There are certain problems that need to be understood by both beginners and experienced swimmers if they are to make their swim training more effective.
Swimming is a tricky spot and it is particularly hard to correct technical flaws. Swim training teaches us how to move in the water and how to learn the right technique but, bearing in mind the density of water and the fact that these movements are often “unnatural”, a number of problems inevitably arise for swimmers of all standards.
Technique aside, there are other problems afflicting both experienced swimmers and people approaching the sport for the first time. In this article we will describe the 5 main problems all swimmers have to deal with.
Three swimmers out of four are afraid of open water like lakes or the sea. And this fear does not come from any kind of phobia but the simple fact there is no blue line to follow as there is on the bottom of a swimming pool. The fear of open water comes from a lack of familiarity with these new surroundings and a feeling of insecurity due, for example, to the absence of any blue line on the bottom.
How can this be overcome? By facing it head on! In summer, try swimming in the sea or in a lake whenever you can. First swim along the water’s edge and then gradually further out. The only way to overcome this fear is to incorporate it in your training plan.
This problem affects all swimmers. It is a problem I have, too, since I only breathe to the right. Breathing both sides is extremely important because it helps balance your body and allows you to keep an eye on your fellow competitors when racing.
The best way to overcome this difficulty is to alternate the side to which you breathe in training and get used to breathing both sides. Incorporate this drill in the warm-up before for your main training sessions and then gradually try and include it when swimming harder, too.
This problem mainly affects swim training for beginners, although I have seen some experienced swimmers constantly swimming at the same speed without knowing what their ideal pace is. Why is it important to know what your ideal pace is? Your body is like a machine, if it gets used to using only one gear, the engine will eventually get flooded!
The only way to overcome this is to do a test and find out what your various paces are according to the type of swimming training you do.
In this case we are in the realm of prevention. Your shoulders and back-chest muscles work extremely hard when swimming, both in training and races. If your arm motion in the water is not performed properly, you will eventually run into problems of some sort.
Here are the three steps to prevent or get rid of this problem: study how you swim, understand what action needs to be taken and then make the necessary corrections by doing exercises out of the water.
In masters training sessions in particular, we often come across the unhealthy habit of using every imaginable swimming aid or tool regardless of the purpose it is designed for. Not all swim tools work for all swimmers: fins help with your body position; a pullbuoy can help you with your arm stroke; a snorkel will improve your head position.
The question you should ask yourself before using the latest swimming aids/tools in training is “why should I use it?”. Only after answering this question will you realise whether or not a certain swimming aid/tool will actually help you improve your swim style and technique.
You will probably have smiled several times while reading this article, because you will most likely have found yourself in these situations at some time or other. Never fear! If you do the right drills in your swim training, you will solve these problems once and for all.