“Scaling is a simple tool for taking action toward one’s goals in a manageable way – it makes it possible to be consistent in one’s effort while seeing improvement that takes us closer to the goal. “
Swimmers are an ambitious breed – and so are their coaches. We are constantly setting new standards and looking to greater heights as we formulate and crystallize our individual and team goals. It is this zeal for swimming and development that drives us to train and coach in the ways that we all do.
We all know that feeling of setting a new goal, feeling excited about it, and invincible in our vision for how we will accomplish it. There is also the feeling of not meeting our expectations or standards as we work towards the goal, or letting the habits and behaviors that drive change slip away from us.
It’s easy to blame ourselves for not having the self-discipline or what-have-you or to find excuses for why we weren’t able to execute. However, there is an overlooked cause of falling short of our intended trajectory on the way toward our goals and it is that we tried to jump too many steps ahead of ourselves rather than starting small.
Consider dolphin kicks off the wall. If you can consistently execute three dolphin kicks off the wall, and your race goal is to use eight, you may discover that jumping from three kicks to eight kicks at a meet has a devastating effect on the back half of your race. Your body simply hasn’t trained to naturally implement such a task mid-race.
This is where scaling comes in.
Scaling is a simple tool for taking action toward one’s goals in a manageable way – it makes it possible to be consistent in one’s effort while seeing improvement that takes us closer to the goal.
Scaling works like this and you can do it whenever and wherever you want or need to.
Ask yourself, “On a scale of 1 to 10, where am I relative to my goal?” or “On a scale of 1 to 10, how am I doing?” You can re-phrase it any way you would like, but ask yourself where you are on the scale.
The idea is to work on the gap between where you are and where you want to go, one level at a time. Let’s say your goal is to use eight dolphin kicks off your fly as you transition into backstroke for your IM. Right now, you use three. If you feel like you are at a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, what would it take to become a 6?
Maybe that would mean consistently executing four or five dolphin kicks off the wall. Now the pressure of trying to execute eight kicks when you can only do three, is less and at the same time there is a strategic plan to improve and work toward your goal.
Identify where you want to go, identify and accept where you are, and take appropriate and manageable steps toward the goal. On a scale of 1 to 10, where are you with your swim goals? What would it look like to be one level up?