How to use fins to improve your swim skills

Throw on a pair of fins in your next swim session to take your performance to the next level. Andrews Sheaff explains how…

Side-on underwater view of male swimmer's legs wearing fins on each foot

As improving your swimming skill can be a real challenge, you want to know every trick in the book to help you learn skills faster and easier. 

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In this article, I’m going to show you two different ways that you can use fins to help take your swimming to the next level.

Ironically, using fins is a great way to slow down your progress if used in the wrong way. I’ll help you avoid those mistakes by showing you the best ways to use your fins.

Drill with fins

When you’re learning a new drill, or really trying to perfect a familiar one, there’s a lot to manage and focus on. This is particularly true when you’re moving slowly through the water and your legs are sinking!

The simple solution is to start wearing fins during some of your drilling, allowing you to put your focus where it really matters.

For instance, instead of using a buoy in the drill below, throw on fins. You’ll get the benefit of keeping the hips up like a buoy, and you’ll get the benefit of a speed boost from your legs.

However, once you get the hang of the drill, make sure you do most of your drilling without fins. You’ll need to perfect your skills without the fins, as that’s how you’ll be racing.

So, think of your fins as a learning accelerator, best used when you’re just starting with a drill. Once they’ve served their purpose, it’s best to drill without them. That is until you find a new drill you want to perfect!

Go fast

I’m sure you remember the first time you drove a car on the motorway. It was happening so fast!  Nowadays, it’s just business as usual, and when you get off the motorway, it’s like going in slow motion. The same thing happens when you swim.

When you swim faster than normal, it’s chaos. After a little practise at high speed, normal speed feels pedestrian.  You can take advantage of this same phenomenon to improve you swimming skills.

Put on a pair of fins and practise swimming faster than normal, really paying attention to how you’re moving through water. Pick one skill that you’re working on and really focus on it. Don’t worry if it’s happening too fast!

Perform several repetitions. You can do this for some really short sprints, or you can perform medium length repetitions.

Afterwards, take off the fins and perform repetitions at a normal speed. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that everything is moving in slow motion, and you’ll feel like you have a lot more control over what you’re doing, and a lot more time to make it happen.

It’s a fun way to improve your swimming.

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Top image credit: Getty Images