#3: Video Analysis Is a Good Thing
When I heard that Javier would be doing video stroke analysis, I pictured lots of highly technical video equipment for the pool and a machine similar to a polygraph for analysis. I was surprised when all he pulled out was a point-and-shoot camera, waterproof of course.
Anyone can use a point and shoot. Buy one or borrow one. Either way, it's amazing what you can learn by watching yourself swim, especially when you can see it in slow motion.
Some of the common mistakes from our swimming clinic were:
- Cross-over of the arms: When your hands literally cross over the middle line and enter the water on top of each other.
- Late breathing: Each breath should be taken as the hand (opposite to the side you are breathing on) first enters the water.
- Pushing against the water at the front end of the stroke.
- Counterproductive kicks.
Once you know what you need to work on, watch the pros and find out how to do it right. Search for Michael Phelps or Shinji Takeuchi on YouTube and watch a few of their videos in slow motion. It's educational...and humbling.
#4: Coaches and Clinics Are Valuable Tools
You had coaches in youth sports, high school, even in college; why shouldn't you have a coach for your adult sports, too?
Think about how many drills, tips, and training methods were handed to you in scholastic sports. Self-coached athletes will typically hit a wall with their training. Coaches can help take you to the next level.
Not convinced? Here are five more reasons to hire a coach (or take a clinic):
- They do the thinking and research for you so you can just practice.
- They are great cheerleaders.
- They help hold you accountable.
- They can assess what you're doing wrong and help you fix it.
- They have all the best secrets.
Michelle Valenti is the triathlon and swimming editor at Active.com.
Jan Javier is a Total Immersion swim coach in San Diego. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.