Climbing the Wall

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climberSo, in the last few weeks, I have been using an analogy with all of my Total Immersion clients that seems to work well.

The background: Once we get past basic balance drills like Superman Glide, Laser Lead Flutter, skating position, and some of the initial two-beat kick drills (see my other post on two-beat kick), we begin doing a couple of different types of switches (spear switches…formerly under switches, and swing switches…formerly over switches). At this point, I begin to talk more about “anchoring” your lead hand and having the proper “catch” since they are now going to be pulling the lead arm during the switch. Far too often, swimmers think about “pulling water back” rather than thinking about anchoring the lead hand and spearing past it. If you have done much swimming with Total Immersion focal points, you know that swimming well has a lot do with how you think about the movements. Terry calls it “mindful” swimming. If your mind is thinking that you are “pulling the water back” toward you, your swimming will be different than if your mind is thinking about spearing past an anchored lead hand.

The problem that I have noticed is that when I talk about this particular concept to most of my swimmers in the manner that I just did above, they look at me with a distinct “you just lost me” kind of look. So, I started using the analogy of rock climbing. When you climb a rock wall, you find an anchor point above your “lead hand” and then you move past that point. At no time does the rock wall move down toward your initial point…your body moves forward past the point on the wall. Think about your swimming this way and see what it does for you. Keep your palm facing back with a relaxed wrist on your lead hand and “anchor” it in the water at full extension, then spear past that anchor point with your next stroke.

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