The Endurance Store Swim Club provides you with simple swim training plans throughout the winter months. The plan runs October to October and is completely free. We only ask that you pre-register so that your training plans can be emailed directly.
Registration is free and you may unsubscribe at any time from the Swim Club and stop receiving updates. Overview of the swim plan be seen below, but before you start you need to complete a test to set your swim paces, then register and download the sessions. GO HERE to register for swim club.
How many times have you heard the term 'feel for the water' without a full explanation of what the term means? Those 'sculling' drills that you do in the pool, they are to develop 'feel' for the water... just in case you weren't sure!
What is feel?
Let's start with the basics. When you put your hand into the water, you need to catch and then pull. The catch is the part of the stroke where you take hold of the water and you then pull your body forwards. It's really important to understand that when you swim, your aim is not to pull your hand back through the water, but to keep it still and pull your body forwards over your hand.
What are you going on about?
Ok, imagine you're lying down on a ladder. You reach out and grab hold of a rung on the ladder and then pull your body forwards so you slide along the ladder. Repeat that with the other arm and continue to slide on your belly along the ladder until you reach the end. Your hand doesn't move backwards when you pull, it's holding onto the rung on the ladder, it's your body that moves forwards. Swimming should work in a similar manner.
But I'm in water... not on a ladder
That's very true and very observant of you. You are in water and when you reach out, grab hold of the water and pull, the water will move / slip, so your hand doesn't have a firm anchor point (ladder rung) to attach to.
Can you feel it?
To complete a successful catch (anchoring your hand in the water) you need to be able to feel the water. Are you getting hold of it and pulling your body forwards or is your hand slipping backwards? Do you know what the difference feels like?
Feel the pressure
Here's the first thing to consider, when you put your hand into the water, can you feel the water pressure against your palm. As you catch and then pull, can you feel the weight of the water on your hand? Does it actually feel as though you are pushing back against the water to propel your body forwards?
The reality is that there's so much other stuff to think about, you probably never actually stop to consider whether you can feel the pressure or not. Consider this: If you can't feel the pressure against your hand, you're not pulling yourself forwards effectively.
Your take away tips
During your next swim, focus your attention on your hands. What does the pressure of the water feel like on your palm. Reach into the water and 'catch' hold, then pull on the water, maintaining pressure and push right through to your hip. You aim is to grab hold of the water as your hand enters and keep hold of it (feel the pressure against your palm) right through to the point where your hand exits the water.
By focusing on water pressure against your palm, you will develop a feel for the water and know whether you have hold of it, or whether you're simply slipping.
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