Why Fix your Swimming Stroke?
The challenge for the uncoached swimmer is that there are so many elements of the freestyle stroke to copy and correct, so developing your swimming can seem daunting. Which elements of the stroke should you work on first? Which corrections will result in the most improvement?
Luckily, the fundamentals of swimming and the drills used to help improve one’s freestyle still remain the same and are still used today with enormous success in our lessons. Swimming freestyle is not complicated, but swimming freestyle like a champion is a matter of small details making the difference. Our coaches will show you these details with a biomechanical breakdown of your swimming stroke and propose a swimming workout to work on them.
When developing your swimming stroke, always remember that some stroke points can be applied immediately; others will need some time to be mastered. So enjoy trying them out and be patient if it takes some time to master them.
Common Freestyle Swimming Mistakes to Fix:
There are without doubt five different key factors in the freestyle stroke and these are: body position, breathing, arm stroke, leg kick, and body rotation. There are many bad habits that swimmers develop that usually stem from poor adaptation to the water. Some of these habits surface even in advanced swimmers. Here are some common mistakes and what you can practice to fix them.
Freestyle Body Position: With a lack of streamlining in the water, many novice swimmers keep their head too high which in turn reflects in the hips being held too low beneath the surface and the legs will drop even further. The head position can be held too high when the swimmer is face down in the water but also when the swimmer has turned for a breath. You will find that some swimmers will be perfectly streamlined in the freestyle stroke when they are exhaling and face down in the water, but as soon as they turn for a breath, they will lift the head away from the surface of the water which in turn allows the hips and legs to drop.
Freestyle breathing: not releasing your previous breath, results in swimmers breath holding throughout their freestyle swimming. Sometimes the unrelaxed and unbalanced swimmer is in a state of tension which prevents them exhaling fully at the correct time. This problem can easily be rectified in one swimming lesson by working on the timing of the breathing sequence.
Freestyle arm stroke: a short underwater stroke is a classic mistake for inefficient swimmers. Most people with this problem will usually enter the hand correctly in an outstretched manner, but will exit the water during the underwater stroke too early, and not extend the push through to the hips.
Freestyle leg kick: over-kicking with an excessive leg kick and not moving is often the biggest problem of novice swimmers and triathletes alike. During the leg kick, swimmers with a poor connection of the feet on the water can also experience a dropping of the legs that end up trailing too low in the water.
Freestyle body roll: swimming flat and not allowing the body to move is extremely inefficient when swimming freestyle. Each and every stroke requires that the entire body rotates from side to side (and in time with the pulling arm stroke). A flat swimmer will remain flat throughout and not allow the shoulders or hips to rotate (or both). This common problem inhibits the power of the swimmer, as remaining in a flat position throughout the stroke prevents the swimmer engaging their core to drive the hips.
How to Fix These Mistakes?
Our technical coaches will help spot, highlight and then correct your mistakes in your swimming lessons. They will work through progressive stroke drills that are specifically designed to iron out the problems in your stroke. Different drills are used for different problems. Breaking down the whole stroke into isolated movements allows you to focus on problem areas and correct them to a much better degree. Once you have mastered the necessary control of your drills, you can bet that you will be swimming freestyle much more efficiently in no time.
Regardless of your level of ability in the water, there is always room for improvement, so even the most talented swimmers can improve by continually tweaking and refining their swimming strokes.