Technique classes for enthusiasts and triathlonists

The swimming technique classes will concentrate on the particular styles handstrokes and kicks, also turns can be practiced.

Freestyle

General

The freestyle class consists of the details of the legs, turns of the hips and making the legs kick in a rhythm with the hand strokes. The details of the handstrokes are addressed, swinging of the body during swimming is taken into concideration. Breathing is made to match the higher need for oxygen when swimming faster and longer distances. First we will see that the kicks are smooth, after that the handstroke details and after that the breathing.

Kicking

When kicking, its important to get the feet relaxed under the ankles. Think about the ancles as fins. They will only rotate when quadriceps contract. You must not activate anything under your kneecap intentionally. When kicking on your stomach, the heels must not brake the surface. When kicking on back, kneecaps must not brake the surface. Sit in the pool and try  kicking. The more bupple the better.

Handstroke

Important in the handstroke is to calmly push the hand in to the water, grasping the water so that the elbow is pulled towards your hip and then do the handstroke with a high elbow, with your wrists and palms stiff. Fingers should be nearly straight. The most common mistake is to do the stroke with an limb wrist, which looses all the power of the stroke. Often the stroke is also pressed right away down after the hand reaches the water. This makes your upper body to lift up and slow your speed down.

Breathing

To make the breathing succesfull, its necessary for the body to turn evenly around the longtitude axis. The head is always kept completely under the surface and only the nose and mouth will come up to the surface for breathing. The neck must be completely relaxed. The breathing must be done in a rhythm of lungs FULL in the surface, lungs EMPTY under the surface. Always blow the air out either all from mouth or mouth and nose. Never only nose. If you keep blowing the leftover air over the surface, you will not be able to get full load of new air and you will run out of oxygen. The breathing should be done from both sides from the beginning. This way the technique will be balanced.

 

Breaststroke

Breststroke is a common style used both freetime swimmers and competitioners. Often the head is kept too up. This presses the legs and butt too much downwards, making the technique heavy and ineffective. The neck also gets stiff. This technique should be learned from the beginning so that when gliding, the head is kept in between the arms under the surface, always deeper than legs, like in freestyle. Most challenging is often the kick. Many people do a so called ”mules kick” that does not create any thrust. Often times we can also see a so called scissor kick, where the ankle that is supposed to be fully bent, is actually left ope. This will cut through the water like a blade. Again no thrust is created. A good kick by itself is enough to make you easily swim across the pool.

A breastroke done the right way will be done as follows:

Breathing

Breathing is done from the front, only lifting your head up as little as possible.

Handstroke

The right kind of handstroke is done right under the chest, hands as close to the chest as possible and it makes a heart like pattern. The arms are opened straight holding the palms upwards.

The kick

Practising the breaststroke begins with the kicks.  A board is a helpful tool. You can also practice the kicks by holding your hands against the side of the pool. The better the  techniqu,  the better thrust you can feel in your palms. The most common mistake i to let your ankles loose too early and kickin straight backwards, like a mule. You have to think your legs not as frog thigs but instead of pliers where at the beginning of the kick, the knees are closer to each other than ankles.  A movement forming a half a circle begins from the legs and squeezes the bent ankles together. At the last third of the movement they will open straight and snap together with the instep. The kick is very powerfull if done correctly. It can be used in the elementary backpaddle and in the powerfull english backstroke.

The gliding

The gliding is done by letting your neck loose, putting your head in between your arms, looking straight towards the bottom. Its important that right after the kick, the hip is let fully open. The smallest twist of hip will ruin the whole technique.

Backstroke

Swimming the backstroke, the body has to be lined with the surface(as always with any swimming). Now the attention  must be paid to letting your neck loose to the back. Bent your neck back until your ears are under water, face upwards towards the sky or pool ceiling. This way you will get your legs and hip on the surface in a streamlined position.

The kick

The ankles have to be complety relaxed, just like in freestyle. The kick is like the freestyle kick but is directed more to the side because of more powerfull turns of the body and handstrokes. The kick begins with activating your hip to gain more strenght. The movement has to be similarly sharp like in freestyle, straightening  legs fully by the end of the kick. If the knees rise over the surface, the kick will ”hammer” like in freestyle heels braking the surface.

The handstroke

In this technique, the handstroke is powerfull, producing over 90% of thrust. To be optimal, the body has to turn fully over its longitudial axis, just like in freestyle. Pressing the hand too hard or hitting it in the surface will ruin the technique by twisting the body upwards. This happens easily with trying to avoid getting water into nose and eyes. Returning the hand from the stroke is done relaxed, in the shoulderline little finger touching water first. When doing the hand stroke, the palm will sink without force into 40-50cm depth and the body will turn to the side of that hand. The cordination of the hands will follow the so called mills wing principle. This means that the hands will always stay in an opposite position. If the right hand is doing the stroke, the left one is already coming  back from the previous.

Breathing

In this style the face is freely over the surface, only the hands can throw water over the face. The breething should be done in a rhythm where the breath is taken when the other hand is making the stroke and blown out when the other one is making the stroke. Breathing done only through mouth.

Butterfly

The butterfly has thought to be a difficult and heavy technique. The hard part is not the handstroke or kick itself, but the coordination of kicks, handstroke and breathing. Like in freestyle wrong sort of breathing will ruin the whole swimming. It may be difficult to get the kicks and hand stroke in right rhythm in the beginnnig. Its common that the head will rise too much upwards because of the arms are not thrown straight far enough. This causes lack of speed and will stop the swim right away.

The kick

The kick is a dolphin kick that should be done using the whole body force, like in freestyle. Towards one handstroke, you should  do two kicks. First kick is done, when the hands are coming back to the surface from the prevous stroke. The next one is done at the same time with the new hand stroke.  Swim fins may be of help in the beginning.

The handstroke

The most critical phase of the handstroke is the hand comig to touch the surface. If the hands are slammed forcefully and pressed straight downwards, the body rises too much upwards and ruins the swimming. The hands should be wide in the beginnning and get closer to each other in the end.  The hands need to move to the side, outside of the shoulderline to fully grasp the water. Its essintial that wrists and palms are kept stiff, elbow high and that the stroke is done backwards, not downwards. Hands should move to the end, touching the thigs.

The breathing

The breathing is done basically same way than its done in breastroke, but has to be done faster pace. Not getting enough air will soon end the swimming.After the breathing, the head must be pressed down under the surface faster than hands, otherweise  the head is left too up and the legs will sink and the speed is lost.

The english backstroke

The english backstroke is a very powerfull technique, if its been trained well. This uses the breastroke kicks and the hands are returned straight over the surface, back of the head. This is wher the stroke starts from taking the hands wrists and palms stiff(like a paddle, open palm towards back), arms slightly bent towards the thigs till the end. This is very powerfull if the kicks are done right. Its possible to keep the head submerged, so that the face will only come to surface to take a breath. This technique requires practice, the direction may change if the other hand is more powerfull.

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