New Combat Side Stroke Guide

Improve your swim. Use the Naval Special Warfare Combat Side Stroke Guide.

See more
See less


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts


    Here is my second attempt at the CSS. Any feedback would be appreciated. As you can see I changed my style a little bit and worked or isolating my kick.

    Still feel very slow in the water however and would like some advice.


  • #2
    First thing I noticed was a weak first kick off the wall, really kick that wall hard and glide for a few extra seconds, it will save you a couple strokes. Another thing I noticed is that your stroke pattern is that of the elementary side stroke. I also saw that you have the same problem that I'm struggling with, to much unnecessary leg movement. Get a big scissors kick and get your body streamlined and just glide, all that leg movement is causing drag. That high of stroke rate and all those extra kicks aren't making you that much faster, they are just going to tire you out very quickly.

    Keep working at it brother! Good luck.


    • #3
      1. As mentioned above, you're not going very far off the wall. Kick off like you're trying to dunk a basketball. Get a tight streamline and you'll be surprised how far you'll go.

      2. Stroke timing. You're kicking and pulling simultaneously, coming to a complete stop, and trying to start again. Ideally, you shouldn't lose speed at any point in your stroke cycle. From streamline, pull your top arm and rotate to breathe. As you draw in you breathe, pull your bottom arm. As your bottom arm is pulling, start loading your legs for the kick. Bring your hands together in front of your face and kick. Rotate back down to streamline and hold. Then repeat that process.

      3. Weak top arm pull. The majority of the power of this stroke comes from the top arm. Really work on catching water and pulling yourself forward. Don't whip your arm back so fast. You can feel it when you're doing it right. It's hard to explain. You'll literally feel like you're grabbing water and pulling yourself forward.

      I hope some of this advice helps. Keeping working on it, and remember that this stroke is about technique, not raw power. Efficient movement and correct timing are the key, get those down and you'll be cruising.


      • #4
        I am by no means an expert or a competitive swimmer but I believe you should be facing down part of the stroke. It seems you have the problem I have with wanting to breath very often. I overcame/am overcoming the issue currently by swimming 5-6 days a week after my regular workout regardless of if its a swim or run day. the time in the water really helps. what helps is to have a friend video you (which im guessing you have) and compare side by side with the video posted by the navy. then get back in and work on the differences you see between the two.


        • #5
          also I like jammers, they are a lot faster in the water, not sure if you wear them during PST as I have yet to take an official one, but im pretty sure you can and I think you wear them in the navy during your PST there and other swims you must complete


          • #6
            I appreciate the advice gentlemen. MadDog: I see what you are referring to. I actually do that on purpose. Don Walsh did a DVD and he instructed it to be done in this way. I am looking for a balance between the turn completely to the bottom, and the stay on the side 100% technique. I appreciate the input. And I am getting a pair soon!


            • #7
              Jammers are allowed on PSTs but if you are like me wear a speedo and feel the speed!


              • #8
                A lot of good stuff pointed out already.

                1 - Inconsistency. No double arm pull on the turn. You either do it all the time or not at all, but whichever, that decision will be based on a good reason, not randomness or whimsy.

                2 - The problem with the top arm is that it's never hitting a streamline in the stroke. The top arm is rushing up to slightly over the head and immediately pulling before it hits full extension. Substantially so. It's leaving that remainder of uncaught water on the table as potential that's never realized.

                3 - I really don't like what the legs are doing after and in between kicks. That's not productive. When I see that, almost 100% of the time it's bad balance compensation. Work on the balance drills from the official video. Balance in the water is EXTREMELY subtle and it will take a long time to truly feel it, and then be able to tune it with very slight adjustments. The other reason I see that you are doing all that crazy-legs is that you are trying to artificially extend the stroke cycle by kicking like that in between strokes.

                All this is way more expensive than a good, effective scissor kick, and your run is going to suffer if you keep this strategy. Put the effort into ONE good scissor kick and get the distance out of it instead of 20 of those very ineffective little ones.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by scott1995 View Post
                  Jammers are allowed on PSTs but if you are like me wear a speedo and feel the speed!