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Which Freestyle Drills Should YOU Use?

Today we’re going to learn how to maximize your progress, and minimize the time and effort you waste working on the wrong skills with the wrong exercises.


That outcome is a result from knowing what YOU should be working on first.


Being a beginner is the best of times and the worst of times.


The best part is that you can get really exciting breakthroughs that make you believe that anything is possible.


The worst part is that you get a lot of reminders about how little you know and how far you need to go.


Those are the days when you might feel like giving up.


Because I know how being a beginner is equally frustrating and exhilarating, I love helping people avoid those days and learn to have as many breakthroughs as possible!


Another challenge is that there is often a lot you need to improve, yet it’s difficult to know where you should place your focus.


And trying to do EVERYTHING is a recipe for disaster.


Last time I talked about the best exercises for beginners.


Hopefully, that provided you with a great starting point for making progress.


And even if you’re not a ‘beginner’, those exercises are awesome for improving your skills.


Yet, while it’s great to know which exercises are going to be most impactful, it can be tough to know which exercises to focus on.


You’re probably thinking to yourself, which exercises should I focus on?


Which will help ME improve the most?


Today, I’m going to show you how to figure out which skills are most important for you to work, so you can accomplish your goals without wasting time and energy.


Before we get into the specific symptoms and the specific causes, I would recommend that everyone spend 1-2 minutes in their warm-up and warm-down working on their floating skills.


This is especially true if you consider yourself a beginner.


They are THAT important and they are helpful for everyone, regardless of how skilled you are.


With that being said, let’s get into it!


Swimming Is Exhausting


Is swimming completely exhausting?


Does it feel like all of your endurance disappears once you get in the water?


If so, there’s one problem that you need to work on first- body position.


Poor body position makes EVERYTHING more difficult.


Moving through the water with low hips and legs takes a lot of energy.


To make matters worse, most will typically kick hard to prevent the legs from sinking.


That takes even more energy.


For both reasons, it’s going to feel like you’re sprinting at full effort all the time.


No wonder it seems like you have no endurance.

If you don’t take the time and effort to improve your body position, everything else is going to be a lot harder to improve.


The Ball Float and the Ball Float to X Float are going to be your best friends.

They show you how to use your lungs to support yourself in the water, which allows you to relax.


They also show you how to use your lungs to change your position in the water by pressing DOWN with the chest and pulling UP with the back of the body.


This makes a HUGE difference in terms of the position you create.


More importantly, it affects how much energy it takes to move through the water.


That means a lot more endurance and a much more enjoyable swimming experience!


How do you know if you’ve made some progress?


If you’re swimming is easier, you’ve definitely made progress.


If you find yourself able to swim continuously for longer periods of time, you’ve definitely made progress.


If swimming is exhausting, improvement is less about speed, although that tends to improve as well.

Instead, it’s more about the reduced subjective sensation of effort and being able to swim longer.


Those two outcomes are only possible with better body position and learning how to relax in the water.


While it may not feel like right now, endurance is available to everyone provided you work on the right skills.


If you want details, check out an article I wrote HERE.


I Wiggle Through The Water


You’ve probably seen someone wiggling their way through the water.


It might even be you:)!


The best way to find out if you’re wiggling is to just ask someone.


You don’t have to ask an expert as it’s something that anyone can observe, even if they’ve never swum before!


If you don’t have that option, pay attention to these movements.


First, pay attention to whether your head is moving around a lot.


If it is, you’re probably wiggling.


Second, pay attention to whether your legs have a mind of their own.


If they do, you’re almost certainly wiggling.


What to do about it?


Wiggling is almost always a rotation problem.


(For more, check out this article I wrote for 220 Triathlon.)


You’re not rotating enough which is causing problems with your arm recoveries, which is swinging your arms side to side.


Those swinging arms are moving your shoulders side to side, which moves your hips side to side which moves the legs side to side.


All of that causes a LOT of drag, slowing you down and making your life a lot harder than it needs to be.


So, what do you do?


You need to learn to rotate within the rhythm of your stroke and make direct arm actions.


What’s the easiest way to make that happen?


Underwater recovery!

Because the arm actions are much simpler, you can really focus on reaching STRAIGHT forward and pulling STRAIGHT back.


Better yet, doing so tends to force you to rotate at the right time, exactly what you want.


A lot of other rotation exercises allow you to rotate more, but they’re completely unrelated to actual freestyle.


This exercise helps you rotate within the timing and feel of actual freestyle.


It just makes it easier to do so.

Perform a couple repetitions, then you go back to regular freestyle with the intention of rotating while making direct arm actions.


Rinse and repeat!


That’s the key to getting rid of the dreaded wiggle.


My Breathing Is Not Awesome


For many, breathing is a BIG problem.


To start, I want to differentiate between problems with running out of air and problems with breathing technique.


It’s NOT the same.


If you’re constantly out of breath, it’s probably a body position issue as described above.


Fix that first!


You won’t be able to improve your breathing technique if you can’t get your breathing under control.


How would you know if you have a breathing technique problem?


Try this.

Put a paddle on your head and start swimming.


If you can’t keep it on your head after a little practice, you have a breathing problem.


That means you’re picking your head up, to the side, or both.


While it may seem impossible, you should be able to keep the paddle on your head.


What if you can’t?


You can start performing the same exercise, I call it Paddle Cap Freestyle, to get better at your breathing.


If you can make progress with that, great.


Keep doing it.


However, if your breathing needs a fair amount of work, Paddle Cap Freestyle might be a step too far.


Instead, work on Stroke and Roll with the intention of ROLLING to the breath as opposed to lifting the head and pulling to the side.

Alternate between the exercise and freestyle swimming, working on rolling through the exercise and keeping the breath small while swimming.


Once you make some progress here, THEN go back and see if you can have more success with Paddle Cap Freestyle.


If you can, you’ve made some big progress with your breathing.


Swimming Is Easy, But I Am SLOW


If you can swim forever without using too much energy, that probably means you’ve got decent body position, your breathing is solid, and you’re not wiggling too much.


These issues all tend to make swimming a lot harder.


They waste a lot of energy, so if you can sustain your swimming pretty well, your biggest problem probably resides elsewhere.


Where might that be?


Your pull.


The pull is the engine.


If you have the best body position in the world, but no engine, you’re not going to create much speed.


You need a motor to get moving!


Most mistakes with the pull come down to failing to get into the right position and failing to pull straight back.


As I mentioned last time, the Wall Pull is your best bet for getting started with improving your pull.

It helps you get into the key positions, and it helps learn what to do once you’re in those positions.


Best of all is that you can’t mess it up!


You just get into the right position and go from there.


Perform it in between repetitions of freestyle swimming or pull-focused exercises to get your pull on track.


Re-create the key sensations and positions as you go, and your pull is going to get better.


What if EVERYTHING is a problem???


What should you do if all of these issues resonate with you, and you’re not sure where to get to work first.


Start with the basics.


Lock in your body position and work on not getting exhausted too quickly.


If you’re able to make progress in this area, it sets the stage for improving everywhere else, and it makes the process a LOT easier.


Need help?


Want to KNOW exactly what you should work on and how to do so?


Take advantage of my world-class expertise with Fix Your Freestyle FAST.


I’ll show you exactly what skill you need to work on to improve, and exactly how to so.


Get started right HERE.


Keep it simple…


Andrew

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