Effective tips for improving swimming performance06/01/2021 | Written by Nikos Kaskaras in Fitness & Nutrition Tips
Improvement in life does not come by itself. No matter what is the field of interest (work, social relations, personal life etc.) there has to be willingness and passion for getting better. Swimming is no exception to the rule. Are there any useful tips for improving your swimming performance? Of course, they are.
Focus on your body technique
A great number of people who take swim classes, very often seem to be impatient. They wish to learn fast and focus on fast learning. Maybe it's a consequence of the spirit of the age: Fast results in all aspects of life is becoming the current narrative. Then again, it all depends on what your motivations are. If you wish to just learn the essential survival skills, then you will probably manage that in a short period. But if you wish to improve your swimming skills, then you have to focus on your body technique. The technique is vital in all sports and distinguishes elite from mediocre athletes. The main aspects of the fundamental swim technique methods are the following:
- The right use of arms and legs
- Harmonic body movement
- Breath control
Let's take a closer look at each of these.
Balance: It mainly has to do with the position of your body in water. It needs to be as horizontally as possible so that water is not becoming a disruptive force but an accelerating factor. Furthermore, taking the right position will save you a lot of energy. Even the slightest loss of balance results in the need to kick harder your legs for adjusting the imbalance, thus decreasing both speed and stamina.
The right use of arms and legs: Every swim technique requires a different use of arms and legs. For example, while in freestyle there is a forward push of arms and legs, in backstroke the whole body is in a different position and different body muscles are in use. Being good at one style is not a path to success for mastering another style.
Harmonic body movement: This is a further expansion of the previous assumption and implies the sense of rhythmic body movement in the water. There is a certain sequence that leads to optimal results. For achieving excellence you need to manage the right propulsion. For managing the right propulsion you must be disciplined in the execution of your movement.
Coordination: Even the strongest, tallest or most resilient individual would not excel in swimming if he/she lacks coordination. This is a core principle of body technique and one that can make a real difference in competitive games. Body flexibility as well as assimilating the essential sequence are critical factors of success.
Breath control: Control of breath is an extremely useful method not just for improving swimming performances but also for enhancing health. Not only does it affect the oxygen circulation within our bodies, but it is also a stamina fortifier. No surprise that it stands among the most demanding training activities.
Diet and sleep habits affect swimming performance
The human body is like a machine. Every part of it plays a specific role that contributes to its overall performance. Effective body care is the foundation stone upon which all progress is based. In all cases though, two preconditions stand above all: Proper diet and healthy sleep habits. These are virtually the pillars of health as a whole. In this blog, we have thoroughly analysed the correlation between swimming and sleeping as well as the proper swimmer's diet. Visualising the human body as a machine, food is its gas and sleep functions as the charger. When asking how diet and sleep habits affect swimming performance, the answer is definite: They affect it enormously. That's why top swimmers pay extreme attention to those two factors. Unhealthy sleeping patterns and diet habits will most definitely stick to your swim development, if not worsen it. The bottom line for all swimmers of the world: Sleep well, eat healthily and get ready for the extra mile.
Go the extra mile
This brings us to another tip that could make a real difference: The will to go the extra mile. The desire to reach your limits or even surpass them. The “hunger” to perform at the top level. Such attributes are mainly innate. Ian Thorpe, who was labelled by his former head coach Don Talbot as “the greatest swimmer the world has seen”, went continuously the extra mile. Otherwise, he would not win his first race at the age of seven despite his allergy to chlorine nor would he become the youngest-ever individual male World Champion at the age of 14. When speaking bout such passion for overcoming all problems and never stop training and believing, the truth is simple enough: Either you have it or you don't. At the same time, though, there's another equally true notion: Although, it's only a tiny fraction of the population that would reach the Olympic winning stardom, work ethics and mental toughness can be projected as behaviour models from our family, social and work circle. Very often, even at a subconscious level, individuals tend to imitate the attitudes of the people around them. It's a different story to hang around with positive doers than negative talkers.
Pick carefully your swim instructor
Within an increasingly hectic lifestyle, the comparison of options is a strong advantage that we all have. The will to improve our swimming performances implies a strong prerequisite: Choosing carefully our swim instructors. It may not be the easiest thing to do, since there are so many of them, but the truth is that after a while people with real abilities receive the recognition they deserve. Time is a great indicator of the progress that can be made and there cannot be any fooling for a long time. Setting certain criteria when choosing the swim instructor is essential for multiplying the chances of making a good choice. It's not just the level of expertise that matters a lot, but also several other factors that could make a real difference and rock your swimming performance: The ability to transform knowledge, the level of empathy and the adaptation to different needs and challenges are certainly among those factors. If you wish the best, you should choose the best. Because, after all, you deserve the best.