Swimming vs. GolfWritten by Kevin Koskella
Recently, I have taken up golf, and I can’t help but notice similarities between learning golf and learning swimming. Both are finesse sports that require large amounts of concentration and practice to get right, and it is unnecessary (and ill-advised) to gain great amounts of strength to make major improvements in either sport. Let’s look at some specific ways golf is like swimming:
1.It Starts with Head Position. In golf, you must keep your head still and look straight at ball while you swing in order to make contact. In swimming, you must keep your head still and look straight down at bottom of pool while you rotate in order to get most out of your stroke.
2.Concentration is Key. The moment you start thinking about more than one thing when you are about to hit ball is moment that something goes wrong. If I get 2 tips on my golf swing and I think about both of them next time I tee up, I tend to have an underwhelming result! The same goes for doing swimming drills. As a coach, if I give a swimmer several things to think about, inevitably, nothing will go right. The idea is to concentrate on one aspect, practice it, master it, and move on.
Why Count Strokes When Swimming Freestyle?Written by Kevin Koskella
You may have had coaches that make you count strokes throughout workout, either by mixing it into drill sets, main set, or at end of workout. Some coaches recommend making a habit of always keeping track of your stroke count. As a coach of distance swimmers and triathletes, I believe stroke counting is a necessary part of most swimming workouts.
If you stick with it and do it on a consistent basis, stroke counting in swimming is an excellent way to increase your DPS (Distance Per Stroke). The world’s best swimmers are faster than you because they travel further with each stroke, not because they are moving their arms faster. Keeping track of number of strokes you take per length will allow you to begin to lengthen out your stroke, as well as add more speed and distance while keeping your heart rate down and allowing you to save your energy for later in swim or race.
The goal should be to bring down your average stroke count per length. Great swimmers like Alexander Popov or Ian Thorpe may be able to scoot through water at record speed while taking 30 strokes per length (50 meters), but this low stroke count does not have to be your golden number for improving your stroke. First, determine what your range is. Try to swim most of time at low end of your range or below your lowest stroke count. Don’t worry about speed at first- you can influence this later, perhaps as you begin to learn what your “ideal” stroke count is. Here is an example of a set that can help lengthen your stroke, as well as build endurance: