This week you will notice the video is a little bit different to what we normally do. The reason is I am going to show you a video that I have just posted in our online coaching program.
We are looking at increasing stroke rate; a lot of swimmers can struggle with because they are not quite sure how to get their stroke rate up and if they should be doing it. What we will do is look at a video that one of our swimmers sent in and asked how he can go about getting his stroke rate up. We will look at that video and show you how to get your stroke rate up by avoiding the gentle entry.
One of the things we quite often forget about when increasing our speed is our stroke rate. We always look at technique, drills, workouts and training but one of the things that is a low hanging fruit is stroke rate. If you can increase your stroke rate but travel the same distance per stroke then you will be swimming at a faster rate.
Your distance per stroke will be affected by increasing your stroke rate but we are looking for that sweet spot where your distance per stroke maintains a good distance per stroke while having a faster stroke rate. This isn’t for everyone it depends on the type of freestyle technique you swim with. If you feel that a faster stroke rate will benefit you then this might be of use to you.
One of the main reasons I see swimmers struggling to get their stroke rate up is the gentle entry. When they come in from their recovery they will stop or slow down just before they enter the water. What that means is they don’t get the drive forward and the momentum from the recovery; they lose it as they slow down or pause just before they come in. If you look at the 1500m freestyle at the Olympics for example you will see all of the swimmers in their recovery and will enter at the same speed with their hands as they have in their recovery. So they won’t slow down just before they lay into the water.
Another question that comes up is “What about bubbles on my hands when I pull through?” “If I enter to fast then I will have too many bubbles on my hand” If you enter at the right angle and you are entering in front of your shoulder and you extend forward in front of your shoulder rather than entering across your head and going across then you will find the bubbles will leave your hand as you extend forward.
That is one of the ways to get your stroke rate up by changing your technique slightly; make sure that you enter the water with a little bit of force rather than the gentle entry. Another thing that will help increase your stroke rate is to avoid gliding out the front for too long. You always want to be moving through with your freestyle, you want to enter, extend and always be going into that catch. If you are increasing your stroke rate you may have to go into your catch a little bit earlier so you are not wading out the front to get glide from your strokes.
When you have been through the Mastering Freestyle, your stoke has improved and you’re swimming better one of the things you need to make sure you do is still maintain your stroke rate and practice swimming at different stroke rates to see where your sweet spot is.