Swim practice is always a great place to actually… practice… techniques that you’ll be using in races.
Why Do It:
Typically, people miss opportunities to fine tune the small aspects of swimming just by being instinctual, and going through the motions. Focusing on how you come off the walls when you turn, during your pushoffs, can make your turns better.
How to Do It:
1. Think about how you come off the walls when you turn on all strokes.
2. Typically, the head will be looking back at the wall, or will be tucked between the arms.
3. On a turn, you shouldn’t ever be facing forward.
4. Have one hand on the wall, feet placed about where they would rotate to during a standard turn.
5. When it’s time to leave, release the hand holding the wall, and drop down into streamline.
6. Push off, and rotate to your dolphin kick, or underwater breakout angle.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
When filming swimmers during practice, I notice that backstrokers typically practice the most correct technique in regard to pushoffs because they’re leaving in the most accurate position. Swimmers doing other strokes generally leave the wall flat, which you’d never do. When you think about the other strokes, leaving the wall on your side helps you to understand how to initiate your dolphin, or how to get to flat on breaststroke.
Failure to practice this on a regular basis just means you’re missing an opportunity to get a bit sharper.