Bad Swimming Habits and Tips for Overcoming Them

It’s not unusual for anyone to pick up the occasional bad habit here or there in any given area of life. Swimming is no exception to this. Plenty of swimmers, even competitive ones, can pick up bad habits that can negatively impact their performance. So what are some of the bad habits a swimmer might pick up, and what can be done about them?

Lackadaisical Starts and Turns

Do you know at what point you’re at maximum velocity when you’re swimming? It’s when you push off the wall or dive into the water. That means that if you want to swim fast and swim well, you need to be disciplined about how you start and how you turn. It’s easy to be a little lax when it comes to these sorts of things. You make a lot of turns when you’re practicing, after all. Still, getting into the habit of being disciplined about them will translate to better, faster turns when you’re swimming competitively. Commit to making every start and every turn as streamlined as possible and executed with proper form.

Getting Lazy with Technique

Technique exists because it helps you do something better and, in the case of swimming, safer. It’s easy to get lazy with it. Doing everything with good technique all the time can be tough, especially when you get tired. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time to do things right. Ask your coach for feedback on what areas of your technique you need to work on being more consistent with. Create cues for yourself that you can use as reminders when you practice.

Not Finishing Strong

You may not feel quite the same drive to finish strong when you’re just practicing as you do when you’re competing neck and neck with another swimmer. That can make it easy to slip into the habit of not finishing strong every time. If you want to give yourself a competitive advantage, however, you need to be disciplined about finishing strong every single time. Resist the urge to glide into the wall. Attack it instead. If it helps, you can imagine yourself in a race with another swimmer who is even with you, or even a little ahead to give yourself a push to finish strong.

If you’ve been swimming for some time, you’re bound to have picked up a bad habit or two over the years. No one is perfect, after all. Becoming lackadaisical about your starts and turns, not being disciplined in your technical execution, and not finishing strong every time are just a few examples of bad habits you could find yourself dealing with. If you need help overcoming them, talk to your coach or swim instructor about how they can help you with the habits you’ve picked up.

Want to learn more about how to improve your swimming? Click here for SwimJim’s tips on how to improve your propulsion in the water.