Friday, December 4, 2015

Curing The Overglider!

The idea that you can become a more efficient swimmer by trying to glide when you swim is a common misconception among both swimmers and coaches alike.

In the fourth part of our series looking at the six classic types of swimmer, we examine what happens to swimmers when they introduce a deliberate pause-and-glide into their timing to try and make their stroke as long as possible. We call them Overgliders:

Swim Type Profile 4: The Overglider

The Overglider is normally male and is nearly always a self-taught adult swimmer. After reading popular books about swimming and watching clips on Youtube, they have become sold on the idea of trying to take as few strokes as possible when they swim.

Overgliders typically swim in the range 1:35 to 1:55/100m (a similar speed to Kicktastics) but can be significantly slower if they attempt a long glide in their stroke - in fact, the longer the glide the slower they become.

Here's a classic Overglider in action:

Notice the pause at the front of the stroke and how he drops the elbow and pushes forwards on the water with his hand. We call this 'Putting On The Brakes':

Overgliders don't intend to push forwards on the water like that but it develops over time as they 'learn to glide' because pushing forwards helps them to pause at the front of the stroke.

Of course putting on the brakes like this creates a lot of drag but dropping the elbow also seriously harms the catch. Overgliders are trying to become more efficient swimmers but the irony is that by trying to glide they've both increased drag and harmed their propulsion - hardly efficient!

The position at the front of the stroke should look like this with the elbow higher than the wrist and the wrist higher than the fingertips:

In this position the water flow over the hand helps initiate the catch making it extremely difficult to pause.

Overgliders And Stroke Rate

Adding a pause into the stroke reduces the swimmer's stroke rate (cadence), with most Overgliders sitting in the range 50 to 56 SPM (Strokes Per Minute).

Extreme Overgliders are lower than that, in the range 40 to 50 SPM, but at such a low stroke rate you will simply start to sink (increasing your drag yet further)!

If you are an Overglider and have followed Swim Smooth for a while then you will probably appreciate the need to try and lift your stroke rate. Unfortunately this will be very hard work unless you have first corrected the hand position at the front of the stroke using the right drills and methods:

Glenn tries to lift his stroke rate but this is very hard work indeed
 without correcting the press forwards at front of the stroke.

Correct your stroke using the Overglider stroke correction process (see below) and your stroke rate will automatically lift without any undue effort!

The Overglider Kickstart

Another problem caused by trying to glide is a whip-kick action at the rear of the stroke:

Bending the knee this much adds a huge amount of drag:

Overgliders do this because they are literally trying to kick-start the stalled stroke and get things going again. If we remove the pause at the front of the stroke then the tendency to kick-start immediately falls way. That's Swim Smooth "Cause and Effect" in action!

Quick Overglider Facts

Typical speed range: 6:30 to 8:00 for 400m but extreme Overgliders can be significantly slower or even unable to swim further than 50m without stopping.

Typical stroke rate: 50 to 56 SPM (extreme Overgliders less than 50 SPM)

Likes: Short technique swims and counting strokes
Loves: Studying swimming on the internet
Dislikes: Trying something without thinking it through first
Hates: Fast or continuous swimming as they feel their stroke is 'falling apart'

Learning style: Very academic, enjoys considering the physics and trying to use their intellect to 'crack the problem'.

Common professions: Engineer, Scientist, Financial Analyst

Next Steps - Curing The Overglider

Overgliders have gone down a bit of a cul-de-sac with their swimming but all is far from lost. Using the right drills and methods you can improve your catch mechanics at the front of the stroke and in doing so naturally remove the pause-and-glide in your stroke timing. Both reducing drag and increasing propulsion - all without any real increase in effort!

We'll also work on finding the optimum stroke rate for you, where you are swimming quickly and efficiency but without fighter the water. We call that your 'stroke rate sweet spot'.

The 'Curing The Overglider' process is available both in the Swim Smooth Coaching System:

And in the Overglider Swim Type Guide download:

About Swim Types

The Swim Type system is a way of understanding how the faults in a swimmer's stroke tend to cluster together in classic ways.

It gives you insight into the 'nuts and bolts' making up any swimmer and a highly developed step-by-step stroke correction process for each type to follow.

We've made the Swim Type system memorable and easy to understand by using a little humour and some cartoon characters. But don't by fooled, the insight behind each type is the result of a huge amount of empirical study involved thousands of individual swimmers over the last 10 years:

Find out more about the system on our dedicated microsite:

Swim Smooth!

1 comment:

Jonas said...

Very good post. I think overgliding is very difficult to correct, but the advantage of an overglider is that, if they're persistent enough, they can become smooths !