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View Full Version : Noticing more frequent use of grab starts in Beijing...



Spock
August 14th, 2008, 04:15 AM
Notably by the Chinese female swimmer, and it's combined with tremendous water entries and SDK's ... I'd say almost Coughlin caliber underwaters and theyr'e coming up on the fielkd, but no one is talking about it.

Look at their entries in the 200 free. In the 100, Pang jumped so take her slight reaction time out of it and she still is well up after the SDK's.

Notice also that Lenton of Australia used the conventional grab start, as do several other of her country women.

In one particular Chinese sprinter (Le?), she squats with her but down quite low for her stance, which would seem very slow off the block. At 15 meters though she is ahead.

Any thoughts?

Paul Smith
August 14th, 2008, 10:25 AM
Old School Baby! Commings, JS....were trend setters!

Oh wait...Jeff just decided....6 years to late...to start using a grab start!

JC..did you happen to notice how many evil strokers were wearing either leggings or full body suits?

born2fly
August 14th, 2008, 02:54 PM
What, a grab start is old school? No way, old school is toes wrapped around end of block, body slightly leaned forward, head looking forward and the arms in the classic back position like the butterfly recovery. At least thats the pic I have me in team picture of me when I was 6, oh, and also sporting the Spitz stars and strip suit!

breastroker
August 15th, 2008, 02:51 AM
In 2004 wrote an article " Is the Grab Start Dead" that was published in the American Swimming Magazine (ASCA Coaches magazine). basically I counted nearly every start of every race in the 2004 USA Olympics Trials.

Rowdy keeps talking about the reaction time, but really what is important is NOT the reaction time but the time to 15 meters. This time is recorded in every World championship and Olympics. Many times the people and countries that use the grab start end up ahead at the 15 meters mark!

The track start just is a big equalizer, no body gets a lead, except for the reaction time. A couple of thousands of reaction time does not make up for the couple of tenths loss at the 15 meter mark.

quicksilver
August 15th, 2008, 12:13 PM
There were more than a few grab starters in the 50 prelims.
They rocketed out of the breakout right along side every single track starter.

Big props to Roland for doing so well.
He too went off with a two legged grab start.

As Wayne said...it's still alive and well.
The force generated from two legs seems to offset any gain by the speedier reaction time of the track start.

tjburk
August 15th, 2008, 12:43 PM
In 2004 wrote an article " Is the Grab Start Dead" that was published in the American Swimming Magazine (ASCA Coaches magazine). basically I counted nearly every start of every race in the 2004 USA Olympics Trials.

Rowdy keeps talking about the reaction time, but really what is important is NOT the reaction time but the time to 15 meters. This time is recorded in every World championship and Olympics. Many times the people and countries that use the grab start end up ahead at the 15 meters mark!

The track start just is a big equalizer, no body gets a lead, except for the reaction time. A couple of thousands of reaction time does not make up for the couple of tenths loss at the 15 meter mark.

Absolutely agree....I still teach a type of the Keyhole drive with a two footed start....specially for BR and FL......it's not how fast you get off the blocks it's your time to 15 M that matters.......

I prove it to the kids in practice by doing it with them...very few can beat me off the start.....

Spock
August 15th, 2008, 01:16 PM
Big props to Roland for doing so well.
He too went off with a two legged grab start.




You don't mean Schoeman do you (RSA)? He uses a classic "catapult" track start with slight back lean and straight arms. He was first to 15m ahead of Bernard and Sullivan and still has the best start in the world IMHO.

quicksilver
August 15th, 2008, 01:50 PM
You don't mean Schoeman do you (RSA)?

It looked like Schoeman at the start.

Must have been someone very tall right next to him. (They were all suited up with black LZR's.)
Anyway there were at least 2 guys in his heat using the grab start...and they all broke out at about the same spot.

breastroker
August 17th, 2008, 01:28 AM
Wow, now that I have finally seen the womens 50 meter freestyle race, notice 50% of the sprinters did the grab start!! That is the highest percentage in all of the Olympic swimming for 2008.

