Many swimmers want to improve their swim technique. Myself included. So, we read article after article…
Looking for INSPIRATION. Seeking MOTIVATION. A new IDEA. Or REMINDERS of the classic elements to improve. It helps. But it’s a long, monotonous road of self improvement.
If you’re new to swimming, check out our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to master the basics. Then, come on back to read about these fresh ideas to try a different approach with these nifty training tools:
1. HAND PADDLES
A hand paddle is an awesome invention that you can wear to train your arm more effectively. It is a curved, often perforated, plastic board. You wear it under your palm. Elastic bands wrap around the back of your hand to keep it secure.
Kind of like wearing a flip flop or a sandal on your hand.
The paddle adds length and width to your hand. This increases the flat surface area that pulls through the water in each stroke. Creating greater resistance and more water displacement.
The pull feels harder.
The propulsion feels bigger.
“It also enhances the swimmer’s feel of the “catch”, the phase prior to the pull, where the hand turns from a streamlined position to grasp the water and begin the pull.”
Since these sensations are heightened, it is easier to perceive the correct execution of the stroke. The difference in each angle is palpable. And the adverse effects (twisting, torque) of errors and defects are magnified.
It makes it clear what to do and what not to do.
2. Pull Buoys
Paddles are often used with pull buoys to build up arm strength. A pull buoy is a piece of closed-cell foam shaped like the number eight.
Placed between the legs, it keeps the back of the body afloat.
The hips and legs are fully supported. The purpose is to make it so that you don’t have to move your legs at all while swimming. This allows for complete concentration on the arm stroke. It is sooo much easier to fully focus on arms when you don’t have to worry at all what your legs are doing.
Which helps in developing “endurance and strength in the upper part of the body, and work[ing] on your arm stroke technique and breathing rhythm.”
By process of elimination.
When using a pull buoy, it is evident that the arm stroke is responsible for a lot more than the kick. It is a very interesting and informative exercise.
3. FLIPPERS/FINSWhen you wear flippers, you can get a great feel for the ideal kick. It is a cool trick to improve strength, endurance, and body position.
Wearing “swim fins or flippers can help you achieve (artificially) a better body position and you will learn what that position feels like while moving.”
It is more natural to keep your legs high, straight and kick from your hips in flippers.
And you develop great ankle flexibility.
Practicing in flippers trains your legs to sense the right form with bare feet. It’s easier to recreate a familiar sensation than to fumble around in the dark for something you’ve never experienced.
In other words…
It’s hard to know what to aim for if you’ve never felt the correct way.
When you take the flippers off you are more prepared to mimic this form, technique and alignment on your own. Just aim to replicate what you felt when the flippers were on.
4. COMPETITIVE SWIMMING Suit
Men, you may feel uncomfortable in those snug, little speedos that hug super tight. I get it- swim trunks look much more comfortable.
Women, the traditional competitive swimsuit may not be as cute as your trendy tankini with thin straps and an adorable print.
You may not feel 100% confident with how your body looks in sporty swimsuits. Swim attire in general is typically not the most flattering thing in our wardrobe If we’re being totally honest.
And sadly, beach attire is not synonymous with swim attire. Swimming is a sport. And the dress code facilitates functionality and speed.
After all, you don’t go running in your flip flops,
I would not be suggesting this if it did not make a considerable difference on your time. Competitive swimsuits are known to decrease resistance in the water, improving speed. So, I know they are uncomfortable… But what can I say?…
5. A Swim BuddyHaving a buddy or a coach watch you swim is extremely beneficial.
They can catch slight discrepancies in your technique that would otherwise go unnoticed.
For example, you may not think your legs are sinking…but they can see whether or not they actually are. Our perception of our own bodies can sometimes be inaccurate.
How are you suppose to know? You’ve never seen yourself swim. Being aware of this limitation opens up possibilities to improve with the help of a knowledgable swim buddy. Also, they can give you useful feedback while you are still in the pool. You can try out their suggestions on the next lap.
And they can tell you whether or not you’ve improved!
6. A VIDEO CAMERA
Sometimes, it’s not enough to just hear suggestions from someone watching us swim.
We still may not understand what they are asking us to change. Because we still can’t see what they are seeing.
Having someone film your swim changes everything!
You literally have a whole new perspective on your technique. You can also see for yourself how much of an adjustment you need to make. This helps in avoiding an over-correction.
Your SWIM TECHNIQUE Tricks/ tools
I have a feeling some of you have secret tools for swim success up your sleeves… or should I say “suits“….
Don’t be stingy.
We shared our tricks with you.
Now it’s your turn!
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