Archives for the month of: November, 2015

This week we will be doing time trials to start the series of time trials we will do this Winter on the last Saturday of every second month (end Nov, end Jan and end March).  As it’s the first time trial of the Winter, and because we have done no race pace swims in preparation, I would like you all to forget about your time and focus on technique.  Hence, we will be doing a long warm-up with some of our recent Unco drills as part of the warm-up in preparation to help you think about your technique.  And the one thing I would like you to think about during the time trial, if you are game enough to come along this week and give it a shot, is getting and holding a good high-elbow catch all the way through the 400.  If you want to think about anything more than just keeping the high-elbow catch then please think about:

  • Keeping relaxed with easy-speed during the first half of the time trial so you can focus on putting your best technique and effort in during the 3rd 100, when typically most of us drop off the pace
  • Aiming the negative split the 400m, i.e. swimming the second 200m faster than the first 200m
  • Keeping as relaxed as possible during the time trial, aiming to feel fresh enough to keep your technique and also put the most effort in the second half

I will be asking those not swimming to take stroke counts during the time trials so we can calculate your distance per stroke and stroke rates.

Remember, this first 400m time trial of the Winter is all about setting a baseline to build from so don’t worry about your time and do think about swimming in the most efficient and relaxed way, with the best possible technique, throughout the whole time trial.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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I’ve seen and heard about much improved high-elbow pulls over the last few weeks as I’ve challenged you to learn some new drills.  I’ve also been pleased to hear that many of you do feel the difference in your swimming after having practised the drills, which is great to hear.  So the next challenge is to turn these temporary improvements in your underwater pull into more permanent improvements and the best way of doing this is practise.  So please work on your high-elbow catch all session this week, during the warm-up, drill set and especially during the latter half of the main set.  The more you practice this the more permanent the improvements will be!

This week we will be repeating the reverse doggy paddle and hand re-entry drills from last week so please read my previous posts on these if you want a reminder.  We will also be doing some quick catch drill which is a natural progression from these drills to help you think keeping the high elbow catch as you move more quickly through the water.  And for a bit of competitive fun to work on the keeping hold of the water we will also be finishing the session with some 25m pull-back sprints which you can see here.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We’ll be continuing the theme from last week of working on the catch and underwater pull with some more practice of the drills from last week and a new drill to work on hand entry.  One thing I would like everyone to do, though, is take your time on the drills.  Drills are very hard to do correctly if you are tired or out of breath and many of the drills we are doing at the moment are best done with as little breathing as possible.  To do this you will need to be fully recovered and only do short swims – hence the fact that we are doing 25m at a time.  There is a rest after each 25 so please do take it, or longer if necessary.  This will give you the best chance to swim the drill well and get the most benefit.  You will have plenty of chance to work hard during the main set!

We will be doing the sideline kicking with quarter catch and reverse doggy paddle drill as we did last week so please read my previous post, and watch my video, if you are unsure of how to do this.  One thing I did notice many of you doing last week on these drills was sweeping your arm across your body during the underwater pull.  Please try and avoid this and concentrate on pulling in a straight line from the high-elbow catch right through to the end of each stroke.

The new drill we are adding this week is the hand re-entry drill where we you get chance to practice your hand entry into the water.  The way you swim it is as follows:

  • This drill is a variant of normal catch-up front crawl
  • The change from normal catch-up front crawl is that after you bring your recovery arm over and place your hand in the water you should pull your hand back out of the water again and repeat the hand entry for a second time before doing a normal underwater pull
  • You do the same with the other arm and repeat for the whole length
  • When doing this you should focus on sliding your hand into the water alongside the wrist of your extended arm, with your palms facing downwards the whole time and keeping a high elbow
  • Slide your hand forwards and down and keep your elbows high before starting the normal catch and pull
  • Remember not to rush the catch – don’t put the power on until your arm is vertical and your hand is below your head!

If this sounds confusing then you can watch this short video of me explaining it here.

See you Saturday!

Rob

October was the month working on body position and now we’re in to November we’ll be focusing on the arm stroke and especially the high-elbow catch.  On the last Saturday of November we will also start our Winter time trials where we set a baseline for measuring any changes in technique and fitness that you make over the Winter.

This week I’d like everyone to think about the start of the pull with a high-elbow catch so we will be doing some new drills to help you work on this.  The drills will go as follows:

  • Sideline kicking
    • Look down and slightly forward so you can see your hand and elbow
    • Make sure the elbow of your lead arm is above your hand all the time
    • This should be quite hard and you will need to flex your shoulder quite a lot to achieve it!
  • Sideline kicking with quarter pull
    • Same as sideline kick but doing the first quarter of the pull with your lead arm
    • Recover the pulling arm underwater, as you would for puppy paddle or doggy paddle drill
    • Swim it slowly without pressing hard – you are not generating propulsion just practising keeping your elbow above your hand and getting ready to catch
  • Reverse doggy paddle
    • Like normal doggy paddle but starting and finishing each stroke with both arms at your sides (like reverse catch-up)
    • Let your shoulders rotate as you would on normal front crawl and breathe to the side
    • Focus on keeping your elbow nice and high at the start and throughout the pull
  • Full stroke
    • Keep the high-elbow catch you have just been practising
    • Do the catch slowly – don’t start pressing hard until your forearm is pointing to the bottom of the pool so you only push the water backwards

 There’s a video also here of me explaining these new drills if you need it.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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