Swimming is only ranked 44th in terms of difficulty in the ESPN (a US TV channel that broadcasts sports programs only) world rankings.
A study of the parameters on which these rankings are based (coordination, stamina, flexibility, strength, endurance, speed, agility and analytical attitude) shows that swimming is second only to gymnastics in terms of coordination.
Coordination means implementing a motor scheme that your brain has just designed.
It takes good coordination to develop an efficient technique and this can only be achieved by practising at every training session.
With this in mind, here is a set of drills to help you improve your technique. Today we will be focusing on freestyle:
1. One arm only: swim freestyle for a length using one arm only with your other arm either extended along your side or out in front of your head.
2. Freestyle with breaststroke legs: perform a breaststroke leg kick every cycle of arm strokes (right and left), breathing facing forwards as you make your leg kick.
3. Clenched fists: swim freestyle with your fists clenched (variation: start with clenched fists and then release one finger – starting with your little finger – every two arm strokes)
4. Alternating: swim freestyle pausing as your hand enters the water until your other hand has caught up and pause for approximately 2”.
5. Long sculling: swim “dog style” using your arm to provide all the thrust from out above the water down to your thigh, performing your arm recovery underwater
6. Short sculling: block your elbows along your sides and thrust underwater using only your forearm which “oscillates” alongside your body to describe a semicircle.
7. Sculling behind your head: lie on your back with your feet facing forwards and perform short and quick oscillating movements with your hands by rotating your wrists to drive yourself towards the other end of the pool.
8. Elbow bending: accentuate your elbow bend during the arm recovery phase (external phase) touching your armpit with your hand and pausing g for approximately 2”.
9. Varying your arm speed: swim freestyle with 3-4 fast arm strokes and 6-7 slow arm strokes
10. Rolling: swim freestyle breathing both sides and pausing momentarily when your body is on its in order to breathe (maximum rotation around the body’s central axis).
Since swimming is such a highly technical sport, why not practice as much as you can?