All Strokes - Practical Application
Drills... will they fix the problems with your strokes? Yes and no.
As we finish up this year and look forward to the next, I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page with the things that we try to achieve. A drill in and of itself is nothing more than an act that separates and breaks down incredibly complex movements into a more easily understood action. This is done so that you can physically and mentally identify an action that you'd like to take place while you're swimming... without thinking about it.
If you do a drill, then get back into your swimming and don't think about applying that specific action into your swimming, then the drill is simply time wasted on a lower level of conditioning. While a certain level of conditioning will take place during drilling (like, more conditioning than sitting on your couch), you won't get as much fitness out of drilling as you will out of swimming hard. However, swimming hard will very often get you in an instinctive state of swimming, which for land-based animals... isn't ideal either.
The best combination of drilling and training is accomplished when athletes focus on what a drill is trying to teach them, and then maintain that focus while they're training. If the act of "practical application" is practiced on a daily basis, then you'll have a better chance of combining drilling and swimming in a more productive way.
With as much time as many of you spend in the water, the lack of practical application can ultimately lead to an incredibly fit athlete... well... who really can't swim THAT fast. On the other hand, too much time spent drilling can lead to a very pretty swimmer, who... well... can't swim fast at all.
I know you've all heard it before, but the most important muscle to work while training is... the mind. Work your mind not just your body while you train. Think about how you connect with the water, how you rotate, how you turn your head to breathe. In the last 8 years, we've posted more than 300 drills on this site and on YouTube. If you pick one at a time, you'll start to understand how detail oriented this sport is. If you've been swimming up to this point without focusing on those details, and applying them during practice... just imagine how much better you're going to be in the next year while adding a technique element to your training.
Your potential hasn't been reached. Take the opportunity to do just a little bit more than what's asked of you, and become great.
Happy holidays, everyone.