Swimmers in general aren’t normal. Who wants to stare at the bottom of a pool for hours-on-end just to find the smallest margins of improvement? I recently listened to a podcast with an ultra distance swimmer. Ultra distance swimmers are unique even for swimmers. These athletes just don’t stop! They swim between islands and countries. Truly magnificent feats.
This particular athlete spoke about the difference between acceleration and velocity. I could give the dictionary definition but to put it simple is acceleration is speeding up, and velocity is maintaining that speed. This athlete continued by saying that acceleration is more important than velocity.
I’ve seen it countless times. Here’s a physically fit athlete that can bike 100+ miles and run a marathon in the same day. Yet they’re totally gassed within the opening strokes of swimming. They’re beating the water, thrashing about focusing on what’s happening above the water.
There’s a balance between acceleration and velocity in the swimming world. Because water is so dense the athlete slows down quickly. Understanding that accelerating your hand will help you maintain you velocity. If you maintain your velocity you will not waste energy. If you are swimming in a pool there’s the rush of the water and speed when you dive in the water or push off the wall. When you are in the open water it’s a totally different game. There aren’t the creature comforts like walls to push off, lines on the bottom of the pool or locker rooms to name a few.
What I want to touch on today is the ‘catch-up drill’. This drill does so many things but the focus is going to be the acceleration of your hand.
To do this drill start in a streamline; remember long boats are fast boats. While in this position take one full freestyle pull, throwing water towards your feet.
Feel the weight of the water as you pull from top to bottom. You will want to accelerate your hand as you pull the water.
Once your hand has pulled fully down it should recover as usual. Make sure that the non-pulling hand stays out in front of you until the opposite hand catches up and touches it. (See image)
As I said before this drill does many things but today’s focus is the acceleration of your hand during the pulling phase. If you do this consistently you will get the big momentum we’re always taking about.
I know many pools are still closed but you can still practice this movement out of the water too. Muscle memory is vital for making new habits. Standing outside of the pool you can practice your arms strokes. Be patient and wait for one hand to touch the other before taking the next stroke. It may seem silly but studies show repeating motions both physically and mentally create successful patterns.
As we move through this strange time in our world I want to invite everyone to check out The Swim Studio. We are happy to announce our state-of-the-art facility will be opening May 9th.
So the challenge is this: practice your ‘catch-up’ drill both in and out of water. And contact The Swim Studio we are scheduling training sessions NOW!