If you’ve been swimming for a while now and have been noticing you aren’t getting any better there could be a few reasons why. Both beginner and seasoned swimmers eventually hit a plateau where improvements are fewer and far between, and that's something all athletes experience.
In addition to improving your technique by receiving correction, coaching, and tackling drills; the reason you’re stagnating could be simpler than you think: Perhaps, you’re not swimming often enough. FYI: I'm not referring to elite or college swimmers who training already over 15 hours a week.
Like most endurance sports, swimming requires lots of time in the pool. Albeit being a runner, cyclist or another type of athlete can help provide a good foundation to swimming faster, there’s little that compares to getting in the water and putting your swimming stroke to the test. The entire swimming chain movement requires you to be both engaged yet relaxed. One must create a stroke cycle where the breath is in coordination with the pulling cycle of the stroke, allowing the body to be aligned in order to reduce resistance. Achieving this can only be by allowing yourself to train often to experience this sensation.
I often like to share to my swimmers that swimming fast is 'reducing factors that are creating drag (resistance) and maximizing the direction of power'.
Consistency is essential, it will allow you to retain new learnings.
When coaching a 1 on 1 session I’ve noticed that athletes have the ability to improve greatly in a single lesson, only to find that the next time we meet again we are starting from scratch because they didn't implement the new learnings since. The progress that was made is not fully lost, however, the body hasn't had the opportunity to implement the sensation, movement, and thought process to help better acquire the movement.
Training more often allows you to strengthen cognitive learning and aid the acquisition of the new technical modification.
Going to the pool more often also means you are able to challenge yourself differently, often performing beyond your expectations. You'd be surprised how quickly the body will normalize the effort you thought was difficult the week before, you may find yourself pushing faster pace time and swimming a longer set.
Is it all or nothing?
It’s not all or nothing. Especially when in the phase of learning new technical habits and training fluidity you want to increase your training time in the pool, it'll give you an edge. If you can't, don't sweat it. Maintain as much as possible and increase your swimming time when your schedule is more favorable.
Why swim more often?
Although obvious, swimming more frequently should lead to better technique and performance. Aside from the physical benefits of swimming regularly; your brain needs more exposure to creating the brain to muscle movement pathways. If your body has more opportunities to explore a specific sensation and movement, you'll allow yourself more opportunity for tweaking of technique; hence making your stroke more fluid.
Swim often, even if you only have a half-hour to spare.
Jumping in the water and giving yourself an opportunity to try new things or reinforce the technique that makes you feel dominant in the water is the way to improve your swimming.
Swimming with a team makes it's more enjoyable and easier to stick to swimming often; join us to swim more often in Vienna!