Pushing Against the Water
At the front end of your stroke, are your fingers pointed up or down? In an effort to reach full extension on the front end of the stroke, swimmers often flex their hands to the point where their palms are facing forward. This creates a wall that, pushes against, rather than slices through, the water.
Fix it Drill: Relax your wrists. Let the fingers hang limply throughout the entire stroke. Watch your fingers and palms to make sure they don't point upward.
Do you try to compensate for sinking hips or poor upper body form with a stronger kick? The harder you kick, the easier it will be to stay afloat and the faster you'll go, right? Wrong. When you kick to compensate for poor form, you waste energy lifting your lower half up, rather than propelling yourself forward.
Also, if you have a really aggressive kick, you might be creating more swim drag than propulsion. Total Immersion swim coach Jan Javier compares it to swinging your arms when walking. Your arms naturally swing opposite from your legs, which helps maintain stability and momentum. In the water, you want to capture that natural, opposing flow.
Fix it Drill: Incorporate a few laps using swim fins into each workout. Swim fins exaggerate the kick and force you to slow it down and make each kick purposeful. They also help you get a better feel for how your legs and feet should move through the water.
Be sure to kick from the hips all the way through your toes, and kick up as well as down.
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