Want to make progress as a swimmer? Find the fastest path to faster swimming.
Swimming is a sport that is dictated by repeating countless actions, involving rhythmic and coordinated movements of all major body parts — torso, arms, legs, hands, feet, and head, not forgetting synchronized breathing, so, it’s easy to slip into bad patterned habits.
In swimming, your success as a swimmer depends on how efficiently you can move through water. Water is nearly 800 times more dense than air. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for swimmers to work on improving their technique regularly and continuously. By doing so, it can drastically improve your overall swimming efficiency, speed, and confidence in the water.
What is the point swimming even one length with poor technique?
Young swimmers are such great athletes and I find it grossly unfair to expect youngsters to cover 3 to 4km in a session, day after day, week after week, swimming with some bad habits and incorrect techniques that is either not identified or corrected. I get the feeling that some coaches are so focused on the ‘better swimmers’, the distance covered per session, fitness, etc, that they forget or just overlook the most important factor in swimming…STROKE CORRECTION
Many basic errors are made by young swimmers. But what I cannot understand is that so many young swimmers lack the fundamental basics. The start and finish of a race for example! Do they understand how they can better their times by just learning and master these basics?
The importance of a great start in a race. Stance on the blocks, reaction time, the drive with explosive legs, the flight, torso, arms & head, and correct entry. The underwater kick, attacking the wall for the tumble and finally swimming the last 5 meters as hard as you can with your head down. Are they being taught these basic continuously or only 2 days before a meet?
“Moving fast through water demands that movements are technically effective and highly efficient. There’s no point swimming even one lap with poor technique, substandard skills, ineffective streamlining and poor quality turns. Do it right – consistently” WAYNE GOLDSMITH
Why am I not swimming faster?
There are lots of different answers. Every swimmer is different. Circumstances are different. But to answer this question is actually easy. Let us first answer this; Is the way you train or being trained, worthy of faster times at galas? Right, let us dive right in and find some answers.
- Recognize what needs to be fix. There are so many basic things that can go wrong. Let’s look at a few common examples. In free style the pull is incorrect, breathing technique is wrong, kicking from the knees etc, in breast stroke your head angle is incorrect, your hips are sinking, you’re kicking wrong, in backstroke not rolling your body when you pull, bending your knees too much, tucking your chin and in butterfly looking forward instead of down, not doing the body roll correctly, kicking too big and breathing too late therefore loosing rhythm. Ask your coach or parent to take a video. Have a good look and identify your mistakes. Then set goals to rectify. This is an ongoing process, chipping away day by day bit by bit until corrected.
- Understand and realize what should be happening. Once you understand swimming techniques correctly but you’re not 100% confident in the execution, then sometimes it’s just not good enough to be told what should be happening. Take a look at some of the top swimmers in your club or district or videos on youtube. Working towards your goal and perfecting your strokes and techniques to the best of your ability will be tremendously rewarding.
- It is never too late. Set daily goals. By setting a goal to work on something each practice, a swimmer is no longer mindlessly swimming meters but rather working on a specific thing to perfect their performance. 1% improvement per day is more than 50% improvement over 6 months. Imagine that feeling of achievement!!
It's all in the mind
A positive mindset is one of the most important tools for a swimmer to develop. To help this along, there is this amazing tool called, VISUALIZATION.
What is visualization?
‘Visualization is simply a mental rehearsal. You create images in your mind of having or doing whatever it is that you want. You then repeat these images over and over again, daily for about five minutes a day. In your five-minute practice, use your imagination to see yourself being successful in whatever goal you may have.’
The brain has difficulty identifying the difference between real and imaginary experiences. Imagine a great race or how you would rectify a small problem while racing. You can use this wonderful tool even during practice.
The power of visualization has been shown over and over to work for better and faster swimming. The best part is that it takes a small amount of effort and time. All it really requires is the discipline and consistency to do it on a regular basis. Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!