Wednesday, December 08, 2010

What Does Chocolate Cake Have to Do With Swimming Efficiently?

My swimmers are always accusing me of using food metaphors. Gee, I wonder why that is? In today's drill, I was having them focus on using the hand and arm efficiently to catch water, using the HVF (High Vertical Forearm) drill from GoSwim.Tv .

One reason that I like this drill is that it can be done slowly and allows you to isolate and concentrate on just this one aspect of your stroke. I've also used a variation on this drill to help people learn the breaststroke catch. When swimming breaststroke, a lot of swimmers use what I call a "keyhole" stroke: they bring both arms out to the sides, then curve back together and then push them down toward their thighs, making the shape of a keyhole. In reality, the breaststroke hands should catch and move outwards slightly and back, then "turn the corner" and come back together to push out into the glide. Your elbows should never travel back behind your shoulders. So this HVF freestyle drill can be done with a more breaststroke-like pull in order to remind swimmers to return their hands to the front without pushing back and down.

What does that have to do with chocolate cake you might ask? I call this drill "scraping the inside of the bowl", which would be a bowl filled with chocolate cake batter of course. You wouldn't want to leave the last bit of chocolate cake batter in the bowl, so you use your arm to go around the inside of the bowl and get it all out. At least, that's how I see it in my head, but I admit that visions of chocolate frequently percolate to the top of my thoughts so you can visualize anything you want in the bowl.

You can see what I mean if you watch this video:

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