Form (swimming technique), force (anaerobic ‘power’), flow (aerobic ‘capacity’) independent of one another are just skills and drills. When they are intertwined together, the magic that coaches and ‘lifers’ refer to as ‘feel for the water’ emerges out of perceptual chaos.
Like any magic, some want to deconstruct, reconstruct, and analyze it. Others will simply marvel at it. And a select few will pursue it from their own unique perspective.
Incubation of Ideas
Swimming is an incredibly difficult task to pursue. So think about it, focus on drills, youtube clips, intervals, heart rate, stroke count - any metric or tangibly credible thought on swimming.
Incubation is one of the four proposed stages of creativity, which are preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. Incubation is defined as a process of unconscious recombination of thought elements that were stimulated through conscious work at one point in time, resulting in novel ideas at some later point in time. Incubation is related to intuition and insight in that it is the unconscious part of a process whereby an intuition may become validated as an insight. Incubation substantially increases the odds of solving a problem, and benefits from long incubation periods with low cognitive workloads.
And then, when the moment requires it, let that awareness fade into the recesses of your brain and swim because hitting a 104 mph fastball is an incredibly difficult task as well.
A simple question or action can shake foundational beliefs. And its the responsibility of those that have more experience and/or acquired knowledge to share without judgement or expectation while protecting confidence. A hedge fund of experential workouts.
And while lately, the words genuine and authentic are bantered around to give credibility where none may be due. Remember authenticity is a reciprocal appreciation of the theory and application. So before I go for a workout Doc Weimar may ask me 'What is 'feel for the water'' because she's simultaneously curious and skeptical, but that doesn't mean she's going to dive in with me or I into the batters box against Aroldis Chapman.
Practical Application Drives Possibilities
Fear is a great motivator and comes in many unique forms - clowns, 3x800's, and Randy Johnson's fastball spring to mind. But facing our fears is what makes the process intrinsically important and the result valuable.
From the Fastball documentary
...many hitters swear that a really good fastball actually rises as it gets near them. Of course, the ball is still going down, because of gravity and air resistance, when delivered by any pitcher throwing overhand. That's just physics. The apparent rise compared with slightly slower pitches “is the difference between where [the hitter's] brain is telling him the ball is going to be and where it actually is when it approaches home plate,” explains Carnegie Mellon University physicist Gregg Franklin in the movie. That's just neuroscience.But Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, winner of the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player Award, disrespectfully disagrees. “I think scientists are crazy if they think that,” Harper says in the movie. “I mean, Craig Kimbrel [Boston Red Sox closer]: it looks like his fastball rises every time he throws it. They need to grab a helmet, grab a bat and get in the box because they don't understand what's going on up there.”
Finding, facing, and challenging any workout/routine creates a unique 'feel' for anything we accomplish. And the more rarified the accomplishment, the more responsibility we have to share that experience with another by creating workouts that contextually challenge.