COACHES: How many times have you been absolutely stumped on how to correct an athlete’s streamline? You have tried everything in the water and things are still slow, disorganized, and lacking the tension you are looking for.
ATHLETES: How many times have you been stuck trying to figure out what coach is talking about? You think you’re streamlining fast and and straight but coach keeps saying otherwise.
Good news, you’re both not at fault. Sometimes athletes do not have certain pre-requisites for a proper streamline. Hammering it home in the pool might not be your best usage of time.
So what should you do? Let’s train proper body positioning on land and THEN transfer it back into the water.
Question: Do you even know how to brace your core?
One thing that we find, often, with swimmers is that they do not know what bracing their core really means. A swimmer will flex his or her abs and say, “I’m bracing my core.”
What about tailbone (or hips) positioning? What about below the hips? What about using breath to support the spine?
What if you don’t know what this even means?
Start with the Supine Wall Press. Let’s cover proper breathing that will help you establish a rock solid brace around the spine. This movement is also a great way to start to learn the tucked tailbone position.
Now that we have covered bracing with breath, let’s talk about hip/tailbone positioning. In a streamline we want to be in a tucked positioning. How can you achieve this?
Simply engage your glutes. Train this by taking your basic plank. Focus on glute engagement and think about driving your elbows towards your knees (without actually moving them). For many of you, this will feel like you’re rounding your back. This is due to your old body positioning.
The major pushback I hear from athletes is, “well I compete in the water so it holds me up. I don’t need to focus as much on my core.”
Just because you are in a medium it doesn’t give you an out for bracing for proper alignment. There are still forces acting on your body that can affect your positioning in the water.
Now, let’s move on to training an overhead position and core engagement. My favorite for this is the Plank + Vertical pull. Not only does it teach proper engagement as we are moving overhead, it also teaches an athlete to control rotation.
After this, it is time to work on hitting this positioning with pace. We want athletes to get off the wall quickly, with good form, and with POWER.
The first step in this is to use the Squat + Squat Jump. When you flip over and your feet hit the wall, what position is your body in?
Hopefully, you’re in a squat pattern.
This exercise will teach you pace off of the wall while hitting your streamline.
Let’s put the final touches on this! Sometimes the squat jump still gives athletes a chance to miss out on the tucked tailbone positioning.
Use the Streamline Shooter and have the athlete focus on arm positioning overhead and tucking the tailbone at the peak.