Flaca's back at it for the last lessons of our project with Vasa! It's been hard to fit her lessons in between her races this summer, so Dan decided to keep the focus on her catch, pull, and recovery to finish everything out instead of adding something new to the mix. We always make sure to move through things one at a time with our clients, especially when re-learning movements they've been making for years. Trying to focus on too many pieces at once will overload your brain and prevent you from making progress as quickly as you could otherwise.
To start off Flaca hopped on our Vasa SwimErg to work on pulling all the way through to her hip in order to finish her stroke. A tendency that's very common among athletes who favor their leg strength over arm strength (definitely talking about myself here) is to take their arm out before they've completely finished their pull. In my case, this comes down to being lazy and tired, but for most people they don't even realize they're doing it. When you're in the water things feel much differently than they do on land, so you might think you're doing one thing when you're actually doing another.
You want to let your pull finish all the way to your hip before lifting your hand out of the water to start your recovery. Finishing to your hip allows you to get as much propulsion out of your pull as possible, as well as sets you up for a smooth transition from finish to recovery. If you take your arm out too early, as is Flaca's case, you're missing out on the propulsion you get from finishing your pull completely. This also makes swimming harder on your body, as you'll have to take more strokes in order to swim the same distance than you would if you finished your pull all the way to your hip.
After working through the pull Dan had Flaca move to the pool to work on rotation. It can be really easy to hear a coach say, "rotation is the key to swimming!" and think you need to rotate all the way to 90 degrees each time you take a stroke. DON'T DO THIS! Rotating too much causes you to fall off balance and forces your body to overcompensate, which throws off your alignment and takes you out of streamline position. The ideal rotation you want is around 45 degrees. This amount of rotation will help you to maintain your streamline, setup your catch, and maintain your balance in the water.
Finding this ideal amount of rotation isn't easy! A great drill Flaca worked on was our kick on your side progression, which starts with the simple movement of kicking with one arm at her side and the other out in front, face down in the water, rotating from side to side while taking one stroke at a time. Playing around with the amount of rotation in order to find the amount we're looking for is a great way for Flaca to feel herself lose balance when she rotates too much, as well as find her balance when she begins to rotate less.
Back on our Vasa SwimErg to finish everything out! Flaca's made great progress working on her catch, pull, and recovery during her time with us and is coming away with a much more efficient stroke. The work we do with our clients takes a lot of time and patience, as well as dedicated practice between lessons. Being able to use the SwimErg in conjunction with our in pool swim lessons has been a great way to speed up the progress Flaca's seeing and help her better learn the movements we're looking for.