Torpedo practice repeats are briefer than any other drill. Though you may only practice it a few times, it will create invaluable and enduring body awareness that improves Balance and Core Stability—the indispensable foundations of an efficient stroke.
The greatest benefit of Torpedo is that it has few ‘moving parts.’ This allows pinpoint focus in several key mini-skills—a ‘weightless’ head, head-spine alignment, and an engaged core:
Isolating your head in front will heighten awareness of when you’ve achieved an aligned and neutral head position, preparing you to maintain that position in every step that follows.
You’ll also have better awareness of activating core muscle. Both skills are essential to maintaining a sleek, stable body position when you begin moving your arms and legs.
- Stand tall with feet together in your best posture.
- Keep shoulders relaxed.
- Keep head neutral. Don’t lift or tuck your chin.
- Imagine you’re wearing ‘cargo’ jeans with pockets on the front. Reach hands down thighs as if to reach deep into those pockets. (We’ll reference ‘Cargo Pockets’ several times in our lessons.) Pull navel to spine. Lightly press legs together.
Torpedo: Practice with a Glide
- Push gently into a surface glide. (Don’t plunge underwater.) Your legs will sink gradually as glide slows. Maintain head-spine alignment as they do.
- Hold legs together to increase glide and slow legs from sinking.
- When you lose momentum (in a few seconds) stand for a breather and mental reset. Then push into glide again.
Head: Release its weight so you feel the water support (or cushion) it.
Arms: Push hands deep in Cargo Pockets.
Core: Pull navel toward spine.
Legs: Press together and lengthen.
Bodyline: Maintain the strong posture from your rehearsal.
Torpedo: Practice with a Flutter
By adding a flutter kick to Torpedo, you’ll gain a few seconds to memorize key focal points and sensations. Do not turn this into a kicking exercise! Keep kick small, gentle and quiet.
Torpedo: Partner Practice
Assisted practice with a partner can greatly ease and accelerate the acquisition of key skills because:
- The assisting-partner’s hands-on cues provide the most accurate feel for correct positions.
- Being towed or supported allows the practicing-partner more time to memorize key sensations.
There are two ways to assist:
Tow from Head
- Cradle head
- Check that only the rear third of the head is visible above surface.
Gently waggle head (and/or lightly massage neck) to release any tension.
Walk backward while towing at pace sufficient to keep body balanced.
Lightly support (don’t lift) feet and:
Stand briefly to observe head-to-toe alignment.
Ensure that legs are pressed together . . . then push into glide.
Watch to see that legs remain together after release.
Torpedo Practice Tips:
- Repeat Gliding Torpedo four or more times.
- Strive to glide a tiny bit farther each time.
- Keeping head and spine aligned and legs together should help increase glide distance.
- Then repeat Torpedo with Flutter two to four times. As you do, perform a head-to-toe scan of items on the checklist.
- When you’ve memorized the feeling of weightless head, engaged core, and streamlined legs, proceed to Superman. Revisit Torpedo any time to refresh those sensations—either between repeats of Superman, or before Whole Stroke repeats.