This past weekend I had the opportunity to work with several athletes from the Greenville, NC area. Each of these athletes came from varying backgrounds and belong to one of the coolest tri groups around - The Tricredibles. I love their passion for the sport and especially Bruce and Angie Richter. This has been the third time I have been blessed to serve this group and the Richter's always treat me to great food and incredible hospitality.
I wanted to share five keep points I hammered home to each of these athletes during the two day clinic. There are certainly many other points I could share, but I thought this would be a good start!
(1) Do NOT rush your stroke. Avoid slipping back to your old ways by rushing to the next stroke. At first this will feel very mechanical like, but in time you will find it to be less so. (THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT NOTE TO REMEMBER) For one to get faster AND more efficient (in the water) one MUST slow down to feel the water first.
(2) Can you hear your kick? Is the kick contributing to your forward propulsion at all? It will my friends if you remember to listen for your kick. Think 'swim downhill' vs. 'up hill'
(3) The more you can relax in the water the better. We want to be as graceful and powerful as a Ballerina. No joke. The more effortless you can make it...the better. To this point, I spend more time swimming ULTRA easy then I do going SUPER INTENSE. Make feeling UBER relaxed in the water a primary goal.
(4) Use training tools often. Please throw the false mindset out the window that 'fins' and other training tools are cheating. You couldn't get and further from the truth. I swim 80% of the time with some kind of aid on board. In fact, I almost always swim with the Finis Freestyle Snorkel. Why? The best way to become a more efficient swimmer is to FEEL ideal body position and rotation. Its hard to argue against that one.
(5) Technique is more important then overall yardage and fitness. I once lived by the "I need to be able to swim 4000 yds continous" mindset. I have come to learn that doing 40 x 100 would be better then 4000 continuous. Why? Most athletes will default to poor mechanics within the first 100 yards and simply be hammering home POOR and inefficient mechanics. So, pounding out yards for yards sake is not a solid option for those who are seeking CONTINUED progress in the water.