My "phase 1" freestyle practice
The following is an example of my typical freestyle workout. I am attempting to work on phase one from Extraordinary Swimming for Every Body (pages 128-130). Critics are welcome and encouraged.
Note 1: I added a drill in here which I call “glide”. The idea for it came from breaststroke practice. All I do is swim wholestroke except that I pause in skate position until I lose momentum.
Note 2: For me, the backstroke switch balance drill, from the Backstroke for Everyone video (when you raise your arm without doing the switch) is the hardest of all TI drills. It really helps me balance in freestyle. (Or I drink pool water)
3x50 freestyle skate; 1x50 freestyle
3x50 backstroke switch balance; 1x50 freestyle
4x50 zenskate (alternating sides); 1x50 freestyle
Switch /w fist gloves
4x50 double underskate; 1x50 freestyle
4x50 triple underskate; 1x50 freestyle
4x50 double zipperswitch; 1x50 freestyle
4x50 triple zipper switch; 1x50 freestyle
2x50 freestyle /w fist gloves (18 stroke limit)
2x50 freestyle /wo fist gloves (16 stroke limit)
2x50 freestyle (15 stroke limit)
Balance: 500 drill, 150 whole stroke
Switch: 1100 drill, 200 whole stroke
Stroke counting: 200 drill, 300 whole stroke
Total: 1800 drill, 650 whole stroke
I like your workout for the following reasons:
1. You start with balance.
2. you use short distances.
3. You add in small amounts of whole stroke.
What I don't see in your post is focal points. I suggest you bring 2-3 focal points to the pool on each day and spend 5 minutes on one before moving to another. Then cycle through the same focal points as your session continues. I would also suggest using the same 2-3 for a while (a couple weeks). Then, after you have the basics down, go back and spend the time to really nail each one. That will take months on each one.
The mistake I made in the beginning is that I changed focal points too often and I am - realizing that I am only now (4ish years later) developing a consistent stroke. For example, I noticed that I have two slightly different balance positions: one has the hip about 1 inch higher than the other. It doesn't sound like much, but that inch higher gives me one less stroke per length and a slightly higher tempo. At the moment it requires a little added effort in core stability, but that is minor compared the added efficiency it offers. This double position happened, I believe, because I changed focal points too often in the early days. I spent a few weeks exploring all the focal points I remembered from my workshop and those I saw here. And while all the ideas (well, most - we all go down a few blind alleys no and again) were great ideas, I couldn't imprint all of them in a year. I realized I am only 37, and on my way to setting world records in the 105+ age group,(according to USMS Swimmer, no records have been recorded for that age yet) I have plenty of time to really imprint each focal point.
Oh My Gosh!
At 73 ( soon to be 74 for masters purposes) attempts at records are a long way away. If I can live to be 90 and manage not to slow down I may have a chance.
There's always the personal record, of course, and up till now they have fallen at a satisfactory rate. I heard a clubmate muse wistfully after a race recently
"The older I get, the faster I used to be"
He's only a lad of 49 as well.
I was actually curious if doing 50s was generally considered too much (in the books 25s are usually recommended). I really like doing turns and pushing off the walls (I like the starting speed boost), but doing so, I find, has two disadvantages: less distance to work on technique and turns takes away some of my focus. I want to swim competitively though, so I want turning to be something that just happens naturally.
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