The easiest way to train elite level swimmer/athlete is to teach proper technique while they are young. This follows them throughout their entire life. They are young, flexible and willing soak up learning like a sponge. For masters swimmers, myself included, we are not flexible, no one is getting any younger and we are set in our ways. This was supposed to be motivational article, now I just depressed myself.
The point I am trying to make is to have a young mindset when it comes to learning technique in swimming. If we make our goal the ability to learn the best technique possible, with a singular focus, everything else will fall into place. Your strokes will improve and your times will drop, even as you get older. If you think work harder, time is not escapable. Keep an open mind, forget what your part time high school coach taught you 20 years ago (unless they were amazing) and focus on the technique details to swim well, not the number of yards you do in a practice.
All of this and I have not given one technique tip in this post. So here it is:
Still Hands. The more your move your hands when you reach, the more resistance and wasted motion. When your reach forward to the wall, stretching through your armpit to your hip and on the freestyle pull anchoring your arm and throwing water to the wall behind you with no side to side hand movement. Reach strait forward, pull strait back staying on your blue line. Sounds childlike, which is a good way to think sometimes, when we are focusing on the basics.
Look at our freestyle video, so you can see the drills!
Last post we discussed floating and body position as the basic element of quality swimming. Everyone laughs, until they realize floating is hard for about 70% of adults. This article we will discuss proper body position kicking while you are in the water.
Streamline: You build on proper body position ( floating) by adding kicking. Start in the streamline position, stretching through the armpits, keeping a clean body line and begin kicking. Everyone thinks they know how to do the streamline position. Few do it well, and you can make a case it is the most important position in swimming. Start the kick using your upper legs and snap the leg down (similar to a soccer kick), letting the energy translate all the way down to the toes. The back of the knees are relaxed (this is important) and they almost hyper extend when finishing the kick. On the up kick you focus on grabbing water with the legs and feet and throwing it up and back to the wall. The relaxed knee bend is about 35-45 degrees. Make sure your are stretching and rolling your shoulders in, squeezing the elbows toward each other as you are kicking; keeping your body in a line and at the surface. Bent elbows with limited reaching will translate into a sinking lower body that will increase drag. Drag will slow you down.
Superman: Just separate your hands from streamline, stretching strait out from your shoulders, your hands are relaxed stretching forward at the surface, reaching for the other side of the pool. Lift your shoulders up to stabilize your relaxed hands. Did I mention relaxed hands!
The kick is the same.
Swordfish: Mastering this position is very important. Drop one arm to the side from superman, turn your chest to the lane line at 45 degree angle, back shoulder turned up (feeling air). The front arm is stretching forward through the armpit, with a relaxed hand. Keep the hand still and at or near the surface. Did I mention no hand movement and stretching !
The kick remains the same, going up and down.
Good luck and go practice kicking in a perfect body line.