in the TI 2.0 Coach Manual:

>>Most people tend to believe that many areas of ‘human potential’ fall within a range that is set from birth. This kind of thinking—while common in general--is especially pervasive in swimming, because traditional methods of teaching and training lead to outcomes that seem to confirm an existing tendency to believe our capabilities are (i) average and (ii) determined by factors beyond our control.

The typical adult lesson-taker can barely swim after completing instruction. The typical lap swimmer experiences Terminal Mediocrity. (Or, as George Leonard writes in Mastery to ‘define status quo as satisfactory.’)
In swimming, reaching no farther than the OK Plateau (your skills are ‘good enough’) is the norm. Kaizen is rare.

These are examples of a ‘Fixed Mindset,’ which has far more influence over what we achieve than any genetic trait. In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford professor, Carol S. Dweck writes that we tend to view potential in a binary way:
• Those with a fixed mindset believe their accomplishments are determined by inborn traits. They avoid challenges because their self-image is fragile. They refrain from setting ambitious goals, thinking ‘what’s the use.’
• Those with a growth mindset believe all abilities can be developed over time. They embrace challenge, struggle, criticism, and setbacks. They view all experiences as learning opportunities.

According to Dweck, you can learn a growth mindset and discover your true potential. When you learn a growth mindset, you believe talent is also learnable. When we believe we can improve through effort, then we do.

Kaizen is just another term for growth mindset. While experiences with conventional lessons and training lead most people to a fixed mindset, TI—swimmers as well as coaches--is a community that exemplifies, models and teaches Kaizen thinking. This is a completely unique phenomenon in the world of swimming!>>

I met with Carol Dweck at Stanford a couple of years ago to discuss my thesis that the TI community models and cultivates Growth Mindset among its members. I sent her a link to this remarkable Forum thread as an example. Read the first page of responses to the question "How do you personally measure TI progress?" AndyinNorway gave the first response.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 08-06-2013 at 10:25 AM.
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Default B-)

I've got a big fat grin on my face reading your thread Stuart. Namaste :) What wonderful replies you've elicited.

I believe goals are best when they're aspirational. Nonetheless I did have a goal this year: to swim across to the other next island in the lake, about 350m away. So when I did my continuous 1,000m (of 100's) in the lake, after almost packing it all in, I was delighted, and kinda' disbelieving. However, when I went back to the pool afterwards I was a bit confused. Did this now mean I had to swim 1,000m or more every time I went swimming? Suddenly it all felt more like an millstone around my neck than an achievement or a delight. I'd told myself I'd just do "drills", but once I started swimming I couldn't see a reason to stop. After all, I could do any drills as I went. And so it was that I ended up doing my mile. That just increased my confusion! Swimming was in danger of changing from a "yoga" into something joyless.

My bay crossing last night (500m, or about a 1200m total lap taking into account swimming detours into the reeds!) was a different deal though, not about distance as much as overcoming fear. At the end of it I felt liberated and just swam back out into the middle and played around, floating on my back, practising this and that etc!

So, in the end, I am personally left with this: Goals separate us from the moment (I had to correct a small typo there - as I typed gaols by mistake!). My aspirational goal therefore is to enjoy that seamless engagement with swimming which Terry wrote of recently - of no obligation, no sticks and no carrots, just engagement with the moment itself and the joy of continuous practice and the development that brings. The rub is, in this life anyway, that we also have to overcome things to follow that path, and so my other goal is to keep the faith and be a happy Manatee! (thanks for the capitalisation Terry :))
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2013
dougalt dougalt is offline
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“Each dart to be the best ever thrown…” – what a great philosophy, for most everything in life! For swimming, it involves the on-going Kaizen process of being totally AWARE of what one’s body is doing on the current stroke, then immediately planning what improvement might be made on the very next stroke. Total mental involvement, slim chance of boredom.

Regarding Goals, I am very familiar with the “millstone around the neck” feeling that can be present when approaching the water with some empirical number, or set of numbers, fixed in the mind as the objective of that particular swim session. Craig’s suggestions open up a way of thinking that can make the whole process a lot more fun and personally meaningful. I especially like “encourage someone slower to enter…” – one of the values in this is in reminding yourself that you have already achieved a certain amount of progress since starting at “zero”, and feeling proud about it helps provide the confidence to set new challenges for oneself.

Regarding the Manatee vs. Shark points of view, I often think of the snow ski industry. Although the Sharks get a lot of attention, with racing achievements being prominent in so many ski school and ski area founders’ credentials, at some point many years ago forward-thinking people realized that the bulk of the folks hitting the slopes just want to slide down the hill, master enough skills to enjoy the challenge of making it to the bottom in one piece, take in the scenery, smell the fresh air, get some sun on their face, taste some bratwurst and schnapps and hang out in the base lodge in front of a roaring fire. Without the business model that developed and catered to all these “Manatees” of skiing, with the attendant cash flow that was thus created, there would be very few ski facilities in existence for the Sharks to ski at.

Those Shark swimmers and coaches who bemoan the difficulty of getting “lane time” in the sparsely scattered swimming facilities that currently exist might want to think about how things might be if the swim industry expanded greatly by catering to the much huger Manatee cash base potential. The volume of participants that swim programs based on the ENJOYMENT of swimming would attract might thereby enable, financially, the creation of many more grandiose swim facilities. With many more lanes in existence, it would be easier to apportion off small portions of the lane time availabilities for the serious Sharks to pursue their competitive goals.

A side benefit to this, of course, would be the development of a much huger base of new swimmers from which new talented and motivated Sharks might arise…

Last edited by dougalt : 08-07-2013 at 01:40 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2013
StuartK StuartK is offline
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Thank you all for your considered, insightful replies, what a deep, thoughtful group TI swimmers are. Stuart.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2013
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StuartK View Post
what a deep, thoughtful group TI swimmers are.
Stuart, you fit right in,
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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