Deadspots normally lie at the front of the stroke, the lead hand gliding in a stationary 'dead' position for a period of time causing the swimmer to slow down between strokes. Not only do you lose speed here but many stroke problems occur in this dead period, such as dropped elbows and wrists – adding drag and ruining feel for the water.
Problem: Swimmers can find it hard to co-ordinate removing these deadspots, when they try they often end up accelerating every other phase of their stroke but leave the deadspot in place!
If you’re in that situation here’s a little tip to help you, we call it 'The Conveyor Belt Visualisation'. Imagine you are swimming over a conveyor belt in the water (you could also think of it as a treadmill):
What you have to do is simple, try and keep one arm stroke on the conveyor at all times – so as one stroke finishes at the back you begin catching the water at the front. As you do this try and stay relaxed and find a new rhythm, there will be a temptation to swim harder but this isn’t necessary. In fact, as you remove the deadspot and become more efficient, you can reduce the force in your stroke a little to swim at the same speed – great!
Use the conveyor belt visualisation as a drill to practise a new improved timing. Depending on your individual stroke and style, the 'conveyor stroke' may be too extreme for you to be comfortable swimming over longer distances – you might need a very small delay between finishing at the back and starting at the front. That’s OK as long as that lead hand never stops and pauses – it’s always in motion: either extending forwards with your body roll, gently initiating the catch by tipping the fingertips over and bending the elbow or pulling backwards on the water. If you watch him closely, this is how Mr Smooth swims.
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