Transition From Drills To Whole Stroke

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    Admin Mediterra

    Transition From Drills To Whole Stroke

    If you are new to swimming, new to to freestyle, or making big changes to your freestyle stroke, you may appreciate the fact that you can use drills to strip down and simplify the body position and movements to work on small parts of it more easily. Drills are an important part of this transformation process.

    However, eventually you want to swim with whole strokes at more functional movement speed. It is good to be patient in working with drills, yet one can be too extreme about it. At some point, probably sooner than you think, you need to start practicing with whole strokes, even if just for a few while holding your breath.

    In the first lesson we worked mostly on shaping the body and building internal skills, without actually moving in a way that may be regarded as ‘swimming’. Though perhaps not so exciting, these internal skills are critical to making the movement skills come easier and making them more effective. The next lessons will depend on these internal skills.

    If you are patient in the early stages, you may spend a good portion of your time in the pool using drills and just a few careful strokes to etch these new skills and patterns into your neuromuscular circuits. This short, careful work will build up the very specific fitness your neuromuscular system and joints need in order to handle more energetic swimming with good form. Eventually, you will be able to speed up the movements and run stronger signals through those circuits under the (positive) stress of aerobic swimming without causing the circuit to trip and revert back to old patterns.

    But, you must eventually work on speeding up the movements and testing them with stronger signals, through more intense swimming. This is the way you will build neural and muscular strength and make swimming more enjoyable, more durable, and longer lasting.

    Consider which extreme you might tend toward and work on striking a better balance:

    • Spending too much time in drills where it is easier, and not attempting more whole stroke, or
    • Moving too quickly into whole stroke, more energetic swimming and not slowing down enough to really control the body in a new way.

    Discuss this with your coach to receive some guidance on how you can honor your tendency while also practicing in ways that you are not inclined to, yet will challenge your brain and body in a more beneficial way.


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