My Top 5 Pattern Tips for Choreography

When it comes to choreographing patterns for your routine I want you to consider my 5 suggestions:

1.  Plan Ahead  

Plan out your patterns BEFORE practice.  Ideally, you would plan out all the patterns for your routine ahead of time.  Planning ahead will make your practice efficient.  You can even use the initials of each swimmer in your patterns.  Naming the swimmers in pattern will help your swimmers know what to do during choreography.

2.  Avoid Repetition 

When you are planning your patterns, put a variety of patterns into your routine.  Too often routines have multiple rockets(x-mas trees), 3-2-3’s, and 2-2-2-2 patterns. Boring.  There are many great patterns you can use. IF you’re going to repeat a pattern try turning it 1/4.   Somehow make the pattern different from the last time you used it.  The Russians are great at doing this.  They have multiple 2-line patterns, but the choreography or the direction of the pattern is always different.

3. Relatively Balance each Lap

Routines that have a relatively balanced number of patterns per lap are more enjoyable for me to watch.  The balance makes the routine flow better.  By balance, I am also referring to the distance covered and the time of each lap.  Again, the Russian team is fantastic at this.  In their 2011 free team, the laps are close to the same in distance covered, time and patterns.  The only lap that is not similar is the last lap.  Although, the last lap is proportional when compared to the rest of the routine.

4. Use all Types of Pattern Changes

Have pattern changes on the surface, underwater, AND during figures. It is unnecessary to split up the pattern changes to 33% underwater, 33% on the surface and 33% in figures.  A few of each pattern change will suffice.  If you have a beginner team, ignore this suggestion because you will lose marks for poorly executed pattern changes.

5.  Clear and Logical Pattern Changes

Design pattern changes that are easily understood.  If the pattern change is not clear, experiment with different options.  Try different swimmers executing the pattern change, try a different starting pattern, try a different ending pattern, do the pattern change underwater or sometimes changing the synchronization can fix the problem.

Watch the 2011 Russian Free Team with these suggestions.  What do you think?

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Includes all pattern changes and swimmer positions.