As I posted earlier today, due to external factors I have to take it easy in my workouts and I have begun to go back and revisit my swimming drills. Doing swimming drills help extend the mechanics and flow of swimming. Also, most importantly it helps to enforce muscle memory and make you a more efficient swimmer in the long run. Endurance training is still important, but mechanics cannot be ignored. The interesting thing about the Total Immersion school of swimming is its insistence on continuing to perform balance and basic drill exercise in swim training past the early learning stages. I also like the fact it stresses not using swim toys and suggests other ways to improve. I have mentioned that it feels a little weird doing half pool length relaxed drills while everyone else is hammering away at lap after lap. But I am doing this for my benefit to get better at swimming. I am taking care of my engine and securing the mechanics. I figured I would outline some of the drills I have been doing and even point out one or two new ones I might add into my next couple of swim workouts. I figure I will continue these at least once a week as they are pretty essential to improve my swimming. BTW allot of these are really good for smaller hotel and apartment pools.
You can’t go wrong with floating for relaxation but more importantly it effects how you lie in the water both on your back on and your stomach. I know I have linked to it before, but I think it deserves another linkage, so here is a great article on floating. While this might seem the most basic, slow and easy thing to do and you might think it looks ridiculous, this is probably the easiest place to improve the swimming base. The important thing is to push the chest down and submerge the head to the point the water touches the edges of the goggles. Curve the arms inward a little bit, think the hull of a ship. Sounds easier than it is, but getting this right and staying relaxed and clam in doing it is not as easy as it sounds. Floating is usually the basis for many of these balance drills. The important thing is that you learn how to move efficiently in the water and place your body in the water.
I spend allot of time on doing these as it seems to correct form issues I often develop. If I feel like I am not moving properly in the water or something is off in my stroke, it often boils down to a water balance issue relating to how my body is in the water. Instead of going into detail, I am just going to link a video. While this might look silly, it does really help with balance and even feeling your body move through water. Also it leads into the position used for the skating drills.
Another staple in my drills, these extend the balance drills and put you one step closer to switch drills. For now this is the extent as the switch drills will raise the heart rate a little. Usually I would add a whole series of switches and other drills here that is great for transforming this closer to actual swimming style. But as I said I don’t want to get my heart rate up too much and those drills are closer to swimming.
And a good way to finish it off is to work on stroke a little bit with zipper skates.
There are a few other drills that I a want to experiment and try and I might have to cover those in depth in another post, but the basic one is Superman glides and flutters which I think is masterfully demonstrated here.
All of these drills really drive home the mechanics involved in total immersion freestyle swimming. From these drills additional practice can be placed in switching sides which more closely resembles free style swimming. Doing these drills though help to increase muscle memory and fixes little problems and bad habits you can develop over time. While they may not look macho, I believe they really are beneficial. I have experienced allot of growth in my freestyle technique and I know that total immersion and drill work has been part of it. Of course I am still learning myself, so what do I know. Til next time.