Published On: February 17, 2014
By: Kevin Allen, Washington
10 TIPS FOR BETTER SWIMMING
10 tips for better swimming
here are many things that swimmers can do to swim better. This to do list of 10 swim tips could help any swimmer improve their swimming. The first step is to get to the pool - get out of the home or the office and get swimming. Once you are doing that, then you can start to get this "to do" list done and swim on!
Do swim frequently
If you don`t average about three swims a week you will lose your feel for the water and your technique will begin to deteriorate. No feel, no technique, no speed. You might be doing a great swim workout once or twice a week, but for most swimmers that is not enough. If the option is between one or two long workouts or three or four shorter workouts, swimmers seem to do better when they swim more frequently as opposed to only doing a few longer workouts each week.
Do swim with good technique
Maintain the best possible technique at all speeds during a workout. If you try to go fast with bad technique, you are wasting energy; it might still be a good fitness workout, you are still burning plenty of calories and you are getting your heart rate up, but you are not helping yourself to become a better swimmer. If you can teach yourself to go fast while using good technique, you will make bigger gains.
Do drills as part of every swimming workout
Early in your workout, in the middle of your workout, or at the end of your workout (or any combination of the three!) do some specific technique work to reinforce good swimming skills. Even a few strokes thinking about what you are doping with your hands, arms, elbows, shoulders, head, body, hips, legs, knees, or feet can help you be a better swimmer. There are many drills you can do to stay tuned up, or to help you develop better technique.
Do challenging workouts
One or two times a week (depending upon how frequently you swim) do part of your workout with oomph - push the effort, go hard, whatever you want to call it. If all of your workouts are focused on technique, your technique will improve. But what will happen when you try to go faster? You will get tired, your technique will deteriorate, and you might as well call it a day. If you are doing some hard or challenging workouts - mixed in with technique work - as different workouts or as part of the same workout - you will learn how to hold good technique while going faster.
Do easy workouts
Depending upon your swimming goals, there may be no reason to do more than one or two tough workout sets a week, as long as you do one or two easier workouts, too. Work hard on the hard things, and easy on the easy things, and each kind of work will work together, resulting in an overall improvement in your swimming.
It might be a start, a push-off, or a turn, but you should always do things the same way - streamline, then into the transition between the streamline and swimming. But first, always a streamline. Getting better at how you push off of the wall is the simplest way to decrease overall time for a set distance of swimming. It does not improve your fitness, but it does make you a better swimmer.
Do leave the wall the same way every time
Always push off the walls the way you would if you were coming out of a turn. When you starting a set, you should push off the wall exactly the same way that you would be pushing off the wall if you were coming out of a turn. Most races have more turns than starts, and getting some extra practice with any part of a turn is a bonus.
Do wear a swimsuit made for competitive swimming
This doesn`t mean spend $300 on the latest and greatest high-tech slicker than skin piece of swim wear. It means don`t wear baggy beach shorts if you are trying to improve your technique or trying to learn how to hold technique when going faster. There are times to wear a swimsuit that gives you some extra drag, but not before you have mastered good technique. Want an analogy... not many people that want to be better runners do all of their running in hiking boots!
Do ask someone to watch you swim
Better yet, get someone to video you. Getting some eyes to watch what you do (or using your own via a video review) while you are moving through the pool can yield some great feedback on your swimming technique that you may have not realized. Watch or listen to the feedback, test it the next time you swim, and adjust as needed.
Do use flippers occasionally
Among other benefits, swim fins or flippers can help you achieve (artificially) a better body position and you will learn what that position feels like while moving. Then, when the flippers are off, you can try to recreate that position by feel, since you will already have a better idea what it will feel like when you get there.