Sports News

Tanglin Introduces the Virtual Swim Trainer

Tanglin swimmers can now "follow the light" to achieve their personal best, thanks to the school's latest investment, the VIRTUAL TRAINER.

The strategy of coach-led and coach-centred practice is outmoded. Traditional approaches have been questioned increasingly about their effectiveness and there is a need for more evidence-based practice and contemporary approaches.

VIRTUAL TRAINER is a state-of-the art system where sets of lights are installed at the bed of the pool to optimise training. The lights can be timed and used as reference points that coaches can modulate, so swimmers are able to use the lights based on their sets as pacers to optimise their training – be it with coaches, or on their own. Tanglin is the first school in Singapore to use VIRTUAL TRAINER.

Andrew Hailey, Director of Aquatics, Tanglin Trust School said: "The aim of this system is to provide an external stimulus to aid training. Swimmers will benefit from support in training at desired paces and at the same time, use the pacer lights to "self-organise" their movements and strokes to develop more skillful and efficient swimming. The concept of self-organising is one I deeply believe in as it supports implicit learning. Self-organising using the lights unconsciously forces swimmers to make decisions to overcome the key principles of water, decrease drag and increase propulsion. By kicking harder or pulling with more power or even streamlining more, swimmers find individual ways to optimise movement in the water."

VIRTUAL TRAINER offers unique functionality and features but the baseline aim is to provide a stimulus for swimmers to chase, pace or beat. The light pacing system differs to conventional coaching because the swimmers have a different source of information. What this means is a change of focus for the swimmers to problem solve. Coaches can set the light and modulate it to a desired pace but each rep, swimmers can aim to reduce stroke counts, resulting in behavioral changes and implicit learning opportunities.

"By using this system, I can stand back and spend more time observing my swimmers and direct questioning to get athlete feedback. This is important because usually in traditional coaching settings, feedback and knowledge is directed from the coach. By standing back and allowing the swimmers to find strategies, I can use questioning to get feedback from them and open more effective feedback loops. These interactions help influence how I coach and design practice to achieve my swimmers' goals." Added Andrew.