I’ll be you do. And that’s why you’re here reading this article today. You want to fix those bad swimming mistakes. We both know that they are secretly sapping your swimming speed, so why not put in a bit of elbow grease and get them fixed!
Bad Swimming Mistakes
Most people are making some sort of critical mistake when they swim. More often than not, this has to do with the person’s body position. They are doing something to throw their body off of its centred axis.
Their feet are dangling in the water or perhaps they are bringing their arm across their head-to-toe line and it’s causing them to be off balance.
Making swimming mistakes that affect your body positioning will have the biggest impact on your stroke, because that is the foundation for all of our other skills. You simply cannot have a good kick or arm technique if the body position is not good.
If you’ve been following me for a while, this isn’t anything new to you. One of my cornerstone articles I wrote for you guys on this site is my guide to learning how to swim. So, I won’t re-lecture you on how important body position is.
Instead, I’m going to simply point out what three things I think you MIGHT be doing that really are, plain and simple… some of the most god-awful, heart-wrenching, terrible… bad swimming mistakes.
Lifting Your Head To Breath
Don’t misunderstand me. You need to breath yes.
But what you don’t need to do is to lift your head and ear so high above the water, that your feet begin to sink.
Most people have a problem with they swim.
They aren’t getting enough oxygen.
Naturally, they compensate and they lift their head really high, up, out of the water so that their mouth is no where near the surface of the water so that there’s no way they’ll accidentally take a little sip of water.
While I don’t necessarily disagree that it sucks accidentally taking in a mouthful of water, you absolutely MUST not lift your head up in this fashion. It is the # 1, bad swimming mistake in my mind.
This lifting of the ear and head throws your stroke off so much. Not only does it quite often cause you to de-lengthen out… It takes you out of the horizontal body position that’s keeping you buoyant and fast.
Head up, feet down. Clear cut.
Your feet WILL sink a noticeable amount when you lift your head and this is a crucial mistake that you need to fix.
Doing so will greatly impact the speed of your swimming.
Splashing With Your Kick
Swimmers who make huge splashes with their kick. They look so cool and so fast don’t they?
I don’t think so.
What I really see, when I see a swimmer making massive splashes with their kick… is wasted energy.
If you are propelling gallons of water across the pool with every splash you make in the water, you aren’t doing yourself any favours.
Your kick is only doing work for you while your foot is in contact with the water. That’s it. Kicking, and understanding what makes kicking effective, doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that.
Check in on your kick and make sure that your kick is only causing little splashes or even flutters upon the water surface.
If not, you’ll have identified a huge drain on your propulsion that you can near, immediately fix for a quick burst of speed!
Recovery With Your Pec
Bear with me while I explain what it is that I’m actually talking about.
Proper arm recovery during front crawl is done with your TRICEPS and all of the other tiny muscles at the BACK of your shoulders, including the additional ones on your back. You should have a high ELBOW RECOVERY, in instructor speak.
Can you guess what I’ll say next…
Yes! Most people AREN’T recovering their arm this way.
Instead, people turn their body to the side slightly and they use their pec muscle to yank their arm back overhead. This is a huge pet-peeve of mine and, you guessed it, one of the very bad swimming mistakes.
The problems with using the front of your chest to recover your arm instead of your back and shoulder muscles is two-fold.
One, it makes your body significantly tense, because it takes a lot of strength to successfully recover your arm in this fashion and maintain buoyancy. The swimmer that is making this mistake usually reports feelings of difficulty swimming, and it makes good sense, because they are working harder than they need to.
Two, arm recovery using the pec/ chest is a problem because it requires you to bring your chest up out of the water a bit, instead of simply engaging the backs of your shoulder to elegantly bring it back up out of the water.
What happens when your chest comes up out of the water?
You don’t need me to tell you 😉
Hope these tips help and we’ll see you next week!