If you’re working on your swim stroke it’s sometimes hard to know what to do when you get to the pool or how to structure your own session.

Here are some tips to help you plan your own session.

Photo by Clique Images

Decide on the purpose of your session eg what part of your stroke you want to improve.

Decide how much time you have for your session and how many lengths you can swim in that time.

Write your key focal points before you go the pool. Typically no more than 4 per session and the more detailed the better.

Take a waterproof notebook and pencil or dive pad and pen with you to the pool. You can write your session plan and focal points on it, and also make notes during the session.

Make it progressive by starting with easy skills and progressing the level of difficulty. For example:

  • 6-8 metres of a drill into 6 strokes and repeat.
  • 6 non breathing stroke practices repeated 
  • 6 non breathing strokes into the whole length full stroke with breathing
  • 25 metres of a drill and 25 metres of a swim
  • Starting with foundation skills (eg balance and streamlining) and progressing to more complicated skills such as the arm recovery or breathing.

Remember one focal point at a time, and one focal point per length.

Chunk it down: Break your session up in to sections.

Transition to water:  I typically give myself 2 lengths to remind my body what the water feels like, especially if I’ve come straight from work or the water feels cold.

Tune Up:  In the tune up re-visit some more simple skills such as balance and streamlining focal points so your body is ready for something more complicated.

Man Practice: Stroke development and drills: Drills should be related to the purpose of your session and the part of your stroke that you’re working on. Examples of how to structure a session are:

  • By time: Eg 5 minutes of superman glide, 5 minutes of superman to skate, 10min of arm recovery drills.  
  • By distance or length:
  • Eg 4 x 25 metres of superman glide,
  • 4 x 25metres of superman to skate, 4 x 25metres of arm recovery drills, 4 x 25metres of swimming. (NB: your 25metres may be broken up into 6 or 8metre repeats and doesn’t need to be non stop).
  • Develop a pattern and routine to help your practice.  Eg Drill, Drill, Drill, Swim.  Or Drill/Swim/Drill/Swim.

Finisher: This something fun and different to end the session. I typically do some lengths of the other strokes or it could be to practice some turns or try a more challenging skill.

If you have a favourite practice session then do get in to share it.