Four swimmers, including the winner Steffen, Tricket (AUS) and both of the Dutch girls used the grab start. None of this foolish reaction crap, the grab start gets you out faster to 15 meters than any other start.

Also finally got the web site up again with my article "Is the Grab Start Dead in US Swimming?" from the 2005 American Swimming Magazine (ASCA Coaches)

The rest of the world understands if you have a great start, use the grab start. The track start is for slow starters.

smontanaro
August 17th, 2008, 08:13 AM
Can someone describe the difference? I thought basically everyone was grabbing the blocks and had one foot behind the other. Wouldn't that be a grab track start? I must be missing something very obvious.

S

tomtopo
August 17th, 2008, 08:55 AM
In 2004 wrote an article " Is the Grab Start Dead" that was published in the American Swimming Magazine (ASCA Coaches magazine). basically I counted nearly every start of every race in the 2004 USA Olympics Trials.

Rowdy keeps talking about the reaction time, but really what is important is NOT the reaction time but the time to 15 meters. This time is recorded in every World championship and Olympics. Many times the people and countries that use the grab start end up ahead at the 15 meters mark!

The track start just is a big equalizer, no body gets a lead, except for the reaction time. A couple of thousands of reaction time does not make up for the couple of tenths loss at the 15 meter mark.



Well said. When our swimmers train, we use the Hillmen Breakout Comparison Chart that objectively measures how fast they are. If we find significant best times coming from one start over another or other variables, the swimmers use what gives them the best time. You can use the chart for starts and turns.

LindsayNB
August 17th, 2008, 09:13 AM
Can someone describe the difference? I thought basically everyone was grabbing the blocks and had one foot behind the other. Wouldn't that be a grab track start? I must be missing something very obvious.

S

In the grab start both feet are at the front of the block, in the track start one is at the front, one at the back.

Track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfbGnvu0Sr8
Grab: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0eT1rLt33g

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 17th, 2008, 10:16 AM
I think the grad has always really been faster but no one wanted to mention that because they thought the track start was cooler. the thing that drives me crazy is when the swimmer first goes backward then pushes forward. I think almost universally most track starters do this. I think with a track start, my center of gravity is off and where I lose a lot of energy as my back leg has to catch up with my body.

I'd like to hear from coaches about this.

tomtopo
August 17th, 2008, 11:14 AM
The variables each swimmer carries with them should require coaches to objectively evaluate all aspects of swimming including the start. A grab or track start with hands placed in different positions as well as head postions are neither faster or slower unless compared to each other and by each individual swimmer. Good luck and test away. The start that is fastest for you may be the slowest for another swimmer.

knelson
August 17th, 2008, 05:41 PM
I think the grad has always really been faster but no one wanted to mention that because they thought the track start was cooler.

I think it's more the fact that the track start allows you to get off the blocks faster and that's what people remember. As Wayne said, what's really important is what gets you to 15 meters fastest.

Allen Stark
August 23rd, 2008, 03:14 PM
I think the reason the track start got popular here is that,since you can use your arms for propulsion,it was good for guys with great upper body strength,with maybe not so good leg strength(many male 50 free sprinters.) If it was faster for the fastest swimmers I think the coaches thought it must be faster for everyone.Then they noticed that it was stable and the kids didn't false start,especially if they lean back to"slingshot"(even though that is probably the worst technique for most.)People with better leg power will be faster with the grab start.

breastroker
August 23rd, 2008, 08:12 PM
Allen,
Actually I think more like 1500 meter swimmers and 400 IMers doing a track start. Many europeans sprinters have used the 2 foot grab start with great success. Even their track start is different from the USA version.

The euro/aussie track start has the swimmer exploding forwards about a 40 to 45 degree angle to the water. They go up high like the grab start, go out farther, and always have a splash free entry.

The USA track start just allows the swimmer to fall into the water, at the 2004 Olympic trials the women were about 12 to 18 inches beyond the T at the bottom of the pool. That T is 6' 7" from the wall. There is no attempt to gain either heighth or distance. Just getting into the water with minimum splash.

I have seen 12-15 year old boys go 14 feet off the starting blocks, at a starting clinic. Even fat, OLD me did 13 to 14 feet!

