What is important to note is, its not the other way around. You do not train to develop speed and somehow add technique later on. Learn to swim wrong – learn any sport without technique – and when you hit a wall that seems insurmountable, a wall which is insurmountable no matter how hard you train, don’t be surprised. Any athlete who starts wrong, any coach who starts an athlete wrong, any parent who starts their child wrong in sport… should not only expect, but should plan for the inevitable moment when that athlete hits that wall, when their performance flat-lines into a seemingly inescapable plateau.
Athletes buy into, and coaches eagerly sell that training harder and harder is the key element to consistent peak performance… it’s a short cut solution, to a long term lie. There is nothing further from the truth, yet we do not take note as the pile of athletes who fail to ever experience their potential due to the consequences of harder and harder training (i.e. injury, burn out, and blow outs) grows larger and larger.
Start honestly. Start with technique training, perhaps you may need to take a step back and start with movement training: flexibility, mobility, self awareness so that you can progress to sport specific technique. An honest and humble beginning never comes back to haunt an athlete later in their career. A career which starts with short cuts, always ends a career cut short.
Michael Phelps in a Forbes interview shares that he still remembers his first swim coach/instructor: Ms Kathy. Why? Because she allowed him to get comfortable in water. When Phelps started to swim, he didn’t want to put his face in the water… so Ms Kathy allowed him to swim on his back until he was comfortable. If Phelps was pushed too soon to excel, can you honestly believe that he would have ever lasted in the sport as long as he has? Can you honestly believe that he would have achieved even a percent of what he has achieved in swimming? Would he have achieved his dream of changing the sport like he has?
So, start right.