Have you ever lifted your head a little totake a look at your freestyle hand entry, extension forwards and catch? It’s sosimple it’s amazing we don’t do it more often，You might never have tried this before butit can be very revealing about your stroke.
First, check that you are not crossing the centre line in front of your head, astroke fault known as a ‘crossover’. Aim for a nice straight hand entry andextension forwards without crossing the centre line。It’s bestto try this exercise whilst swimming with fins on to keep your body positionhigh in the water, bring your head up so your goggles are just underneath thesurface and you’ll get a great view of the action right in front of you.
You can also check that you’re entering the water fingertips first, not thumbfirst，A thumbfirst entry is very bad for your shoulders and harms your catch.
Also check you are not dropping your wrist and elbow as you extend forwards, ifyou’ve worked on lengthening out your stroke this often happens and introducesa dead-spot to your stroke:
Finally look for what happens when youstart catching the water. Are you pressing downwards? Or using a much bettertechnique by pressing the water backwards with a bent elbow?
This is just an exercise and will probably feel quite strange to look this farforwards but believe it or not there’s quite a few swimmers who need this headposition when they swim. The legendary Ian Thorpe looked straight forwards withhis goggles just beneath the surface.Ian had such a powerful kick he wouldliterally start kicking air without lifting his head to look straight forwards.
You might not have an incredibly powerfulkick like Thorpie but if you are naturally buoyant in your lower body you toomay feel very unbalanced with a low head position. Try a mid-head position,looking at the bottom of the pool about 1½ meters in front of you.
Or if you have very sinky legs, which theArnie Swim Type tends to suffer from, then it may be necessary to look straightdown towards the bottom of the pool to bring your legs up.
When looking at swimmers in the pool,always remember that head position is very much ‘horses for courses’,experiment with yours to see what feels best for your stroke. If you canmaintain your body position then a higher head position is advantageous foryour swimming posture, coordination of your stroke and for open waternavigation.