Backstroke is the one stroke I see novice swimmers always get excited for. Sure, I remember a time when that was true for me as well. Think about it, you don't need to think about breathing or some of the other magnitude of components that go into a fast Freestyle, Butterfly, or Breaststroke. You get to lay on your back, relax and just go. Of course, this is never actually the case. There are so many variables that make up a great Backstroke and we're going to cover one component of that today.
No matter what your skill level is in the pool, there is always room to improve your strength. I'm not talking about massive amounts of weight lifting or bulking up. I'm talking about improving your core strength. When we swim, we are constantly engaging our cores into every movement. Many novice and intermediate swimmers have trouble with this concept initially. They think that if they move their arms and legs are fast as they can or as big as they can that will get them from the start to finish in record time. As we've discussed in the past, this is never the case. Our limbs are just extensions to our true power generator -- the core.
When you think about swimming, you probably don't associate it with much in the way of technology. Some sports have relied heavily on the developments of Silicon Valley as a way to improve their sports, but swimming has just continued to glide on by. The changes to the sport over the past hundred years have been around technique, nutrition and the swimsuit. Never has it been about the technology coaches or athletes use behind the scenes. Swimming also never gets a lot of press time in the papers or online. At least not until the Olympics rolls around.
It's taper time again.
Those words bring delight and smiles to any swimmer's ears. After a long hard season, tapering is like the big gift at the end. It's that moment of relaxation both physically and mentally for most swimmers. It's a time when your daily yardage gradually decreases before you head into a big swim meet. You should note though that it's not all about yardage. It's about the mental recovery as well.
I was introduced recently to a new drill for helping to improve your catch and hand position in Freestyle. It doesn't really have a name so I'm calling it the "dip and reset" drill. The idea behind this drill is that it works on your hand entry into the water. It helps you maintain a high elbow throughout your entry.
Swimming is a fantastic sport for people who suffer from injuries like knee pain and back problems. It's one of the few sports that don't require significant strain on your various muscle groups or joints. It's one you can do well into your golden years. But what do you do when swimming caused your injury? Some swimmers believe they need to stop swimming due to injuries, but this isn't true. Even with shoulder problems or issues with legs, ankles or back, you can modify your workouts to fit. This will benefit you in the long run because you will stay fit, continue to have good feel of the water and actually help reduce your recovery time.