Popov and Mark Foster both used the grab start, and used their great starts to have LONG swimming success.

I have a great photo from the 2004 Olympic trials, it captured all 8 swimmers at the exact point they were starting to enter the water, after ALL had used the track start. No one had an advantage.

Going back to Steve Lundquist, he often had a 4 to 6 FEET advantage over the other breaststrokers, due to his great start. THAT is what you can only get from the perfect GRAB start.

jjandfriends
August 23rd, 2008, 08:56 PM
I feel so much better now. After watching some swimming and seeing all those track starts, thought I'd have to learn a new start. I always did the grab start - long long ago - had a great coach tell me it was the best start and I never questioned him about it. So, looking forward to learning more but think my start will stay the same.

Thanks for all your wonderful opinions - its been a pleasure reading them and getting to know some of you in the meantime!

JJ

Glider
August 24th, 2008, 02:30 PM
Can you or anyone else describe the keyhole-dive grab start? Or better yet, point to any online instructions or videos?

Here's my questions:

1. What pushoff/lift angle should you be aiming for as you leave the blocks relative to the water line? Up (+ degrees)? Parallel (0)? Down (-)?

2. After the initial hand grab and feet push, do you immediately throw your hands forward? Or do you them leave them back a little initially and then come forward? (This seems to help keep my center of gravity lower in my body to help get me into a pike - see #3.)

3. So, the purpose of the pike is to set up the keyhole entry (IMO), right? I really struggle getting into that pike...Any tips or tricks to help. I've been told to throw your butt up, but anything else you teach to get it there?

4. Once your past the pike into a keyhole entry, what angle should you be at relative to the water line? (-45 degrees, -30 degrees - 0 degrees being parallel to the water)

5. What tips, tricks, thought processes do you have to do the scoop to get that extra little "kick" in?

I'd love some feedback, because I always seem to come up a half body-length behind the good ones on a breaststroke start...



Absolutely agree....I still teach a type of the Keyhole drive with a two footed start....specially for BR and FL......it's not how fast you get off the blocks it's your time to 15 M that matters.......

I prove it to the kids in practice by doing it with them...very few can beat me off the start.....

Shaman
August 24th, 2008, 02:43 PM
Paul Biedermann used a grab start in the 200 Free.

tjburk
August 24th, 2008, 08:05 PM
In a kind of unscientific explanation:

1. I usually have the kids aim for trying to dive over the flags.
2. Once at the apex of the dive, you can either pike....or as I do kind of bring the legs up like a frog kick...and kick down to the water.
3. Make a single hole with your hands and try and bring the rest of the body through that hole.
4. As the legs are entering the water snap the legs down almost like a dolphin kick (not like Kitajima who did it after he was in the water) to help propel you through the water.
5. Good streamline, pulldown with a dolphin kick.

Even before the dolphin kick I used to be able to get over half way in a 25 yard pool.

It is one of those things that is a lot easier to teach at the pool.
Hope this helps.....it does take some practice to get used to.

Glider
August 24th, 2008, 09:17 PM
Thanks, Tracy. You going to the Peachtree City Pentathlon? How about a grab start clinic?



In a kind of unscientific explanation:

1. I usually have the kids aim for trying to dive over the flags.
2. Once at the apex of the dive, you can either pike....or as I do kind of bring the legs up like a frog kick...and kick down to the water.
3. Make a single hole with your hands and try and bring the rest of the body through that hole.
4. As the legs are entering the water snap the legs down almost like a dolphin kick (not like Kitajima who did it after he was in the water) to help propel you through the water.
5. Good streamline, pulldown with a dolphin kick.

Even before the dolphin kick I used to be able to get over half way in a 25 yard pool.

It is one of those things that is a lot easier to teach at the pool.
Hope this helps.....it does take some practice to get used to.

tjburk
August 24th, 2008, 09:55 PM
As of Friday I am now waiting on having my shoulder (Rotator) cut on to fix it....I have to do a couple of other tests first so I am hoping to possibly be back in the water by Jan......we'll see.

breastroker
August 24th, 2008, 10:25 PM
Tracy, don't do it.

