8 Common Swim Stroke Mistakes You Can Fix With SwimMirror
How to Improve a Variety of Swim Strokes in Real-Time!
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
Just about every swimmer has heard this mantra from their coach at some point or another, but it’s good advice for a reason: it’s true. The more we get used to swimming with poor or inefficient technique, the harder it is to unlearn those habits. Throw in the fact that it can be difficult to assess your own technique in the pool, and it’s tricky to unlearn some of our sneaky technique mistakes!
That’s what makes SwimMirror such a helpful tool for competitive swimmers. It reflects your technique back at you in real-time, helping you assess your own swim stroke in the water. With consistent practice, you can banish those pesky mistakes once and for all.
Here’s a list of 8 common mistakes in your swim strokes that SwimMirror can help you catch.
1) Your Breaststroke Has Too Much Elbow Room
You might find yourself making this breaststroke error after the pullout and during the recovery of the hands: your elbows are too wide! This common mistake is easy to fix, but not the most pleasant to adjust for in the water. When you complete the pullout, picture a cross as your hands recover, reaching forward to touch the stomach and chest without moving your elbows at all. They should only begin moving when your hands are at your shoulders. Be sure your palms are facing down!
2) Your Backstroke Feels Lopsided
Backstroke tends to have its own brand of error due to the reversed sense of motion. It’s easy to veer off to the side and come a little too close to the lane barrier, throwing you off mid-stroke. Try to find a focal point above as you cruise through the water, and stick with that point until the turn. As you flip, you’ll be able to check your alignment, allowing for a more efficient and faster push-off!
3) Your Butterfly Looks Too Forward
Don’t we all like to know where we’re going? Unfortunately, in butterfly that instinct works against you. By looking forward, your hips stay way too low, leaving your body flat and stiff as you swim. This puts extra strain on your neck and limits your mobility. Start looking downwards—we promise you’ll feel a huge difference!
4) You’re Swimming Flat in Freestyle
When you’re swimming flat, your belly is always pointing down towards the bottom of the pool. That’s bad news for your arm strokes, because it stops your body from rotating with you. When that happens, your shoulders stiffen up under the pressure, which can lead to problems as serious as rotator cuff or tendonitis. Yikes! Fix this by rotating your shoulders and extending your hand all the way in front of you during the arm stroke, so that your body rolls onto your side. Keep your core tight so that your rotation is as smooth as possible.
5) Your Push-Off Isn’t On (Toe) Point
When you push off the wall, you’ll want to make sure your feet position isn’t too high. When that happens, that push-off will send your body downwards instead of forwards—woops! After the push from the wall, make sure your toes are pointed to keep your swimming streamlined. If it helps, practice curling your toes as if you’re trying to pick up a coin off the floor!
6) Your Butterfly Kicks are Too Big
Don’t rely on your kicks for the butterfly stroke! Your body, not your legs, should be your motor in butterfly. The style doesn’t lend itself to big kicks, which can exhaust you swiftly and keep your shoulders too low in the water, making it difficult to get your arms out on recovery. Do your body a favor and kick your kicks as small as you can, while still exaggerating your body roll. Focus on that propulsion and keep your arms at your sides!
7) You’re Pulling & Kicking Together in Breaststroke
Pulling and kicking shouldn’t happen at the same time in breaststroke, and for good reason: it makes you work much harder than you need to. If you separate your pull from the kick, each stroke will push you further, moving you much faster. Practice with the “pull-glide-kick-glide” technique. In a streamline, lie on your stomach, then perform one pull with your legs behind you. After you’re done with the arm stroke, return to a streamline, and perform the kick only after you take a moment to glide. Once you’ve kicked, hold the streamline and glide once more. Then rinse and repeat!
8) You’re Rushing Your Strokes
Speed is important, but so is making sure you finish the strokes you start! When you rush into the next stroke, your technique becomes sloppy—and more inefficient. Pretend your forearm is a giant paddle, and use it to push water backward as you move forward. Make sure those elbows stay high without crossing over as you drive your forearm through the water, all the while keeping those elbows rotating. Do this until your hands reach your hips, and at that point, move into “recovery.” When you finish what you start, you get more energy to begin the next stroke!
It’s impossible to list every possible mistake you can find in your swim technique, but with feedback from your coach and teammates, you’re bound to discover new ways to enhance your swim strokes. With SwimMirror, you don’t have to guess if you’re improving—you can assess those changes in real-time!
Ready to improve your swim stroke with SwimMirror? Find out how here!