The Sea Witches have been going back to basics in the pool with our coach Barry!
Last night was our third lesson of five and we are really loving them. Barry is helping us break down our stroke into the component parts, improve those parts and then put the stroke back together again. I can't speak for everyone, but I know I feel like I start the session fighting the water and struggling, but by the end I am gliding and much more at one with the water. If only I could start every session and practice how I end a lesson with Barry! One day perhaps :)
I am often asked why I would need a swimming lesson when I swim all the time. The thing is, even once you know technically how to swim a stroke, there are so many small things that can make a big difference, and that is what we are learning. We can all swim of course - all of us were at Bude Sea Pool in early October doing our miles to help them raise funds. Some of us did the Bournemouth Pier to Pier last July or the Brownsea Island swim and we all swim at least a couple of times each week.
However, it is amazing how much there can still be to learn. Barry had us practicing our kicking last night, then our rotation as we change arms and finally the way your arm should bend from the elbow to grab as much water as possible to pull you through and move you forward faster. Some of the drills feel difficult or weird and can be tricky to get the hang of, but when you start to put them all back together - after the bit where you totally forget how to swim - it all makes sense and the stroke is smoother and easier.
We are all at different levels of fitness, and I am definitely one of the ones who has more of a mountain to climb with that side of things, but what is great about the lessons is it's not about fitness. We do a warm up first so that does involve getting that heart going, but all the drills are possible for everyone and so we are all learning the valuable technique that will help us, ultimately, to get faster in the sea - and that's what it all comes down to at the end of the day. Though I'm sure all the things we learn now will stay with us for life.
The other reason for lessons and improving technique is to avoid injury. If we use our stroke more efficiently, the theory is, we shouldn't have any problems. When you do any task repetitively there is a risk of injury, and many swimmers have problems with their shoulders in particular. Good training and technique is essential as is knowing how to warm up and stretch correctly. Good posture in general is important for everyone, so when you are asking your body to work harder, it's even more important to get it right.
The Sea Witches are looking forward to our next two lessons with Barry and to putting all those points we learn into practice each week too. We always end a session smiling more than at the start - I'd wholeheartedly recommend lessons to anyone who is unsure of their stroke, or feels they aren't making progress with their swimming. Lessons aren't just for kids :)
- Stitch Witch