5 Steps To Improve Your Freestyle
Ever wondered how to lose those extra seconds in freestyle? I am going to give you tips on how you can improve your freestyle stroke.
#1 Your Kick
Now this is pretty simple but this is the most important step for me since I am a puller not a kicker. Do not bend your legs and point your toes out so it is almost a straight line between your waist and the tips of your toes. Also do not do huge slow kicks; instead make fast small kicks. Always kick as hard as you can. Not only in races but also in practice. This helps develop your legs so you can kick stronger. A good workout to practice your kicking at home is to lie down with your body straight. Lift your legs off of the ground and kick as if you were in the water. Do not let your legs touch the ground. This workout develops your abs which are very important in swimming.
#2 Your Pull
Your pull is the foundation of your entire freestyle stroke. What I see that is very common amongst younger swimmers is that they do not complete their pull and they try to do it fast. It does not make you go faster by pulling fast. What does make you faster is how much water you pull so it is important that you keep your fingers together tightly and complete your stroke. Do not pull your arm out of the water until your arm until you straighten it out and pull as much water as possible. Like in the picture below the swimmer has her arm straight , that is when you remove your arm from the water and begin your next pull.
Breathing can either make or break your freestyle. In shorter distances it is important you do not breathe every 3 strokes. Do not even make a pattern for yourself just keep swimming until you absolutely need to take a breath, take one quickly, then go straight back into your swimming. What a lot of people don’t know about breathing is that there is a small air bubble right when you come for a breath so you don’t have to take your head completely out of the water to take a breath which slows you down majorly. As you see in the picture below the swimmer’s mouth is partially still in the water because there is an air bubble there. This helps you breathe nearly twice as fast and will really help with your speed.
#4 Head Up
Believe it or not your head causes a lot of drag in the water. That is why to glide through the water swiftly you must lift your head up so your forehead is half out of the water and you are not looking at the ground. Doing this not only makes you speed through the water faster but is also easier to see the wall.
#5 Your Finish
Your finish decides whether you win or lose your race. That is why it is very important you learn how to finish correctly. What I used to do was when I was going to finish I dipped a little down with my arm. You don’t know how much that slows you down. Once I stopped doing that I took off more than a second off of my 50m freestyle time. To finish correctly you reach out with one of your arms while tilting your body slightly to the side so you can reach even farther forward. Remember to never grab the wall because this also slows you down a lot. Also remember not to stop kicking until your hand touches the wall.
I hope this guide has helped you improve your freestyle and achieve your goal but remember this is general. To further improve your freestyle ask your coach what you can improve because everyone’s swimming is unique and I cannot tell you how else to improve unless I see you swimming.