A swim video focused on helping you develop the catch phase of your swim stroke.
Some waterproof drill cards would be a nice touch.
A well produced, informative swim video that can help a broad range of swimmers get a better feel for the water.
One of our favorite sources of information concerning swimming is Swim Smooth (www.swimsmooth.com). If you haven't ever checked out their site (where have you been?) you really should give it a look, it's a great resource.
One of the best tools on the site is The Mr. Smooth console. It's basically an animated swimmer (Mr. Smooth-has the moves) that allows you to visualize the perfect freestyle stroke.
You can manipulate the application to provide you with a view from pretty much any angle: above the water, below the water, from above or below, from the side, in front or behind...you get the picture. There's even a dial that allows you to adjust the number of strokes per minute. If you've ever wanted to be able to have a 360 degree view of a perfect freestyle stroke to provide you with a mental blueprint to take to the pool, Mr. Smooth will hook you up.
OK, now on to the actual review. The Catch Masterclass DVD is the latest video from the guys at Swim Smooth. This video can help anyone looking to improve the catch phase of their swim stroke. We feel like this video is a good tool for just about anyone who has the basics of the freestyle stroke down. We feel like the "heart" of the audience for this DVD is the intermediate swimmer looking to gain some speed and a better overall feel for the water.
First of all, this is by far one of the best produced swim videos that we have come across. The high-def footage is crystal clear and the various vantage points really provide an excellent visual for you to take to the pool for your next session. This plethora of camera angles gives you multiple vantage points throughout the swim stroke, focused mainly on the catch phase...hence the name "Catch Masterclass".
This video contains footage of some of the best swimmers on the planet. While many of these swimmers are at the top of their game, we appreciate how their styles are very different. This is one thing that a lot of instructional swimming materials seem to forget.
The video shows what these elite swimmers do with their various techniques and something that we appreciate from a triathlon respect, they actually address the issues that we deal with, it's not just focused on pool swimming. The quick choppy swim of a great open water swimmer will no doubt differ from the long smooth swim stroke of an Olympic swimmer, but both are effective in their own right.
Swim Smooth realizes the fact that we are not all going to fit into one box and all have exactly the same swim stroke. Many of the other swimming "systems" out there seem to focus on their way of swimming, expecting or forcing everyone to fit that mold. The guys at Swim Smooth realize that various swimmers will have various means of getting through the water based on body type, experience, swimming discipline (like a triathlete in open water vs. a pool swimmer), athletic background etc.
Along those lines, there are several different types of swimmers on the video from beginners to Olympic champions. The video breaks down the swim strokes of each individual and analyzes the things they do right as well as the things you'll want to leave out of you technique.
Technique is what it's all about, proper technique that is, and this DVD will help you to dial in that technique.
Another thing this DVD excels at is taking the various recommended drills and really breaking them down and explaining them very well. They don't just show you a drill and say go do it. They take the time to go into detail and explain the drills, why they are important, what to focus on, and what some common mistakes are when performing said drills. There's also a few tools (paddles) that are recommended and the video tells not only what paddles are used but why they prefer certain paddles for certain drills.
The Catch Masterclass video also shows you the most common mistakes that lead to a poor catch phase along with drills and mental ques to focus on to avoid or correct these mistakes.
The DVD suggests that you take one thing at a time to concentrate on during your swim workouts. We would agree with this philosophy and recommend that you work your way through this video. We feel like it's one of those videos that you can go back to over and over to work on different aspects of your mechanics. Plus, there's way too much information to just take in all in one sitting.
Another added bonus on the DVD is the addition of poolside development sessions that you can print out in PDF form and take to the pool to help keep you on track. We think a bettersolution would be to include the drills on waterproof cards tucked away inside the DVD case.
Around $50 from the Swim Smooth site. Well worth the investment in our opinion as the DVD is almost 2 hours long and there's an additional 75 minutes of bonus material.
TriBomb Bottom Line
TriBomb approved! An excellent video for anyone looking to improve on one of the most difficult to master pieces of the swim technique puzzle.