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View Full Version : Overextension - fault or not



LindsayNB
August 7th, 2008, 12:46 PM
In this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SVfLvO5Z0M
Dave Scott talks about four common faults:

head position
overreaching
overextension
dropped elbow


In this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm-vSqlWmgs
the videographer analyzes Ian Thorpe's stroke, and while I disagree with much of his analysis it is great slow motion video of Thorpe.

BUT, Thorpe enters his right arm fully extended with the elbow and forearm actually entering the water just before the hand does, see attached video frames. This is exactly what Dave Scott describes as overextension.

I am wondering whether it actually makes any difference how you enter the arm if you are fully extending the arm before starting the catch?

mctrusty
August 7th, 2008, 01:14 PM
In this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SVfLvO5Z0M
Dave Scott talks about four common faults:
head position
overreaching
overextension
dropped elbow
In this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm-vSqlWmgs
the videographer analyzes Ian Thorpe's stroke, and while I disagree with much of his analysis it is great slow motion video of Thorpe.

BUT, Thorpe enters his right arm fully extended with the elbow and forearm actually entering the water just before the hand does, see attached video frames. This is exactly what Dave Scott describes as overextension.

I am wondering whether it actually makes any difference how you enter the arm if you are fully extending the arm before starting the catch?

The end of that second video is trippy. It's like the matrix, man.

That aside, if you look at 8 swimmers, you'll see 8 different entry points. That's really one of those things that you have to test to see what works best for you.

knelson
August 7th, 2008, 01:41 PM
I think it's a fault. Just try to put your arm straight out like Thorpe's and then bring it down as in a catch compared with doing the same thing with a slightly bent elbow. I think you'll notice much more power with the elbow slightly bent because you're employing the pecs.

abc
August 7th, 2008, 01:50 PM
One of worst things I've noticed in masters swimmers is head position. They always run into objects that are directly in their path because most of them are probably looking all the way back to their feet. I have no idea why this is so common amongst us old people. If you stop in the lane, you will get run into b/c the person behind isn't actually looking at what's ahead. Even at the end of a swim when your standing at the wall you will get run into b/c they are loking down and back. Basically, at all of my masters practices, you will get run into. In college, this was never an issue b/c we didn't bury our heads. It's like people are swimming drunk out there. How can you possibly swim freestyle and not know what's in front of you? Do some good today and tell a fellow master's swimmer to pull their head out of their *ss. The life you save just might be your own.

LindsayNB
August 7th, 2008, 02:02 PM
That aside, if you look at 8 swimmers, you'll see 8 different entry points. That's really one of those things that you have to test to see what works best for you.

That's my thinking as well, my point was really that if it works for Ian Thorpe it shouldn't really be considered a fault that needs to be fixed.


I think it's a fault. Just try to put your arm straight out like Thorpe's and then bring it down as in a catch compared with doing the same thing with a slightly bent elbow. I think you'll notice much more power with the elbow slightly bent because you're employing the pecs.

But isn't that something that can happen after the extension rather than before? I'm thinking that if you are going to reach to full extension it doesn't really matter a lot how you get there, what matters is how you bend your elbow coming out of the extension? Do you keep your elbow slightly bent even when your arm is fully extended or do you extend and then bend?

knelson
August 7th, 2008, 02:02 PM
How can you possibly swim freestyle and not know what's in front of you?

I've got to disagree with you. I think ideally your head should be in line with your spine and that means looking directly down at the bottom of the pool. If you do this it's very difficult to look straight ahead. If anything I think swimmers (all swimmers, not just masters) have a tendency to look forward a little too much--simply because they want to look ahead even though it compromises body position a little bit.

taruky
August 7th, 2008, 02:06 PM
I think that the Thorpe video is a little misleading, because you don't get a great view of when exactly his hands go in when you are looking from below. After literally tens of hours reviewing Thorpe's videos, I have become the foremost expert at knowing the nuances of his stroke while failing miserably to emulate it. :D Check out this video, and you'll see that he does in fact get his hand into the water before full extension. This is one of my favorite Thorpe videos, the guy has an unbelievably smooth and relaxed stroke.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcCP_SLvNgw

knelson
August 7th, 2008, 02:08 PM
Do you keep your elbow slightly bent even when your arm is fully extended or do you extend and then bend?

