How many strokes does it take you to swim across the pool? Have you ever counted? Do you take more strokes when you are fatigued? What about when you speed up or slow down?
If you’re taking too many strokes, you’re not going to be as efficient as you could be with better technique. If you’re taking too few, you might not have the speed you could have if you increased your tempo. Remember, swimming is all about going as fast as possible with the least amount of effort possible. Most people take more strokes when they are fatigued because their muscles are too tired to finish their strokes all the way. I find that when I’m tired is the best time for me to think about my stroke length.
You do not have to count every stroke you take, but it never hurts to count a lap here or there.
Here are three freestyle drills to help you lengthen your stroke:
- Finishing Drill. Finishing Drill is a really fun drill that helps you focus on an exaggerated finish. To do this drill, try to splash water at the ceiling every time your hand exits the water. To do the drill correctly, you will have no choice but to finish at your hips. If you try to exit the water early, you won’t be able to splash water up.
- DPS (distance per stroke). DPS is exactly what it sounds like. You should try to cover as much distance as possible with each arm cycle. Count your strokes on each 25 or 50. To make it a game, try to take one less stroke each lap.
- 3/8/3. To do 3/8/3 drill, swim three full stroke cycles and then do 8 kicks on your side. The side kicking encourages you to rotate completely, which extends your reach. Both your hips and shoulders will rotate. When you’re on your side, one arm will be fully extended (not “crossing over” your midline) and the other should be dry. Try to keep that nice rotation during the regular stroke cycles in between each kick cycle. To mix it up, reduce the number of kicks between each full stroke cycle: 3/6/3, 3/4/3, etc.
Right now, it takes me about 14 strokes to get across the pool at a relaxed pace. I take more when I’m sprinting. If you’re looking for a game to play that will help you find the balance of length and speed, try GOLF.
What drills do you use to help lengthen your stroke? There are many more!!!