Instinct is a tough thing to discover, and what you instinctively do with your hands can have a direct impact on your performance.
Why Do It:
Shifting your mental focus to feeling what your hands naturally do at the front of your stroke, can make you aware of the difference between sliding through the water, or creating resistance.
How to Do It:
There is really nothing magical or tricky about this. It’s about becoming aware of the pressure you place on your hand during extension. Many swimmers will naturally allow the hand to search during the reach in all the strokes, tilting or lifting or sweeping the hands in many directions, which can cause the arm to lead into the catch in a non-productive fashion.
During long sets, it’s important that the swimmer takes a moment, while swimming, to explore how to discover a slide, or flying of the hands during the extension, rather than a press.
Placing the hands in positions that create resistance can mean it takes longer to get into the catch. It can also place undue stress on the shoulders and joints. The stress can add up. If a swimmer trains 10,000 meters per day, taking 40 strokes per length, the hands will experience this feeling 8,000 times per day…five days per week. Do the math.
Discovering instinct is tough, but forcing your hands and arms into more productive positions is absolutely necessary. Use your mind to overcome physical tendencies that can slow you down. And THAT’S the fine point!