See, that's the thing. I don't think you should really extend fully. It's sort of like extending the finish of the pull down past your hips, you just aren't getting much extra propulsion during those last few inches and maybe you should just think about recovering the arm at the hip instead of past it.

LindsayNB
August 7th, 2008, 02:17 PM
This is one of my favorite Thorpe videos, the guy has an unbelievably smooth and relaxed stroke.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcCP_SLvNgw

Well, I would argue that that is not his racing stroke, he's doing a nice relaxed demonstration of breathing. It is of course possible that the other clips are from the end of some race where he's exhausted and his technique is falling apart, but I suspect not.

And yes, it is a bit hard to tell exactly when the hands enter watching the video, even in slow motion, but I watched it frame by frame and it isn't hard to see that way. Look at the images I attached to the first post, one is the frame before his hand enters, the second is the frame after.

Oh, and by the way, see the guy at the very end of the second video, although I wouldn't say he has good form if you watch the way he is trying to put a lot of effort into the pull you can imagine that he is probably puffing and panting by the time he finishes a 50, a bit of what I was trying to get at in the other thread - it's like he is trying to climb a hill in a high gear by extreme application of force.

abc
August 7th, 2008, 02:21 PM
I've got to disagree with you. I think ideally your head should be in line with your spine and that means looking directly down at the bottom of the pool. If you do this it's very difficult to look straight ahead. If anything I think swimmers (all swimmers, not just masters) have a tendency to look forward a little too much--simply because they want to look ahead even though it compromises body position a little bit.

This is what I'm talking about people. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

knelson
August 7th, 2008, 02:32 PM
I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

It's not clear to me that you're not.

taruky
August 7th, 2008, 02:32 PM
Well, I would argue that that is not his racing stroke, he's doing a nice relaxed demonstration of breathing. It is of course possible that the other clips are from the end of some race where he's exhausted and his technique is falling apart, but I suspect not.

And yes, it is a bit hard to tell exactly when the hands enter watching the video, even in slow motion, but I watched it frame by frame and it isn't hard to see that way. Look at the images I attached to the first post, one is the frame before his hand enters, the second is the frame after.

Oh, and by the way, see the guy at the very end of the second video, although I wouldn't say he has good form if you watch the way he is trying to put a lot of effort into the pull you can imagine that he is probably puffing and panting by the time he finishes a 50, a bit of what I was trying to get at in the other thread - it's like he is trying to climb a hill in a high gear by extreme application of force.

Here's him doing a 200 M race (Australian trials). Shows him from different views. Your point about the overextended arm (prior to water entry) being a sign of fatigue might be valid.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXb49kbeZZA&feature=related

LindsayNB
August 7th, 2008, 02:33 PM
See, that's the thing. I don't think you should really extend fully. It's sort of like extending the finish of the pull down past your hips, you just aren't getting much extra propulsion during those last few inches and maybe you should just think about recovering the arm at the hip instead of past it.

So maybe we can say that if one is using a style where one fully extends before the pull then it isn't really a fault to fully extend prior to hand entry? It does seem to me that Thorpe does fully extend each arm, do you want to call that a fault in his stroke? The way I would expect it to be explained is more in reference to streamlining than propulsion, and that little period of extension might be filling in a little gap to make the timing of the rest of the stroke all fit together sort of the way that some people enter their hands closer together and then outsweep when swimming fly, they aren't getting much propulsion but the time that bit of outsweep takes makes their overall timing work. Then again you can argue that they ought to adjust the rest of their timing to allow their arms to move into a propulsive phase more quickly...

ehoch
August 7th, 2008, 02:34 PM
This is what I'm talking about people. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

You are not taking crazy pills - you are just wrong. If you swim Freestyle and you see what is happening in front of you, either your head is too high or you are playing waterpolo.

taruky
August 7th, 2008, 02:34 PM
I've got to disagree with you. I think ideally your head should be in line with your spine and that means looking directly down at the bottom of the pool. If you do this it's very difficult to look straight ahead. If anything I think swimmers (all swimmers, not just masters) have a tendency to look forward a little too much--simply because they want to look ahead even though it compromises body position a little bit.

Thorpe definitely is looking forward when he swims. I've always wondered how he does that.

abc
August 7th, 2008, 02:40 PM
I now understand that masters swimmers actually believe they are supposed to be looking at the bottom of the pool. I guess I will just have to get used to the collisions and start swimming with a helmet and shoulder pads :).

