We all have a favourite pool toy – I adore the pull buoy, for example. And lots of us love fins too. But why do your coaches select what they do when they do?
At Aqualicious we incorporate the basics (Fins, Pull Buoys, and Kickboards) into our sessions with a purpose in mind, and a cautious eye towards over-use.
When we set you up with Dorothy’s Ruby Flippers, we might be:
- Giving you a break! Active recovery is a legitimate and important part of swimming, and gentle motion helps clear lactic acid from your muscles!
- Wanting you to feel fast in the water. Not only is it fun, but maintaining good technique while you’re feeling fast will help you do it when you’re swimming unaided.
- Making a difficult task easier – There are some drills where only fins will give you the propulsion you need to stay on top of the water while you work on something else
- Allowing you to focus on your arms. “Fins, freestyle kick, race-pace breaststroke arms” is a drill I set often. It’s one of my favourites and lets you get your stroke rate up without thinking too hard about timing.
- Nice (Don’t laugh!) Butterfly kick with fins is pure simple joy.
The Kickboard? Turns out it’s not always about kick…
- Some kickboard exercises are more about core work.
- Some have more to do with rotation or body position.
- But often it’s because you need to practice your kick! (On that note, if we just say “kick” we really mean “freestyle kick”)
- Plus the coaches learn if you skipped Leg Day or not.
And the Pull Buoyfriend has its uses too, like:
- The fact that your legs use the most oxygen of any muscle group in the body. Not needing to kick means you get to use that brain-powering oxygen to think about your technique instead
- Isolating your arms – if you’re not catching the water with your pull, you ain’t going nowhere with a pull buoy.
- It helps get your bum up so your upper body is in a better position.
- We know you like it, and even coaches want to be loved sometimes
We’re usually pretty happy to help you modify a set to meet your needs while still achieving the goal of the session and the needs of the other swimmers. So please, before you put on those fins or reach for that Pull Buoy (let’s face it, no-one’s reaching for Poor Old Kickboard without being asked), ask your coach. We often haggle – If you do the whole lot with fins, for example, you’ll be done heaps faster than the coach was planning on, and much faster than your lane-mates, and while in summer it’s fine, as we get towards winter, do you really want to be standing around like that?
Remember: We set toys (or don’t) for a reason. Trust the plan. We don’t set what you can’t do!
We usually have some spare equipment handy for your first few sessions, so don’t feel like you have to spend before you swim! All you really need to get started are togs, goggles, a towel, and a (plastic or metal) water bottle. Check out our session times with the buttons below