Swimming is a highly technical sport. Many people can swim, but still struggle with improvement and efficiency. If you’ve ever watched a really good swimmer, it seems almost effortless. Here are a few things that GOOD swimmers don’t do – so if you want to develop a better swim stroke, pay attention.
- Skip the Drills – Swimming is one of the most technical sports out there. If your technique is compromised, it is worthless to continue to pound out the laps in efforts to improve. All swimmers, no matter the level, can benefit from doing drill work in each practice. Depending on the swimmers’ weakness, drills can be focused to correct any technical deficiencies.
- Rely on Equipment – You know the swimmer – s/he brings an entire bag of tools to the pool for each workout and uses every single one in every workout. There are paddles, fins, pull bouys, kick boards, tempo trainers, ankle bands, snorkels and so many more. The truth is, not everyone needs all the equipment. These tools can help certain people, but the right person needs to train with the right tool. Swimmers should also not rely on any of the tools. After all, you are not allowed to use any of it in competition. Use the equipment sparingly and use only the tools that help improve your technique.
- Swim at the same pace ALL THE TIME – This one just cheats the swimmer out of so much. Many times, swimmers go to the pool to “get some laps,” and end up swimming for X amount of time at X pace. Sure, this is great for aerobic fitness, but it certainly isn’t going to help your technique or your speed in the water. Good swimmers focus on learning effort levels in the water. Workouts should include some variation in pace – from warm up, easy, moderate, fast and sprint. By adding “fast” and “slow” swims to your workouts, you will see improvements.
- Take months out of the water at a time – So many triathletes do this, then wonder why they never improve on the swim. While swimming doesn’t have to be the main focus, to take yourself out of the water for months sets even the best swimmer back a bit. To get the most out of your swimming, it is best to stay consistent in the water, even during the off-season. The workouts can be less frequent and less in total yardage with more work on technique, but simply ignoring the swim for several months is detrimental.
- Swim one to two LONG swims each week – While this plan might be convenient for most, it is not going to help you improve in your swimming whatsoever. As previously stated, swimming is a technique-oriented sport; swimmers depend on muscle memory to improve and get faster. Once or even twice a week is not enough to see any kind of improvement. You are far better off getting in the pool three to five times a week at shorter intervals of time than you are trying to pack in the week’s yardage in a single 90- or 120-minute session.
If swimming is your weakness and you’d like a little help on how to be a stronger, more efficient and faster swimmer, contact me. We can develop a plan that suits your schedule and goals!