LindsayNB
August 7th, 2008, 02:48 PM
Here's him doing a 200 M race (Australian trials). Shows him from different views. Your point about the overextended arm (prior to water entry) being a sign of fatigue might be valid.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXb49kbeZZA&feature=related

Check out the slow motion of the breakout and following few strokes around the 5:30 mark in the video, his right arm is very near to full extension when the hand enters. Nothing like the earlier video where he was entering with his arm at a much steeper angle.

That said, one has to remember that even for a single swimmer the stroke will vary with the distance being swum, his 100m or 200m stroke isn't identical to how he swims in the 800m.

knelson
August 7th, 2008, 02:53 PM
That said, one has to remember that even for a single swimmer the stroke will vary with the distance being swum, his 100m or 200m stroke isn't identical to how he swims in the 800m.

I think this might be a key point. I think fully extending the arm is much more of a distance stroke where you are trying to maximize the glide. Sprinters probably want to get their arm in the water in a matter where they can begin the catch as soon as possible and I think that translates to not fully extending the arm.

mctrusty
August 7th, 2008, 02:55 PM
One of worst things I've noticed in masters swimmers is head position. They always run into objects that are directly in their path because most of them are probably looking all the way back to their feet. I have no idea why this is so common amongst us old people. If you stop in the lane, you will get run into b/c the person behind isn't actually looking at what's ahead. Even at the end of a swim when your standing at the wall you will get run into b/c they are loking down and back. Basically, at all of my masters practices, you will get run into. In college, this was never an issue b/c we didn't bury our heads. It's like people are swimming drunk out there. How can you possibly swim freestyle and not know what's in front of you? Do some good today and tell a fellow master's swimmer to pull their head out of their *ss. The life you save just might be your own.

You shouldn't be stopping in the lane or standing at the wall in other swimmers' paths. The courteous thing to do is get out of the way let them finish to the wall.

I guess Phelps is drunk all the time, since he buries his head. That's the secret!

mctrusty
August 7th, 2008, 02:56 PM
I now understand that masters swimmers actually believe they are supposed to be looking at the bottom of the pool. I guess I will just have to get used to the collisions and start swimming with a helmet and shoulder pads :).

When I was in college, it was considered good form to have your head up. Now it's considered good form to look down at the bottom and I have to say that I agree with that. It sure feels smoother. Things change.

Also I find that unless I'm really zoning out I can feel when someone is close enough in front of me when my head is down -- even if they're stopped.

Iwannafly
August 7th, 2008, 03:13 PM
I now understand that masters swimmers actually believe they are supposed to be looking at the bottom of the pool. I guess I will just have to get used to the collisions and start swimming with a helmet and shoulder pads :).

I think you'll have a difficult time finding many coaches who agree with your definition of proper head position abc! Even collegiate coaches!

pwolf66
August 7th, 2008, 03:45 PM
I am still fighting to keep my head down. Nothing like trying to overcome 15 years of 'have the water break on your forehead' programming. Gah.

thewookiee
August 7th, 2008, 03:46 PM
One of worst things I've noticed in masters swimmers is head position. They always run into objects that are directly in their path because most of them are probably looking all the way back to their feet. I have no idea why this is so common amongst us old people. If you stop in the lane, you will get run into b/c the person behind isn't actually looking at what's ahead. Even at the end of a swim when your standing at the wall you will get run into b/c they are loking down and back. Basically, at all of my masters practices, you will get run into. In college, this was never an issue b/c we didn't bury our heads. It's like people are swimming drunk out there. How can you possibly swim freestyle and not know what's in front of you? Do some good today and tell a fellow master's swimmer to pull their head out of their *ss. The life you save just might be your own.


People shouldn't looking at their feet BUT they should definitly be looking more at the bottom of the pool than at the wall they are swimming towards.
You must not have been following the change in head position over the last several years. You won't find many, if any that agree with looking at the far wall anymore.

marksman
August 7th, 2008, 04:00 PM
The head is bouyant I think? Brain tissue is mostly fat. Perhaps just resting the head on the water would be natural.

I tend to tense my neck up though. It's unnecessary and causes me neck pain during long workouts.

I'm still unnecessarily tense in the water in general I suspect. Rather painful way to train.

geochuck
August 7th, 2008, 04:19 PM
The head is bouyant only if you are an airhead.

Head positon of a floater will be diferrent then the head position of a sinker.

The biggest problem that hapens with over extention is, elbow dropping.

