Most swimmers are aware of WHAT they should be doing to go faster. The trouble is, there’s a HUGE difference between knowing…and DOING. If all we had to do was KNOW…then DO, coaches wouldn’t have to say the same things over and over again, and there’d be no reason for DVDs or drills or articles or anything fun like this website. If your excuse for not DOING is that you’re lazy, we’ve put together a series that will at least make you a FAST lazy swimmer. Here’s Tip #2 in this 10-part program.
Don’t Overreach on Backstroke!
You’ve probably heard your coach say it a hundred times: Don’t overreach on backstroke — it makes you wiggle down the pool. OK. If it makes so much sense, and if the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, why do so many swimmers continue to overreach and wiggle down the pool? It’s actually pretty easy to figure out. They’re working too hard! If they would just be LAZIER, they might go STRAIGHTER.
Most swimmers have an instinctual desire to pull as much water as possible. They search for the HARDEST way to move their arm through the water, thinking the entire time that, "if it feels hard, it must be good." Because of this, many young swimmers reach WAY over their head to initiate the pull in backstroke. They contort their bodies, and reach behind their heads, thinking that this will help them pull a lot of water. The trouble is, reaching way over the head like this creates a weak angle to begin the pull. It may feel right because it feels HARD to do, but this is one case where less is more.
Overreaching tends to push you to the side rather than move you forward. It also flattens you out and makes it tougher to get good rotation.
Solution…enter your hand directly above your shoulder.
Simple to type and say, tough to do. If you’ve been overreaching for a while, giving up that initial part of your stroke will feel like you’re not doing anything at all. It’s going to feel really awkward at first, like you’re chopping at the water, but have a friend watch to see how far out your hand is actually landing in the water. Chances are, your perception won’t match what your friend is telling you.
When you first try this, imagine that you’re going to touch the lane line upon entry on EVERY stroke. This will land the hand farther out to the side, and you’re on your way.
Placing your hands directly above your shoulders has the following advantages:
1. Greater rotation
2. Easier and quicker point of entry
3. Gets your hand to a productive pull sooner
4. Keeps you going straighter down the pool
5. Allows you to enter the water with more POWER, making for a deeper catch
6. Looks much cooler than all the curvy stuff
Entering your hand directly above your shoulder makes it easier to swim, and makes you more efficient. Don’t waste energy by pulling more and in an unproductive way just because you want to work harder. Be lazy and make sure your movements make sense. Sheesh… come on already.