Glide if you fly a hang-glider, or swing off the bottom of a paraglider… You need to be more dynamic and propel yourself through water, if you swim!
This week’s squad focus has been refining stroke timing, and we dedicate a short segment after the warm up to practice specific drills. In each lane every swimmer tunes into a particular aspect, after the objective has been described.
For some, it’s tipping those fingertips over a little earlier to achieve a more effective catch and eliminate a slight pause at the beginning of the stroke (Overgliding). This week’s SwimSmooth blog provides some convincing data and evidence around the idea of developing a ‘glide’ at the front of the stroke and the negative impact this has on swim efficiency. Check out this week’s hot topic Overgliding, Inefficiency and the Overgliderometer!
For others, it’s thinking about the breathing timing cycle and ensuring that all the exhalation occurs whilst the head is facing straight down in the water, and tuning up the timing of the stroke to ensure there isn’t an overly long pause on the turn to breathe. Many swimmers are unaware they are actually exhaling forcefully as their head is turned BEFORE they take their breath in (often holding their breath too!) creating a disjointed timing in the stroke. The knock on effects are often a sinking, straight-pull leading arm, instead of finding a nice catch on the water with a bent elbow pulling through under the body. Often the body and legs sink too, or do a bit of ‘squid leg’ kicking to overcome the pause at the front of the stroke (Bambinos, Arnies).
So our build set consisted of some single arm drilling to focus on the head timing and minimalistic breathing disruption, developing to the ‘unco’ drill to refine the arm cycle timing. This had a good effect on our Overgliders and Swingers, allowing a focused time to practice an even stroke cycle eliminating any ‘dead spot’ at the front of the stroke and developing great rotation from the hips. Fins are a must!
Our image this week is taken from the SwimSmooth stand at the Triathlon show, and shows Paul Newsome demonstrating the tricky ‘unco’ drill perfectly. It takes some practice but is a highly useful drill to focus on key elements of stroke timing – from head to toe! Aim for good body alignment and rotation, both shoulders need break the water surface on every rotation
Enjoy tuning up your stroke timing and think about propulsion until next week….