Every time a swimmer comes to us for stroke correction, the first thing we look at is body position. There are a number of drills in the Mastering Freestyle program focus on that.

00:10 – How to Improve Your Technique
01:22 – Good Technique Starts With Good Position
01:28 – Athletes Are Like Light Switches
02:04 – A Weekly Schedule Creates Routine
02:37 – Give Yourself More Space In Training
03:16 – Spiky Massage Balls Are Useful
03:33 – Foam Rollers Can Be Used For Self-Massage

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What’s the first thing you should do to start improving your technique?

When I’m working on one on one with swimmers, the first thing we that we look at first is your body position. So what are your feet, what are your legs, what are your hips doing in the water. The first thing that I worked on to this morning with Toby, a swimmer that I did a one on one lesson with was that his toes weren’t pointed down. His toes were pointing to the bottom of the pool and that meant that his legs are dropping. And then the second thing he was doing was bending at the hips rather than being straight through the hips so we also worked on that. So the very first drill that we worked, it was kicking with the board at the front and we made him point his toes down so it was in a straight line with the rest of his body, and we also made him tilt his hips slightly backwards like you would in pilates and squeeze his glutes. So he’s straight through the body and that meant he is sitting a whole lot higher in the water. So that’s one of the very first things you could do to start improving your technique –  is kick with the board working with the right body position so you’re sitting up high and your heels are breaking the surface in the kick.

Now I realize that not everyone can afford a one on one lesson or the Mastering Freestyle Program, but know that the results that Toby will get in the next couple of months is leading up on his triathlons will far outweigh what the lessons cost him. So you can start improving your technique today with a couple of body position drills because that’s the best place to start if you want to improve your technique.

Athletes are like a light switch.

They have their ‘on’ and their ‘off’. So when an athlete is on, they’re training hard, they’re working hard and they’re eating the right things. But athlete’s also have an off where usually the first two weeks of their off season they’ll eat more than they should, they’ll exercise less than they should and they’ll be sitting around the house on the couch not doing much. And that’s okay because that gives you an understanding of what it is like to feel that way so it gives you more desire to want to be able to get to that top level of fitness and training. So it’s okay to have an off phase in your training because it is hard to maintain that ‘on’ for an entire year.

One of the best ways to get into your ‘on’ phase is to create a weekly schedule where you map out what training to do each day of the week, morning and night. And when you put that schedule on your fridge, its always in front of you and you know what you’ve got coming on that day and the next day. That’s one really good way to get into the routine and the habit of training. And I’ve attached a weekly schedule maker at the bottom of this video so you can download that, you can print it off and put it on your fridge so it gives you a better habit and routine to get into with your training.

What is it with swimmers pushing off two seconds behind the next person?

I coach in the mornings next to a few tri squads. They’re good swimmers and they work hard but they push off two seconds behind the person in front of them. If they want to improve their technique and their stroke, push off five to seven seconds behind and leave a little bit of room. It means you can get clear water and you can get more from your training. So rather than drafting for the whole session where you’re working 30% easier, then push off five to seven seconds behind so you get some clear water to swim well with better technique and you get to work harder in the session and so you get more from it.

If you find that you are constantly sore in specific muscles…

There’s two ways you can loosen them out without getting a massage and without getting therapy for it. The first one is a spiky ball. So it’s a small ball with a spikes in it and you can usually pick it up from a physiotherapist or sports store. And you can put it on the ground and you can maneuver yourself around to massage the muscle. And you can also use a foam roller which is also available from a physiotherapist and sporting stores to massage the muscles while you’re lying on the floor. So these two items will help you loosen up any muscles that you constantly find tight. So for example I have had a sore lower back in the past few weeks and last night I used the spiky ball to massage my glutes and hamstrings which loosened up my lower back. So these two items are great if you are constantly sore in specific muscle. That’s it for news this week.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you back next week.