Pull buoys are a great tool. As a coach, I have my swimmers use them regularly, but I have seen many swimmers who are addicted to the buoyancy they provide as a crutch. Here is how you can know if you are addicted to pull buoys:
- Do you put them on for freestyle main sets even just once a week?
- Do you put them on for butterfly sets?
- Do you stop in the middle of a set and grab your pull buoys to finish the set?
- Are you the only person in the pool wearing them for a set?
If you said yes to any one of these questions you are probably addicted to your pull buoys. If you said yet to two of the questions you definitely addicted to pull buoys.
Breaking the pull buoy addiction is not easy. Much like many other (admittedly more serious addictions) your body will crave the extra buoyancy. In many cases your heart rate goes up during a set and it is harder to breath without the buoy. For some swimmers, it is a matter of not being able to maintain a balanced body alignment in the water and they use the buoy to fix the problem.
Of course, this addiction is not good for you as an athlete, and here are some suggestions on how to break the habit.
- Fight the feeling. Push yourself to go further in each set before you pick up the buoy.
- Step down to a smaller pull buoy. Break the balance dependency by using smaller buoy, which represents less buoyancy.
- Kick more. As you lose the buoyancy you can replace the floatation with extra kick to keep your body in correct alignment
- Drop your head. Dropping your head is a second alternative to kicking more to help keep your body correctly aligned.
Breaking the pull buoy addiction will help you be a better swimmer in the long run.
Next week: Wearing the right pull buoy.