I have been obsessing about my breast stroke kick for years. I have spent hours trying to get it to feel right. Time and again I have asked Victoria to observe me and film me. Last week I had an epiphany (or “epitome” as I heard someone describe it on the radio last week). I have been fretting about my legs when I should have been thinking about my neck. I say “epiphany” but it was more of a “duh” moment. I have been helping people in the water for nearly twenty years and the most important piece of advice that I give them is to rid their necks of tension and allow their heads to float. Because I have been trying to get my legs right, I have been neglecting this fundamental truth that serves as the foundation for comfort in the water.
Last week Victoria and I went to use a newly built local pool and were the only people in there. It was so relaxing that I was able to enjoy swimming a few lengths of breaststroke without being preoccupied with my kick. I didn’t feel that stiffness in my neck that Victoria has been observing and telling me about for years, that I’ve been ignoring because of my belief that my kick is the problem.
I know my kick isn’t perfect, I know I sometimes overcompensate with my arms, I know my glide is a little short etc, but most importantly I have realised that I don’t need to fixate on these things. I just need to make sure that I stay relaxed and stop stiffening my neck: the most common thing that I tell to everyone in the water. I need to listen to my own advice.