In nearly every sport, rotation is how you generate power. Tennis, golf, baseball, soccer — you name it — rotating the core of the body helps to pull the targeted limb faster, with more power, through the assigned task.
If you use a karate punch to break through a board, you reel your body back, rotating your shoulder and hand as far back as you can, while planting your feet solidly on the ground for leverage. It’s only after you’ve developed the proper tension, taken a deep breath, and focused on the target that you begin to rotate the hips. And it’s only after the rotation begins that the shoulder and arm pull forward and you THROW the hand THROUGH the target.
It would be really HARD to throw a karate punch or swing a baseball bat or without rotating the body. It’s really HARD to swim without rotating the body. So why do so many young swimmers choose to work so hard by lying FLAT on the water when swimming freestyle? This is HARD work, so hard, in fact, that lying flat on the water for freestyle means that you’re going to a) have to take more strokes because you can’t reach full extension, and b) plow your shoulders through the water, creating more resistance.
One reason is that many young swimmers think fast swimming is all about taking FASTER strokes.
Swimming flat allows you to have a really fast stroke rate. But a really fast stroke rate doesn’t always equate to really fast swimming. It’s sometimes better to be LAZY.
If you really want to be lazy, and develop the easiest, most efficient stroke possible…ROTATE.
Getting closer to your side on each stroke of freestyle is going to allow your hand to reach further in front of you, creating a longer stroke. It’s going to give your body a more knifelike position, allowing you to slice through the water. It’s also going to connect your arms and body together in a more complete unit.
When you’re complete rotated and extended, there’s a MUCH better chance that your body will be rotating toward the other side DURING the beginning of the pull. Rather than the arms doing ALL the work, the body can then help the arms to be pulled back.
Developing greater rotation on freestyle is one of the laziest things you can do to make you faster and to make this sport easier. Just remember, too much of a good thing isn’t so good. Don’t rotate all the way to your side, because it’s just gonna take too long to get to the next stroke…then you’ll be lazy and SLOW, and nobody wants that!