Choosing the Right Pull Buoy

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 act 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’re probably addicted to your pull buoys. If you said yes to two of the questions you’re 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, and for yet others, it is the ability to go faster with a bouy.

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 provides less buoyancy.
  • Kick more. You can replace the floatation the buoy provided with extra kick to keep your body in the correct alignment.
  • Drop your head. Dropping your head will help keep your body correctly aligned.

Breaking the pull buoy addiction will help you be a better swimmer in the long run.

Next week:  Warm up vs. Preset

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