There is no catchall head position. Head up slightly will sometimes lift the legs. Head down will sometimes be okay. Some times if the head is up slightly the wole body sinks. The same with head to low the legs can sink.

scyfreestyler
August 7th, 2008, 05:11 PM
I don't know how head position relates specifically to elbows, but it's pretty easy to prove to yourself that having your head high will result in a lowering of your hips.

abc
August 7th, 2008, 06:05 PM
To each his own. If it works for you then do it. I don't buy that this is what they're teaching now at the elite college programs. I might buy it if it were on sale, but even then, it would have to be at a good discount. If you have Spidey Sense and can avoid running into me, that's all that I ask :).

ourswimmer
August 7th, 2008, 06:42 PM
I now understand that masters swimmers actually believe they are supposed to be looking at the bottom of the pool. I guess I will just have to get used to the collisions and start swimming with a helmet and shoulder pads :).

Alternatively, you could try (1) keeping to the right, including pushing off the wall after a turn on your new right, which was your left before you turned; (2) making sure you are in the correct lane for your speed and in the correct place in your lane, behind faster people and in front of slower people; (3) leaving five seconds between you and the person in front of you; (4) not stopping mid-length; (5) keeping to the far left corner of the lane if you stop at the wall mid-swim (the side you came in on) so that people who are going to turn rather than stop can come in and turn and push off to their right; and (6) paying attention to your peripheral vision.

If you are not doing all six of these things, then you are to blame for most if not all of the collisions you are in. You are also impairing your teammates' efforts to practice proper head position because they are constantly having to look around anxiously to see where you are.

BUT: Sorry, Lindsay, for contributing to a hijack of your thread. Seems to me that the "overextension" that Dave is talking about is what happens when people try to feel as if they are reaching out really far, but actually they are not rolling enough: They cross over the midline and wind up fishtailing. I don't think it is a function of hand/arm entry position as much as of torso rotation.

thewookiee
August 7th, 2008, 08:28 PM
To each his own. If it works for you then do it. I don't buy that this is what they're teaching now at the elite college programs. I might buy it if it were on sale, but even then, it would have to be at a good discount. If you have Spidey Sense and can avoid running into me, that's all that I ask :).



Well, why don't ya go watch some videos with Richard Quick, David Marsh and some videos produced by Glenn Mills at GoSwim.tv

They ALL talk about head position being in line with the spine, looking at the bottom of the pool.

But, as you said, to each his own.

geochuck
August 7th, 2008, 09:47 PM
I think Glenn would ask some to raise their head if it was to low in the water and vice versa at times. I would rather hear his comment on head position.

When I watched some videos of Terry he does not always follow his own rules about head position when he is racing circumstances do change the situation.

Looking at the bottom is not swimming with your head completely under water. Some will swim with the head higher then others and some will swim with the head lower.

I also would not put words in Richard Quicks mouth about what he says. He could be asking a swimmer to lower his head when it is too high. I am sure he would also ask somone with their head too low in the water to raise the head.

The head, the body and the legs must always be kept as far as possible within streamline positions.

3strokes
August 7th, 2008, 10:41 PM
:D Check out this video, and you'll see that he does in fact get his hand into the water before full extension. This is one of my favorite Thorpe videos, the guy has an unbelievably smooth and relaxed stroke.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcCP_SLvNgw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcCP_SLvNgw)

This one as well (it's way too short a clip at 7") but it shows his hand first, elbow high entry then into extension. And when really accelerates and goes for it, he will get a bit of that bobbing motion (very noticeable in Phelps). His head will not be in a straight line with his body axis; he won't be looking down at the bottom of the pool but slightly ahead and his power is such that he's riding high (the small of his back would be dry if it weren't for his roll).

In all the "real" races Videos (as opposed to "demo" and "training" videos), he's always swimming with pure EVF although I'm under the impression that his right elbow EVFs just a bit more than his left. I've tried compensating for camera angles, but it's just my impression.

Moreover, Thorpe's longitudinal (long) axis is never a straight line
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2WKRkxeFLc&feature=related
and look where he's looking and where the water level is.

cantwait4bike
August 8th, 2008, 01:24 PM
back to your original question on over extension (assuming head is in correct position).......i have been trying to slightly increase my arm extension out in front and it seems to help with a more forceful body rotation and a higher angle of rotation (ship vs barge). also seem to be able to get into a rhythm better......:dunno: