Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.
In the never-ending quest to get their swimmers fitter, coaches tend to use every minute of the practice to get more meters or yards into the workout. Rarely, do they ever stop and take a step back to really analyze what their swimmers are doing. In fact, in the sea of arms and legs moving across a pool in a daily workout, seldom will a coach pinpoint any details of any individual swimmer’s stroke. It is hard to see the forest through the trees.
Since it takes place in a medium some 800 times denser than air, swimming could arguably claim to be the most technique-sensitive sport out there. With compelling drag forces that come into play at relative low speeds, the water has no mercy for swimmers when it comes to making positional mistakes. Yet coaches will watch their swimmers for hours going up and down the pool, making the same mistakes over and over again.
While one could argue about the relative importance that should be given to fitness vs. technique, the fact is, most swimming coaches don’t give technique much consideration at all. They should. Great swimmers have great technique and those that aren’t so great, usually don’t.
Drills are the single best way to improve technique. Here are three good reasons why coaches should give up some of the swimmer’s precious fitness time and devote more of it to doing drills.
Drills Isolate the problem
Drills help correct the problem
Drills help keep the problem corrected
Although, it has to be said, not all swimming drills are good for you.
Yours in Swimming,
-Gary Hall Sr.
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