Swimming: Hammer-Free Tools for Speed

If you hammer it on the bike or run, in general you'll go faster. But, the hammer sinks in the pool, unless it's propelled with top-notch technique.
Elite Training Bible coach Jim Vance spoke to 40 Madison, Wis.-area athletes and coaches on the 3 top technical aspects of swimming. Jessica Laufenberg hosted the clinic at her Verona studio SBR Coaching and Training Center. Jerry Landmark from Pinnacle Health & Fitness also helped organize and promote the session.
Throughout the session Coach Vance outlined three concepts from physics that impact our pool experiences. They include:
1- Length: We want to feel higher up on the water like we're moving on top of the water. Length gives us less drag, more lift and more speed, helping us maintain speed longer, says Vance.
2- Pressure: The goal of pressure is to gather water to displace yourself past, says Vance. The longer you are in the water, the more water you can hold.
3- Direction: You want to gather water and scoop it back to you, says Vance. The main direction of the force shouldn't be downward. Instead, gather and scoop the water back to you. Too many athletes swim deep, instead you want to be up on top of the water.
He encouraged athletes to slow down their strokerates and to nail their technique. A lot of you are driving a car with two flat tires, fix the tires first and then go fast, he said.
Coach Vance's favorite tools & techniques include:
- Swim snorkel: my hubby loves using the snorkel.
- Tennis balls: in place of the "fists" drill, swim with tennis balls in your hands. More in this active.com article.
- Swim golf: swim 50. Count the number of strokes it took + time and then try to lower that combined number by either swimming faster or with less strokes or both.
- The rollover drill (video below). I tried this exercise this week and loved it! Vance says you'll know if you have pressure and an anchor point or not because you'll feel yourself vault and semi-fly on top of the water when done correctly.

More with Coach Vance
Follow Coach Vance's blog at http://coachvance.blogspot.com/

photo credit: Photo by me. My son's toy hammer is cute and may actually float in water.


triblog carol said...

I totally agree with your point about hammering in the water does not work! I go the same speed, but I am burning tons more energy! I'll have to try the rollover drill, interesting!

Velma said...

Great tips - I am still working on letting go of the hammer in the water!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Ha! I call that rollover drill "LA COMBO" = Long Asics Combo...great video and I can not believe how clear that water is! :) Fun post, Sara!

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Thanks for reading guys!
I did the rollover again this morning in the pool. I waited until I had the lane to myself - I was worried I'd get a little crazy with that one!

Jennifer- The water is so clear. Makes me want to jump in!