This is our fifth year of Swim For a Mile, each year we run monthly technique clinics during January, February and March. Over the years we have noticed a few common mistakes when it comes to technique.
To help you get a head start on the 2019 Challenge, here are the top four areas that you can focus on improving!
1. Crossing the “centre line”:
The centre line, being an imaginary line that runs down the centre of your body, from your nose to your toes! We want to stay outside of this line to ensure that we are pushing backwards, to move forwards, rather than pushing across your body and moving side to side (known as snaking) as a result.
Your hand should enter in line with your shoulder out in front. Sometimes it is best to over-exaggerate the wideness of this entry. think 10am and 2pm on a clock face for example, you may think it feels too wide, but the chances are, you are still entering and 11am and 1pm! *You can also use hand paddles to train this, as when you cross your centre line with hand paddles it is a lot more obvious and you will be aware of the error.
2. Lifting the head too high when breathing
This causes the hips and legs to sink and makes moving forward a lot harder, with the added water resistance from your lower body. Focus on the 1 goggle rule! If you can see the roof of the swimming pool, then you are lifting your head too high. Aim to keep one goggle in the water while you sneak your breath.
*Snorkel’s can be useful when trying to stay low in the water and is a good way to train yourself into this habit, however don’t rely on your snorkel too much, otherwise you can’t challenge your bad habits!
3. Incorrect Rotation:
This can be too little or too much rotation when swimming Freestyle. You should rotate your body – shoulders and hips as one, around 45 degrees to either side, this allows just enough rotation for an efficient and effective arm cycle, as well as enough space to take your breath without disrupting your rhythm.
If you rotate too much, you will lose the rhythm and momentum of your stroke. This mistake often leads to other mistakes like crossing the centre line and lifting your head high when breathing.
4. Kicking from knees:
When performing Freestyle leg kick, people often focus on using the power of their knees. However, this causes extra drag, as when you bend your knee at a right angle it causes a lot of drag inside this angle.
Focus on kicking from the hips and bum, keeping your legs relatively straight with a soft fix on your knee, keeping the movement of the knee at a minimum. Knees and ankles should remain close together during the freestyle kick and the kicks should be short and rapid rather than long and slow.