Becoming a better swimmer is like Andy Dufresne escaping prison in The Shawshank Redemption.
For the next couple of years, you’ll be spending 3+ hours a week in the pool. You could pass this time like 99% of the prisoners in Shawshank and wait for it to be over, or you can start digging like Andy Dufresne.
Every training session is a chance to focus your efforts on improving your stroke. But where should your focus be? What actually makes a difference to your speed?
It’s different things for different swimmers. But generally, the main three things are your body position, balance and the catch/pull.
I received an excellent question from a Master’s coach in the US about the catch and pull.
‘My one burning question around triathlon and Masters coaching
is about helping these folks develop their feel for the water.
As a coach, what has been your experience in helping athletes
develop this? As former competitive swimmers we “get” this, but
how have you been able to teach feel for the water to adult beginner swimmers?’
We use a number of exercises in and out of the water to develop this, including the ‘elbow change’, the ‘wall draw’ and a number of drills in the water. To help with this we also suggest a range of stretches through the upper and lower trapezius and the infraspinatus – as most triathletes and adults have a limited range of motion in the combined lateral raise test.
It takes experimentation, practice and time.
The angle of the catch from the front is highly important. You may not be able to get the same angle as these two, but moving from a straight arm pull to have the elbow wider and an arm angle of 100-130 degrees can create a significant change.
Using this with the right posture (slightly arched back) allows your to use the bigger, stronger muscles during your pull. Notice the position here. Avoid hunching forward, this drops the shoulder.
This is the bread and butter of what we teach in the Art Of Triathlon Swimming. It’s available here for only $29 until Saturday.