Efficiency is a direct result of how we move our body through the water. To review last weeks post, a strong stroke starts with a strong catch in the water. A strong catch is a direct result of proper hand position and feel of the water. The sculling drills covered last week force you to take note and focus on the pitch of your hand and how it moves through the water. It also helps build forearm strength, which means more propulsion in the water. Like last week, the focus of today’s drill is to help you learn to feel the water and create an understanding of how minor changes in stroke transmit into more efficient and powerful swimming.
This weeks drill is called the closed fist drill. The main idea of this drill is to challenge you to use your forearms to catch water by reducing the surface area and use of your hand/palm. This drill can be performed by simply closing your hand to create a fist and swimming. However, this drill goes against our natural tendencies and desire to swim with our hands open; naturally an we begin to cheat and open our fist, even if just ever so slightly. If you are struggling with keeping your fist closed, grab two tennis balls and swim holding one in each hand. Remember, these drills are meant to be completed slow. Because you are unable to use your palm to grab water and move you through the pool, you should feel the ‘pressure’ on your forearms and use that pressure to propel you forward.
Drill: Closed-Fist Swim
Focus: Swim Efficiency
For this drill, you will be swimming as though you are swimming regular freestyle, but with your hand in a “fist” position instead of a “paddle” position. While swimming, you should be focusing entirely on your forearms and using that area to pull the water; think of your forearms as paddles that will help move you through the water in the absence of your palm. Your wrist should remain locked in a straight position with your forearm, not bent.
Stayed tuned for something a little different next week – a fun little set that will help you track your efficiency and see how you are improving!