Innovative products and services, swim paddles included, are simply an under shared story waiting to be experienced. From the old blue strokemakers to Ben Franklin hand paddles, a product is a specific solution to a swimmer’s inability to meet their goals. And great coaching is a tailored message waiting to be shared at the right moment.
Ask any coach stubbornly repeating warmup for the 10th time to 9 unique athletes, or a parent demanding a bed to be made – and inevitably the problem exists because ‘no one will listen’. Quiz the intended audience, outside of earshot of course, and they’ll likely shrug indifferently.
Community happens when both parties earnestly complement one another without compromising intention. Like when a tall, powerful tree sways with the wind. Rather than battle a gust with rigid, dogmatic stubbornness.
Deep Learning Facilitates Goals & Expectations
Ask a question and you make room for the answer. A simple question or action can shake foundational beliefs. And its the responsibility of athletes and coaches that have more experience and/or acquired knowledge to share without judgment or expectation.
Doing so simultaneously promotes potential, encourages deep learning and increases accountability with performance results. Negative and positive results.
The words genuine and authentic are tossed around, but their specific meaning is dependent upon the trust with an audience. Trust that encourages autonomy and feedback.
And products that demand kinesthetic learning from athletes reinforce proper technique and speed of acquisition. Just take them out of the swim bag at the right time.
Swimming Communities for Openness
On that warm October day, Christmas came early to practice. Genuine earnestness and excitement were palpable on deck. That day Speedo sponsored gifts of swimming gold waited behind every lane.
Speedo had brought bags of toys for good Team Elite, and Grinch David, sponsored by Speedo, demanded that these speedo swim paddles be used. So like faithful Max, all the athletes down in Whoville wore some new swag. And suddenly it felt like Santa had instead brought something worse than coal.
Because swag by another name is junk that will go unused. These swim paddle monstrosities more closely resembled petrified, dense foam. And an inlay for bear size paws, with a surface area roughly the size of a kickboard.
Coaching Trust with Communication
The story buried deep inside those swimming hand paddles clearly said that no swimmer had been consulted during the design process. Rube Goldberg would have shrugged his shoulders and moved on from the initial concept. Let alone allowed them on gold medalists’ hands.
And if a rogue swim coach got in their head that this bastardized product, was in fact, a great idea, they should find a new profession. Swimmer’s shoulder is real. And a swimmer’s body should be protected and developed with the best swim paddles.
Intelligent, agile design nurtures an idea from art to science, into engineering, and eventually a well-designed swim paddle. In this case study, a well-intended hack with a marketing push lives on to convince beginner swimmers of easier and faster swims.
The product and the service undermine trust with superficial greed. Brute strength and power are less important to a good feel for the water than common sense.
So while not every swim story carries a positive message. A story-driven product resonates simplicity in order to find its way into a swim bag. And interesting narratives exude endearing empathetic design to iterate through products and services that fall short.
Care Enough to Look for Answers
A few years ago a high school swimmer came up and asked me what kind of swim paddle she should use. Immediately it dawned on me that despite twelve generations of iPhones, the best swim paddle was the same one I repeatedly snapped in half a generation ago.
Strokemakers were the easiest way to create more power during Auburn ‘sprint’ sets. And the easiest way to get a ‘break’ from the more common 1000/2000/3000/2000/1000 pyramid sets.
It’s time for swimming to add some flexibility. Write another chapter. And champion the message for you.
Champion Natural Innovation with Biomimicry
Champions transform previously inconceivable personal accomplishments to rally a community around possibilities. We see what they accomplish. Newly inspired, our mirror neurons look to them with empathy and intention to learn.
When building strength, nature found out long ago it’s better to learn from our surroundings than to compete against them.
Biomimetic materials are inspired by nature to incorporate generative design principles into products. Looking to nature allows imagination an ability to repurpose an evolved, tested, and working message to accommodate a new, similar narrative for a different audience.
For swim paddles, this meant setting out to find hydrophobic and hydrophilic mechanical opportunities. Enter the darkling beetle and lotus flower.
Challenging Speed and Endurance with Swim Paddles
Swim paddles for sets that can challenge anaerobic vs aerobic swimming create multi dimensional athletes. Swimmers capable of taking the front half out at breakneck speeds and hanging onto their technique. And beasts of burden that come roaring home in the final stretch after establishing their stroke length and supplementing it with a great kick.
Swim Paddles Sizing for Great Technique
Swimming finger paddles pressure is an even more specific means to encourage race pace with distance per stroke. A lack of wrist straps, and raised bumps create proper hand position for all swimming techniques. And the sizing creates the best surface area sports science has identified.
Creative with Feel for the Water
Get creative with any approach to swimming with swim paddles. Senses are meant to be stressed incrementally to improve performance exponentially. In a nutshell that is the progressive overload principle.
Workouts and cultures built by informed coaches for inspired athletes intelligently design for inevitable success. When customized stressors are applied appropriately, systemically, and with enthusiasm, goals are a reward for proactive commitment.
The best swim paddles, like any great swimming gear, are just micro-interactions to reinforce intrinsic motivation. They can be used at intended or repurposed by enterprising minds.
Like any magic, some will want to deconstruct, reconstruct, and analyze it rather than appreciate swimming as an art form. Layers of nuanced science and engineering complexities. Others will simply marvel at the design. A select few will pursue it from their own unique perspective.