Should I Use A Snorkel To Develop My Stroke Technique?

Here's a question we get asked a lot: Should I swim with a snorkel in training to develop my stroke technique without the distraction of breathing?



The potential benefits of using a snorkel in this way are clear - rotating to the side to inhale can easily cause over-rotation, a loss of balance and a pressing down during the catch. Over time all of these stroke flaws can become a habit in your stroke:

Con presses down on the water at the front of the stroke whilst breathing and
over-rotates such that his legs scissor kick apart.
The idea of swimming with a snorkel is that you can avoid these problems and learn better technique such that when you remove the snorkel the motor patterns will stick.

So should you?

In our opinion, using a snorkel can be a useful exercise but only if you are very relaxed and confident using it. For most swimmers using a snorkel feels very strange and you may be concerned and distracted about water coming down the tube. It can also lead to feelings of claustrophobia.

That's why we don't use snorkels as a matter of course through our coaching. If you have a specific problem to work on related to breathing and are experienced and confident using a snorkel then by all means try it. Make sure you use a front-mounted freestyle specific snorkel though (not a beach snorkel) as they won't pull the mouthpiece out of your mouth at swimming speeds.

Finis make an excellent one of these:



Which you can see in our Swim Shop here: https://shop.swimsmooth.com/products/finis-freestyle-snorkel

As with all swimming aids be careful not to become addicted to using it and make sure you conduct the majority of your swimming without.


Stroke Correction Without A Snorkel

So how do we go about fixing stroke flaws whilst breathing? We have many drills and methods in the Swim Smooth Guru designed to do this targeting specific stroke flaws. A favourite is the Javelin Drill which involves kicking on your side in the position you want to hit whilst practising breathing, before introducing breathing strokes:



Javelin uses a paddle on the lead hand to improve your proprioception of the stroking hand and arm whilst performing the drill. Always breathe away from the paddle.

You can watch the Javelin drill demonstration and receive all the coaching points in the Guru here (subscription required): www.swimsmooth.guru/streamvideo/cZF/mv/javelin-drill/


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Swim Smooth team!
in my opinion, in some situations, a snorkel can also help to execute some drills such as sculling as it avoids arching too much the lower back / which changes body position and also permits so keep a closer eye on the underwater hands motion.
Best regards,
Manuel

Anonymous said...

Hi Swim Smooth team!
in my opinion, in some situations, a snorkel can also help to execute some drills such as sculling as it avoids arching too much the lower back / which changes body position and also permits so keep a closer eye on the underwater hands motion.
Best regards,
Manuel

Jonas said...

A snorkel is really useful. Not only it allows you to focus on your catch and pull through without the "distraction" of breathing, but also most importantly, it helps you to keep your head in a fixed position (when not breathing) and to find the good head angle relative to the bottom of the pool, which is paramount for swimming smoothly.


However, as Swim Smooth says, it should only be what it is, a tool, and thus not be used regularly.

Anonymous said...

I use a snorkel kicking since I don't have enough shoulder flexibility to use a kick board for more than 1 length without discomfort.

Sven said...

A snorkel can feel uncomfortable in the beginning. But give it 6-8 times and it will feel better. Good tool.

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