Let me start this off by saying no, we did NOT put a kayak in one of our SwimBox locations, so I hope no one is reading this just to see what I’m sure would be a hilarious video of a kayak swimming through the current of one of our pools. Sorry to disappoint, but I just can’t make that happen for you. I love humor and stupid videos, but I love not hurting my precious pools more. My apologies to comedy. So what is this post about then now that at least 4 people have exited their browser window? Anchor points in freestyle. And how do we work on finding those anchor points? Kayak Drill!
The goal of Kayak Drill is to focus on creating two anchor points in the water at the same time. In other words, having one paddle in the back and one paddle in the front. We started out with the creation of this drill to help swimmers get better and more efficient at sprint freestyle, then soon realized it was also a great way to fine tune the timing and path your arms travel during the propulsive phase of your stroke for distance and sprint freestyle as well. What paddle am I talking about? The one you create from your fingertips to your elbow that you use to push back against the water during your catch, power phase, and through to your finish. This paddle is crazy important, as it’s the main source of your propulsion driving you forward through the water.
Start by taking a stretch band or light resistance band and hold it in each of your thumbs. Do NOT hold it with your fists! If you hold the band with your fists you’ll be talking your hand out of the equation when it comes to your paddle. Once you’re holding the band in each thumb you’re ready to start swimming freestyle. The goal is to have the band stay taut at all time as you’re swimming. Make sure it doesn’t touch your body!
As you continue to swim with the band in each thumb you’ll need to make sure you’re keeping your movements continuous. If there’s ever a dead spot in your stroke - aka a portion where your arms aren’t moving - this drill will point it out. Turns out you have a dead spot? You’ll feel the band slacken as you hold that position and lose your momentum. Don’t worry if you feel this! All it means is that you need to make sure you feel where it’s happening and work towards turning it into a continuous movement. Most people pause an arm when they take a breathe. Do you?
Take a look at the image above to see what we mean when we refer to your anchor points. An anchor point is something you make with your hand - an important piece of your paddle - that helps propel you through the water. Making sure you maintain your paddle throughout your entire propulsive phase - catch, power phase, finish - is key to maintaining your efficiency, as well as keeping up your velocity.
Make sure you watch our video before trying out this drill for yourself! You’ll get to see it in motion and get a better understanding of what we’re looking for in terms of your anchor points and continuous motion.