Archives for posts with tag: patience

Well done for your efforts on the Leap Year Swim last week.  It was a tough session and you all rose to the challenge.  This week we will slow it down and have a steadier session as I know many of you will be doing the Cambridge Half on Sunday.  So we will be doing some steadier paced aerobic swimming again giving you a bit more time to focus on your technique.

The thing I’d like you to focus on this week is patience and acceleration.  Patience is how I would like you to do the catch of each stroke.  Acceleration is what I would like you to use at the back half of each underwater pull to give you the maximum propulsion you can get from each stroke.  Watch the following video recently posted by Effortless Swimming to give you an idea of what a world class patience and acceleration during your stroke can give you.

Isn’t this a great video to watch?!  I love watching how smooth it is even though I know he is putting in a fair amount of effort to get the great distance per stroke he achieves from his patient catch and great acceleration at the back end.  Have a go this Saturday at adding a little bit more patience and acceleration into your stroke and see if you try and get a little bit closer to the sort of smoothness and speed you see here!


Well done for all your efforts last week trying out the new drills.  We are going to do the same drills again this week to give you another chance to practise your early vertical forearm and really feel the progression as you go through them.  The theme this week is patience.

The 4 drills we are doing again are as follows (see the video from last week if you want a reminder):

  • catch-kick
  • sideline kick with quarter stroke to catch
  • catch-catch-pull
  • catch-up

One of the great things about the progression through these drills, if you do them well, is that they really help you think about being patient with the catch.  This is because the first two of these drills generate no propulsion from the arm at all.  Catch-kick relies completely on the legs and sideline kick with quarter stroke to catch should not either – it is all about practising getting your arm into the catch position but not generating any propulsion.

The second two of these drills, though, start to add in power through the propulsion phase.  This should feel great as you go from the hard work of just relying on your legs to now get the benefit of your arms using your powerful core and back muscles.

This relaxed progression from no power at the catch smoothly through to the power generated later in the underwater pull is a great thing to aim for and one of the things that I see will help most people swim faster and more efficiently.  Rushing the underwater stroke – either from the catch or even later in the stroke – can feel like a good thing and fits well with the triathlon psyche of “work hard and put the power down to go fast”.  However, being impatient with the catch typically makes you swim slower and more inefficiently. It is important to be patient with the catch – putting no power to press downwards on the water – and only starting to build the power gradually when your forearm is vertical.  Your maximum hand speed should not be reached until the end of the underwater pull.  I like to think of it as squeezing yourself past a fix point in the water rather than a more impatient grab for the water and trying to throw it backwards.

Try to use the drills this week to be practise being patient with the catch and take this through into the main set of 75s and 125s.  I will put some more drills in the middle of the main set this week to give you chance to reset and think about it again for the final part of the main set.

See you Saturday!


It was really interesting to see people doing hip-connector drill last week.  The most common issue it highlighted was many of you rushing the catch of the stroke and trying to apply some power too soon in your stroke so being inefficient by pressing the water downwards rather than backwards.  Although the hip-connector drill is really designed to think about timing rotation with your catch it did show up a rushed catch for many of you, which I was pleased to see you corrected when I asked you to be a bit more patient.

This week we will be doing some Unco and reverse catch-up drills before the main set and I’d like you to think about being patient with the catch by counting 1-2-3 with each stroke.  1 is when your hand enters the water, 2 is taking your hand to the catch or early-vertical-forearm position and 3 is for the push.  Take a slight pause after 1, 2 and 3 to focus on the next phase.  Having a bit more patience, especially after 2, is a good way to make sure your forearm is completely vertical before starting the real power phase of the stroke with a push.

For the main set we will be doing our first set of USRPT 50s for 2018.  This is a great set of high-intensity interval training and I have written several times before about how to tackle this set (in this post for example.)  Every time we do this set I am amazed by the number of people who do this set without missing out any 50s.  You do get a good workout by doing this but it is not the way to get the most benefit from the set.  This set is all about swimming faster than is sustainable so your times will inevitably drop off and when they do you should miss out the next 50 to give you the additional recovery to swim faster again.  So if you are tempted to try and go all the way through without missing any out then please try and swim a bit faster!

See you Saturday,



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