Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Value of Drills

We were at the Annual Northern California Swim Coaches Clinic this weekend. It is always a treat to spend time with colleagues away from the pool, especially in a learning environment. It seems like many coaches spend so much time honing their craft everyday, on the deck working with kids in the pool that they don't have much chance to listen to peers, interact, ask questions, that type of thing. So when they get an opportunity such as at a clinic to have the luxury of time to absorb news ideas, or fresh ideas about a subject with which they are familiar it is very exciting.

In this space a couple of weeks ago we talked about kicking, its value and how to incorporate more of it into your practice time. It was clear this weekend that everyone clearly understands the need for leg power.

When the subject of drills came up an interesting comment that nearly slipped through the cracks came from Dave Marsh. Coach Marsh is an individual with exceptional results over a long period of time with many different swimmers. He clearly is what we refer to as an advanced thinker when it comes to the approach to faster swimming.

He said he was more in favor of a swimmer really knowing and being excellent at 4 drills than simply having an awareness of a dozen or more. We only swim 4 strokes, not a dozen so why not get really competent at 4 he reasoned. It sure made us think. Each of our swimmers has one or two specific issues with their primary and secondary stroke. Perhaps we need to have a drill portion of our workout and each swimmer do the one that fits the bill for their improvement. We think that is what we will work on beginning Monday!

So, what can you do as a coach or swimmer to help yourself get better and therefore faster, more efficient? While you work on that one, we will again make the pitch for every swimmer having a snorkel. Go to any swim shop, online or otherwise and purchase one. It is the single most important piece of equipment after suit, cap, goggles that a swimmer can own. You can swim freestyle, breastroke and butterfly with it. Your body position will improve, your balance in the water will improve, your body's ability to process oxygen will improve...the list goes on.

There are many sources of drills for the various strokes, including There may even be some ideas for new users with the packaging of the snorkel. Be prepared for a week or so of getting used to it, especially doing turns. Bottom line is this - very shortly, as in a number of days - you will notice a marked difference in the way you move through the water. We urge you to give it a try. If we sold them we would offer a money back guarantee; that's how sure we are about them!

Let us know how it goes for you and if we can help, ask away!

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