Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April is Learn to Swim month

This morning I met a couple guys at Layton Surf N' Swim.  They are triathletes who just wanted a couple tips to improve their stroke.

Curtis and Pete (Not including last names so I can reference them and their individual points of needed improvement)

Both of them had their own strengths, and the issues that needed to be fixed are common among many swimmers.

Curtis:

  1. Lifting head out of the water when breathing, instead of rotating the body.  Head position while swimming (Notice Tip #4)
  2. The arm recovery out of the water was correct.  Bent elbow and hand entry into the water was spot on.  However the right hand after entering the water, had a sweeping, or sculling motion at the very start of his catch.  To correct this and to read up on the catch, check out this excellent resource.  In Curtis' particular scenario, his left hand was spot on, but his right hand was completely different.  Working on getting that right hand to mimic his left would be a high priority.
  3. Lack of kick. - While the kick is relatively low in actual propulsion during the front crawl, it is still very important in the rhythm and influence on body roll.  Here is a good article on kicking including demonstrations of good kicking, and other useful tips.  This video attempts to teach correct body rotation, but at the same time introduces incorrect depth on the kick.  Look how far his feet are from the surface.  It's way too low.  Don't teach a drill that introduces an incorrect technique in another area, that can develop into a bad habit.  
Pete:
  1. Too much pause at the start of his catch, and head too low in the water.  I asked about TI and he admitted that he was a follower.  Total Immersion has a huge following, and it has its merits, such as introducing relaxation for anxious newbies, and encourages efficiency, but many of the methodologies are simply counterproductive.  Here is a good argument that I happen agree with.
  2. Too much body rotation. - Body rotation is good, but too much and you lose the correct rhythm. This video shows what over rotation looks like.  However, the fix it drill they prescribe is counterproductive to the issue of having too much pause at the start of the catch, and I wouldn't recommend that drill in this particular scenario because it only reinforced the lack of catch that he's already experiencing.  Here's an awesome article on body rotation.
  3. Lack of kick.  Kicking should be included in every workout.  I suggested that it consist of 10-20% of your total distance in a workout.  It's great for increasing ankle flexibility and developing the right amount of kick in your swimming.  
After working with them for about 20 minutes or so I did my own swims.  

Total yards today:  1500 yards.  The tapering for Saturday's swim meet has begun!

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