On our main stroke rate page we explained why gliding is a bad thing for your swimming. It causes dead spots and it causes you to slow between strokes.
Well, here's another reason why it's bad. It's a very hard thing to do! Gliding along on your side with one arm in front takes a huge amount of balance and skill.
If you lose your balance on your side, we guarantee something will happen - you'll develop a scissor kick. It's your body's natural reaction to keep your balance.
Scissor kicks are like opening a parachute at the back of your stroke!
One solution to this is to spend hundreds of hours working on your balance in the water. Of course after this you'd still have a dead spot, decelerate between strokes and probably lose fitness from a lack of training.
Or you could lift your stroke rate a touch, stop gliding and focus instead on the business of swimming.
We've fixed many scissor kicks caused by gliding in this way. It doesn't take hundreds of hours either, with a Wetronome it takes a few minutes. Bonus!
Here's something interesting about stroke rate.
It's well known in the elite swimming and triathlon world that low strokes are bad news in open water. You are very prone to being stalled by chop, waves and shifting currents.
A small wave or a push from another competitor can stop you dead during a pause in your stroke.
The solution? Increase your stroke rate and remove the dead spots Elite triathletes often switch to higher stroke rate styles in open water for exactly this reason.
Find out more about open water and triathlon swimming.