Thursday, November 15, 2018

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 benefits of using a snorkel in this way are pretty obvious - 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 technique will stick.

So should you?

In our opinion it can be a useful exercise but only if you are very relaxed and confident using a snorkel. 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 can see it in our Swim Shop here:

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 when 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):

Swim Smooth!

No comments: