I must say that going to a swimming class has greatly improved my swimming technique. My first post on proper technique was trying to teach myself using free online resources.
That got me through a triathlon, though not very well, and with what I have learned in the last few weeks from my triathlon instructor is orders of magnitude more.
Now I cannot speak for anyone else, I am sure everyone has their own set of troubles, but with how I taught myself I needed to work on one main thing: Balance.
Balance in the water so that the body is in the right position and the arms and legs can simply work to propel you rather than keeping you afloat in the position you think you want. You need to rotate from side to side well and from front to back you need to make sure your hips and legs aren’t sinking making your head pop up.
I can only share my troubles that have fixed my swimming for the most part. I can now swim slowly if I want. The reason I could not swim slow before was because I was not balanced front to back and as I slowed down my legs dropped down slowing me to a rediculous pace. I wanted to teach myself how to swim and thought I didn’t need a swim instructor, just a few online lessons. I was of course wrong, but that is because I was hunting for this stuff on my own and I had never thought to lookup a balance drill. I had no idea such a beast existed. I guess I should have bought a book. But if you are like me and want to teach yourself, hopefully this and my last post on the topic help you out.
Most of the balance drills I was shown by my instructor I found online:
- front to back body balance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGkiUCqmJs8&NR=1
- side body balance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=417pD_jfmJw
- both types http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZlHlOmqf2U
- side to side rotation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCInkX0ayEk
There was one drill similar to the third one that I couldn’t find. It is starting on the side, breath with head straight up to the ceiling, then breath out facing down as you take a single stroke and switch sides. It is like normal swimming but rotating around in an exagerated fashion. Rather than going 180 degrees with the head and about 90 degrees with the body you go 360 degrees with the head and 180 with the body.
There were two other things that helped me greatly once I had the balance down:
- I had no idea to rotate with every stroke not just when breathing.
- You kick with the whole leg from the hip, not bending the knees, keeping it real small to stay inside the tunnel of moving water your body created, taking care not to get out into the water that you can imagine is just nicely flowing around the disturbance you already created. Legs are just in the way and don’t propel you too much
Go to a class if you really want to improve, the teacher can easily see what is wrong and fix it right away, no need to swim miles trying to figure it out for yourself.