Coaches like swimming toys (Swimming gear which improves technique)

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Nov 11, 2006

Coaches like swimming toys (Swimming gear which improves technique)

Swimming is an amazing sport which has lots of benefits, however, if you have to swim twice everyday (as the top athletes do) it could get quite boring at times and one needs a lot of other distractions to keep motivated. Apart from getting creative with your swimming workouts and introducing different drills, swimmers can use miscellaneous swimming equipment to spice up their routines and motivate themselves to better swimming performance while also improving swimming technique (I like to call them "coaching toys"). This article will give you a small sample of some of the stuff that is out there, but believe me, the possibilities are endless. Most of the swimming toys have a specific purpose and it usually is to improve your technique for a particular stroke.
Swimmer's Snorkel by Finis


Here is the list of equipment that I like to use to keep my swimmers and myself swimming with perfect technique:

- As discussed in previous posts about breathing and freestyle mistakes, the Swimmer's snorkel is a great, fun way to teach your swimmers the skill of the correct head position and body rotation. This type of snorkel is nowadays a must have in the equipment repository of every swimmer. Attach the Finis front snorkel to your forehead, put your face in and just relax while swimming. The front snorkel is also very good for sculling and head position exercises as you don't have to break your rhythm by lifting your head. If you are going to buy only one piece of equipment, the front snorkel is probably the best buck for result and enjoyment. (personal tip: I love the Finis Swimmer's Snorkel, however, beware that some swimmers will not be able to use it from the start as they do not know how to blow water out of the snorkel, so be patient and learn to relax with it. Here is an article to help you with your Swimmer's snorkel breathing technique. Also, some folks have troubles with flip turns while using the snorkel, but this is not too complicated to learn if the right streamline on the push off is present. Just wedge the top of the front snorkel into your streamlined locked arms and voila, it will not wiggle while you are streamlining away. )
Cardio Cap attachment


- To help your swimmer's lungs you can experiment with the Cardio cap. This little piece of equipment goes on top of the snorkel mentioned above. It is thought to help with lung conditioning by 40%. The Finis Cardio Cap restricts the intake of oxygen that passes through the snorkel, thus making your diaphragm work harder and more efficient. So, if you use the cap couple times per week for one set during your practice, you should feel the results in a few weeks. (personal tip: If you already have the center mount snorkel, the Cardio cap is a good/cheap way to break out of the monotony of everyday practice and help your lungs at the same time.)

- There exists another slick attachment for the front snorkel. Meet the Dry Top device.This futuristic looking attachment is actually a wonderful invention for many. There are swimmers who have psychological fear of inhaling water and this fear stops them from fully enjoying the swimmer's snorkel benfits. With the Dry Top, these individuals can relax and keep their snorkel water free at all times.(personal tip: If you already have the center mount snorkel, but you keep choking on water, the Dry top is a good/cheap way to keep your snorkel swims smooth and concentration on your technique instead of the water in your lungs.)

Hydro Hip belt
- A very good way to get you rolling during your swims is to use the Hydro Hip. You can easily combine the snorkel and this belt together. The Hydro Hip belt has two resistant flaps on each side of your body, thus making rotating much tougher than normal. As a result, your core body muscles are getting stronger and then when you take off the Hydro Hip belt, your body rotates with ease as there is no resistance. (personal tip: the side fins on the Hydro Hip belt are usually not attached very well, so they thend to slide around. You will need some sort of a padding between the belt and the fin attachment to make the connection tighter).

Tech Toc belt
- Another hip rotation mechanism I will introduce is the Tech Toc belt. Each time swimmer rotates his/her hips a little ball hidden in the top of the tech toc belt hits a side of the mechanism and generates a noise. If the rotation is not good enough, no sound will happen, thus letting you know that you are not rotating enough. (personal tip: This Tech Toc belt is nice to try but it is not the best, because it has a lot of drag and the ball gets sometimes stuck, so before you go all crazy buying 10 of these for your team, I'd suggest trying it before buying or try the very good toy, the Hydro Hip above.)

Mono Fin
A few more toys which are helpful in improving your swimming technique are below:

- We all know that swimmers love to feel the speed and the fast movement of the water across their bodies. One way to get your or your swimmers excited is to give them a Mono Fin. These mono fins are used usually for underwater racing or free diving exercises, but for our purposes it can be a great learning toy for dolphin kick underwater. It will strengthen ones abdominal area and it is fun :). Furthermore, swimming with the mono fin will let you feel any unnecessary resistance that your body has underwater, so you can then fix it. (personal tip: be careful though, some mono fins are quite rough on the ankles and can create nasty blisters/bruising, so make sure you know what you are buying before you pull out your wallet. Also, the edges are sometimes quite sharp, so be careful not to slice someone up with it:). If you want to try a different type of fin, why not check out the shinfin™ leg fin)

Pullbuoy
- One very old piece of equipment is the Pull buoy. This simple pull buoy toy
is inserted in between your legs and it keeps your feet from kicking, so you can concentrate only on the arm movement. However, be careful to not stop rotating your hips when you swim as this is a common mistake when swimming with a pull boy. (personal note: this is a must for any swimmer as it helps float the legs up a little, so especially the men with bigger thighs will apperciate it. If you want to make it a bit harder, you can put a strap around your ankles to really have your feet only dragging behind you.)

If you are not sure what a particular piece of swimming equipment does, then definitely read about it before making a purchase as there is a lot of swimming gear which is not that useful when it comes to improving your technique.

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Be seen, keep your stuff dry and take a break when needed.

5 comments:

Tyciol said...

These look really cool, is the one hip fin thing to increase drag?

Also what about using flippers or arm scooper things so we can cup more water and use more arm resistance and go further with fewer strokes?

swimator said...

@tyciol: thanks for your question, I assume you are talking about the hydro hip. You can say that it does increases drag, however, its main purpose is to help you improve roll your hips to the side as freestyle is really swam more on your sides than your stomach.

Arm scoopers (also called paddles) are good, but not to be used without proper training as they could hurt your shoulders if not used properly.

Anonymous said...

Swimming gear help lot in good swimming.

swim shop said...

Swimming gear helps a lot in learning swimming more efficiently.

playmobil said...

I think this is true, by using swimming gear, trainees can manifest good ability without hesitation. They will feel safe and even greater because of those gears.