The training for the Great North Swim hit a snag a few weeks back. I couldn't go any faster.
There was a point where I was getting pretty good, and had a lot more speed in me, but technique was letting me down. There had been something before but this was worse.
There's a point where flaws in the basics will show, no matter how hard you paper over the cracks - and that's where I was. I even started to go backwards, thinking so hard about my stroke, I was getting too tense and adjusting other bits to compensate. From something going wrong with my right arm, my left arm went wrong and then even my kick started to go all floopy (non-technical term).
Nothing for it, I went to my first professional coaching session in over 20 years. And within half an hour, found the problem was with my head. By simply looking forward another 20 degrees, that created the space for arm to enter the water at the right point, which sorted my pull through, which sorted my breathing, which sorted my balance, which sorted my legs. Next thing I know, I'm cutting through the water like I used to.
The problem is, I've lost a lot of time, so I have to redouble training efforts. Muscles are annoying things - they get used to working in a certain way and have to be taught to forget what they know. That's why any swimmer isn't allowed to push themselves to the limit in training until their technique is sound - when you get tired, your stroke breaks down and the muscles remember to work that way.
So right now, I'm training them to remember to work how the should, no matter how tired they get. It's taking patience, but we're almost there.
In work, that's how you should approach strategy and the work that arises from it I(see what I did there).
It's no good glossing over a slight weakness in the creative brief, or something that doesn't chime in the work. As things progress, it will turn into something major. It needs to be watertight, it needs to be picked up, shaken around and given a general good kicking before you're confident you can move on. A general 'it'll be all right will just get you no where. Anyway..
It was wierd, but nice to go back to a really serious swimming setting. In proper pool that's deep enough to not make waves when proper swimmers do there stuff. To dive off proper blocks again. I'm sure just dipping back into that atmosphere made as much difference as the coaching - but nevertheless, there's only so much you can do on your own, no matter how good (or bad) you are, you should never be arrogant enough to think you have nothing left to learn, or someone else cannot help you.
Coming back to work again, ALWAYS talk your thinking through with someone else - you hear your words from their point of views and the holes become apparent very quickly - it's something to do with mirror neurons (similar to playing a killer song to a mate and hearing it through their ears and realising it's not so good).