Coaching Tips that Help you Visualize and Improve your Technique

We all learn differently.  Whether it is algebra, paying taxes, or swimming, we all grasp concepts in a different way. Therefore much like teachers, swim coaches need to educate their “students” in a variety of ways.

A coach may say to you during a workout, “Augment your angle of rotation so that you can lengthen your stroke cadence”. Now you may understand what he/she is trying to say, but for most of us the statement simply seems like a foreign language.

A better and more visual way to express the same thing would be to say “When you reach for an item on the top shelf do you stand flat footed and raise your arm up? No! You get on your tip toes, twist your body, stretch your shoulder, and find the couple of inches you need to grab the item. Now do the same thing in the water. Rotate your core and REACH on every stroke. Get that extra few inches every time!”

Do you get the concept now?
Here are some other “visual” cues that coaches use for their swimmers:

  • “Kick in a Bucket”
    Creates a nice tight flutter or dolphin kick that is in-line with the body. Larger amplitude kicks will produce unnecessary drag.
  • “Pretend there is a big barrel lying on its side in front of you in the water. It is resting about 6 inches below the water surface. As you approach the barrel, wrap your arm around that barrel and pull it under and past your body.”
    Reinforces a high-elbow catch and pull for the Freestyle stroke.
  • “A dolphin doesn’t just wag their tale up and down; they use their entire body to propel through the water. Start your dolphin kick at the chest and feel the undulation movement all the way down your body.”
    Helps swimmers kick from the chest and core during butterfly kick, rather than with the knees.
  • “Pretend your spine is rigid pole. Rotate your body around the pole as you swim Freestyle and Backstroke. Keep the head still, and if you need to breathe, rotate the head with the body.”
    Promotes a flat back and good rotation in Free and Back (snorkel recommended here). Also helps swimmers understand how their head should move when they breathe in Freestyle.

Now it’s your turn. Have you come across any other cool tips to pass on?