Solid foundations are what the best structures are built on, and we usually start EVERY teaching session, or clinic, watching to see what foundation our students have. We’ve used this drill for so long that we can’t believe we’ve never used it as a Drill of the Week. Sometimes we tend to overlook the MOST obvious.
Balanced Push-Off incorporates some of the most basic, yet important aspects of your swimming: a great streamline from fingertips to toes, a solid body (as solid as you can get depending on your age), and the ability to control your "inner" body to maintain a steady and face-down position.
Why Do It:
The ability to push off in a streamlined, tight, and level position and to hold it until your entire body comes to the surface will allow you to start EVERY lap at top speed, with little or no wasted movement. It also gives you a greater chance of initiating your swim farther out, and faster.
How To Do It:
1. At the wall, drop down under water and get yourself into a streamline BEFORE you leave the wall. Too many people push off at the surface… GET UNDER!
2. Remember to lock your hands and POINT your toes. Stay as TIGHT as possible through this entire drill.
3. Push off as straight as possible. Think STRAIGHT…not down.
4. As William Wallace says in Braveheart: HOLD…. HOLD… HOLD. Don’t be impatient.
5. The goal is to have your entire body — hands, head, torso, legs, and feet — break the surface ALL at the same time. Try not to spear up, but to rise as a unit, parallel to the surface.
6. DO NOT break that streamline until your body has come to a complete stop. The biggest challenges will come at the end, and this is where you can learn the most.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Be aware of the little things you do with your hands and feet to help you out. Try not to use them as guidance mechanisms, but keep them tight. These tiny movements could scrub off even the smallest amount of speed, and any scrub is a bad scrub.
Don’t go too deep. Unless your body is like a CORK, you’ll NOT pop up in a good position, but rather spear up. While you may feel you’ve gotten FARTHER by going deeper, remember: We’re talking about learning SPEED here, and it’s VERY difficult to go faster by going farther.
Mark the spot that you made it to, and try again. Set personal records for yourself, and INCH your way past them as often as you can. Sometimes the most important lessons come from the simplest drills.