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How To Win With Feedback Part III- Stroke Count

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX

Part X

In the previous article, we discussed the importance of measuring your speed to ensure that you are creating the feedback you need to improve your performance.

In this article, we're going to apply the same approach to measuring your stroke count.

Speed is a great measure of effectiveness. Are your performances effective in accomplishing the objective in going FAST.

By measuring your stroke count, you can measure the efficiency of your swimming. Taking fewer strokes generally means that you’re swimming more efficiently, provided you’re not gliding excessively, kicking more, or dolphin kicking more than normal.

While counting strokes is not a perfect measure, the advantage is that it’s objective, anyone can do it, and it’s simple to count. Zero technology is required, and any swimmer can keep track at any time.

What it may lack in accuracy, it more than makes up for it with practicality.

So why does efficiency matter?

Efficiency matters for two reasons.

Swimming obviously requires energy, and regardless of how well you’re trained, that amount of energy is limited. It matters how you USE that energy.

Taking fewer strokes for the same speed has consistently been shown to use less energy. That means you’ll be able to sustain your speed in training and competition for longer.

Efficiency also matters because it will increase your speed. Speed is a product of how long your stroke is and how fast your stroke is.

Long, fast strokes result in speed.

A lower stroke count indicates a longer stroke. As we’re pretty limited in how fast we can move our arms, it is usually stroke length that determines how fast we go.

With how fast you can move your arms at top speed being relatively constant, we need more efficiency to go faster.

Let’s look at an example to help this idea come to life- compare a dachshund and a greyhound. The long legs of the greyhound are going to allow the greyhound to run much faster. While the dachshund can move its legs at a similar rate, it can’t come anywhere close to achieving the same length per stride.

That’s why greyhounds are racing dogs and dachshunds are not!

Swimming works the same way in terms of the relationship between stroke length and stroke rate. However, there is good news for those looking to swim fast.