Before we jump into today’s topic, I wanted to take a second to address my last post about the importance of sleep. I had a lot of feedback about different kinds of sleep, amounts of sleep for people of different ages, how the modern day has changed the way we think about sleep, etc. Everyone had great points. I always encourage feedback and love to hear from you guys. It’s great to get to learn from each other and start a conversation about these topics. If there’s anything you want to hear about please let me know! I’d love to talk about something you’re interested in rather than just ramble on about how much I like donuts and pizza.
Okay, onto today’s topic: how practicing strokes other than freestyle is a GOOD idea. Just because you swim freestyle for all of your races doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself during your training. Nor should you.
Most strokes have similar attributes to one another. Freestyle pull and butterfly pull? They’re the same.
Freestyle recovery and backstroke catch? Super alike.
Not only does practicing different strokes help prevent your brain from melting of boredom, it allows you to find proper technique that you might be having trouble with otherwise.
It took me 3 years to get my lats to fire properly during my freestyle pull. And I figured out the feeling I was looking for by working on my butterfly pull. This might seem counter-intuitive when you first think about it. But it’s a great way to progress more quickly than you might if you just keep trying the same thing over and over again.
At SwimBox, we have a lot of our lessons on land to have our clients understand the feeling they’re looking for during certain movements in the water. This same principle is applied to the idea of practicing different strokes.
When I was struggling to understand the proper movement I needed to make and the feeling that came with it for my freestyle pull it was incredibly frustrating. Like I said, it took me 3 years. Some moments weren’t my best (especially when it’s my husband coaching me, we’re the meanest to the ones we love the most, right?).
So I tried getting the movement and the feeling during butterfly. That is when the light bulb went off.
I’m not saying this is quick fix, or that it will work for everyone. But there is a huge benefit to working on all four strokes instead of just one. Not only does it help with your body awareness and technique, it is great to work on these strokes for better all around muscle development and training.
You’ll be a better all around athlete and become more attuned to how certain movements feel. It’s almost like cross training, except with the same sport.
And if you’re sitting there reading this and thinking, “I don’t know how to swim any of the other strokes…” then this is the perfect excuse to learn! You’ll be thanking me – or swearing at me, both are acceptable – in no time.
Tri Swim Coach