Efficiency First

In Best Posts, Swimming by Chris Ritter0 Comments

I’ve discussed a lot of philosophy about how to get better as a swimmer out of the water but for the next few weeks I want to talk about training in the water.

The ONLINE RITTERSP PROGRAM that I’ve developed specifically for swimming, is a progressive and comprehensive approach.

My approach that’s taken in training swimmers can be boiled down to three areas of focus: efficiency, speed and capacity. And more importantly you want to develop them in that order.

As a swimmer or coach you need to understand that your efficiency will determine your success as a swimmer the majority of the time. This is true in training as well as racing. That’s why it’s so important to build a base of efficient movement.

I view efficiency as a bigger picture than simply your technique. You may have great looking technique but is everyone else taking fewer strokes than you in a given lap?

When you’re assessing your efficiency it comes down to a simple formula:

(Distance + Strokes) / Time

Basically in one lap how many strokes do you take and how much time did it take you to complete that lap?

Unfortunately most swimmers and coaches want to skip the first and most important area. Opting instead to work on your speed or endurance. The problem is if you’re inefficient you’ll forever be limited in how fast or how long you can swim.

If you’re not efficient you’re wasting your time trying to get faster or go longer.

Think of your efficiency as the limiting factor to the rest of your training. If you’re inefficient you’ll have a low ceiling for both speed and endurance.

I think that most swimmers and coaches don’t focus on efficiency simply because they aren’t patient.

Efficiency is often the hardest area for most athletes to develop. There isn’t a lot of quick reward when you decide to become more efficient.

You’re basically rewiring your nervous system. And there are a lot of switches to flip in your body in order to create a change. Both patience and efficiency is hard to develop but it will transfer over to the rest of your training.

Technique and efficiency is the best starting point for advancing in the sport. Don’t skip steps in your training. Give yourself the best chance to be successful in the long run. Make sure you develop efficiency in all of your strokes and at a variety of speeds to help you in any situation, either training or racing.

Tune in next week and we’ll talk about what everyone wants…speed!