This simple skill is quite possibly the MOST important skill in all of swimming. While I know we’ve covered this before, after spending the summer coaching young swimmers at swim camps, it can’t be stressed enough.
Why Do It:
For swimmers of all ages, the foundation of each length must be set up by carrying as much speed as possible from the pushoff into the breakout and into your first stroke.
How to Do It:
1. Learn what the hands are supposed to do. Place one hand on top of the other, and wrap the thumb of the top hand around the side of the bottom hand.
2. Squeeze your shoulders and arms tightly against your head. While there are many schools of thought about which is better: "on the ears" or "behind the ears"… for this drill, just keep your arms tight against the head.
3. Once you know what your hands and arms are supposed to do, get in the pool, drop down, and push off with your hands in this position.
4. Repeat…. forever.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
While there are actually many fine points that come after this, maybe it’s all just a bit too confusing to some swimmers to cover them all right now. Keeping this move as simple as possible, and making it a REQUIRED skill for all age-group and masters swimmers will immediately help the HUGE percentage of swimmers who skip this action so they can get to swimming more quickly. Wrong decision!
Note for Masters: When we get older, it gets a bit tougher to get the arms tight against the head. Do your best to focus on the hands, and try to draw the elbows closer to your head. Do your best, but don’t get frustrated if it’s not perfect. Just don’t push off like this guy!