Our resident Olympian answers your swimming questions
With so much advice on front crawl technique available online and in books, should I try to find as much information as possible or stick to just one source?
This is a question that I get asked a lot as a coach. The sheer amount of information that you can find when googling front crawl technique is mind-boggling: from scientific articles on the specifics of drag versus propulsion, to videos of seemingly non-swimmers trying to explain the finer details of the catch phase. When trying to learn or perfect a new skill it is important not to get bogged down by trying to absorb all sources of information.
There are some very good swimming technique companies, who can explain the fundamentals of technique in a learner-friendly way. But unfortunately there are other companies and coaches that are not so learner-friendly.
I am not saying that I am the only person who knows how to coach technique. On the contrary, I’m always learning myself. As sport is so closely linked to science, new and more efficient ways of swimming are continuously being discovered.
I believe that a good technique coach should understand not only the stroke, but the way people learn. Everybody learns in a different way, and this should be catered for. Some people learn better through visual demonstrations, others through descriptions.
Finally, it all boils down to personal preference. If your coach is succeeding in helping you become more efficient when swimming, then stick with them. But don’t be scared to move coaches if you feel that your needs are not being met.