Total Body Awareness and Swimming Lessons
As you get better at swimming, you are going to find that you reach plateaus where you can’t seem to improve any more. This happens to everyone, and it is because of errors that you are not even aware that you are making. You might be losing momentum every time you take a breath during freestyle because your balance is off and therefore your kicking rhythm gets off, for example.
How do you fix these errors?
How do you even learn that they are there so that you can work on them? Through a method called Total Body Awareness.
Total Body Awareness is about being aware of everything that is happening in your body at any given time. It is especially important during times when we are usually concerned just with one part of the body. Going back to the breath example, when you are taking a breath you are concerned about getting your face out of the water so you can breathe. You are very likely to completely ignore what is going on with your legs. But if you don’t pay attention to what your legs are doing, you are likely to lose your rhythm and slow down your swimming time.
One way to achieve total body awareness is through isolation exercises. Focus on what just one part of the body is supposed to be doing, isolate it, and practice it. Then, when you put that movement in with the rest of your body movements, continue to focus on it and make sure that you are doing it right.
Another way is through focusing on the rhythm. Kick to a beat in your head, and you will notice if your kicks get off rhythm. When everything is going swimmingly (pun intended), you will be able to swim to a rhythm. If you can’t keep up with your own beat, you know something is going wrong at the moment when you get off, and you can start to work on finding the problem and fixing it.