In Search of “The Perfect Stroke”

In search of “The Perfect Stroke” It seems every week someone is asking me “What should my stroke look like?” and the answer seems easy but, in fact, it is not. It is true there are basic technique concepts that apply to most swimmers which allow for maximum power and efficiency but, in the end, not everyone’s stroke looks the same. Think of your stroke as a fingerprint. Everyone has one. But, each person’s fingerprint is different than anyone else’s. Your fingerprint may have more bumps, swirls, or lines than the next person and the same is true for your stroke.

So, why do we seek to change our stroke? Usually we desire more speed, better endurance, or less frustration. But, what is the best way to change? First, you have to understand a stroke is formed by many different factors: a method of teaching, an injury, a bad habit, etc. Then, you have to take into consideration your current stroke, any limitations of motion, and what your desired outcome is for your stroke. Finally, you could research all the different swim methods, read swim articles, scour the blogs, and spend way too much time beating yourself up about what is best for you.

Or, you could save your valuable time and hire a professional coach. When working with a coach share your goals and limitations, have the coach video your stroke, then decide together what would be an appropriate period of time to develop the changes needed to achieve your goals. It is important for you to practice the new techniques given by your coach in between your sessions and share feedback about how the practicing worked for you. After all your hard work, you should have a comfortable, balanced stroke which achieves the objectives you set together.

The quest for the “perfect stroke” may never be achieved, but we can strive for OUR perfect stroke by partnering with a coach to discover the technique that will work for us.

Originally posted November, 2013.