My right rotator has hurt since 1987! But as long as I can live with it and swim breaststroke I am happy NOT going under the knife.

One time I had a doctors physical, he notices my left pec muscle was close to on inch thicker than the right one. I had to laugh, it was from thousands of lengths of one armed (left one didn't hurt) butterfly. I did do some right armed ones , just not often. I go to bed with a SalonPas on the shoulder, and take glucosamine for my knees and shoulder. Some days I have to take naprosim.

Good luck.

kellys
August 24th, 2008, 11:41 PM
I agree with breastroker as well. There has been research conducted that shows people who get to the 15 meter mark first have the better start. It does not necessarily matter which start you use.

On the team that I coach, the swimmers use the start that works best for them. The track start seems to get you off the blocks quicker but the grab start can result in a better takeoff from the block.

tjburk
August 25th, 2008, 10:09 AM
Tracy, don't do it.

My right rotator has hurt since 1987! But as long as I can live with it and swim breaststroke I am happy NOT going under the knife.

One time I had a doctors physical, he notices my left pec muscle was close to on inch thicker than the right one. I had to laugh, it was from thousands of lengths of one armed (left one didn't hurt) butterfly. I did do some right armed ones , just not often. I go to bed with a SalonPas on the shoulder, and take glucosamine for my knees and shoulder. Some days I have to take naprosim.

Good luck.

Wayne thanks....but as of right now I can barely use it at all. Tucking my shirt in hurts. Tried Physical Therapy for a while....Cortisone shot a month ago...it's been hurting for almost a year now and is slowly getting worse.

Been taking Glucosamine/Chondroitin regularly which helps my neck and my jaw (TMJ)....but right now I can barely put my arm up over my head and straighten it.....MRI shows a pretty good tear that they want to fix.....

3strokes
August 25th, 2008, 10:41 AM
In a kind of unscientific explanation:

1. I usually have the kids aim for trying to dive over the flags.



That's the trick (at least in the swimmer's head, with a clean one-hole entry).
A trajectory of a projectile at a 45 degree angle will go farthest for the same amount of force.

bcm119
August 25th, 2008, 12:11 PM
My college coach would hold a broomstick out while we practiced starts and we'd have to clear it each time as he held it a little farther away every start. Guys who did track starts had a much harder time getting their feet over the stick.
If done correctly I don't think a track start is a liability, but I don't think it is an inherent advantage either. I prefer a grab start, as a track start feels like I'm just falling into the water with little forward speed.

Glider
August 25th, 2008, 06:02 PM
That's a bummer, especially since we still have a 50 BR gridge to settle. I hope all goes well.


As of Friday I am now waiting on having my shoulder (Rotator) cut on to fix it....I have to do a couple of other tests first so I am hoping to possibly be back in the water by Jan......we'll see.

tjburk
August 25th, 2008, 07:17 PM
I'd love to get down to a mid to high 29 for SCY......maybe next year!!!!

Allen Stark
August 25th, 2008, 08:52 PM
Can you or anyone else describe the keyhole-dive grab start? Or better yet, point to any online instructions or videos?

Here's my questions:

1. What pushoff/lift angle should you be aiming for as you leave the blocks relative to the water line? Up (+ degrees)? Parallel (0)? Down (-)?

2. After the initial hand grab and feet push, do you immediately throw your hands forward? Or do you them leave them back a little initially and then come forward? (This seems to help keep my center of gravity lower in my body to help get me into a pike - see #3.)

3. So, the purpose of the pike is to set up the keyhole entry (IMO), right? I really struggle getting into that pike...Any tips or tricks to help. I've been told to throw your butt up, but anything else you teach to get it there?

4. Once your past the pike into a keyhole entry, what angle should you be at relative to the water line? (-45 degrees, -30 degrees - 0 degrees being parallel to the water)

5. What tips, tricks, thought processes do you have to do the scoop to get that extra little "kick" in?

I'd love some feedback, because I always seem to come up a half body-length behind the good ones on a breaststroke start...

1) not too high,about 20 degrees.
2)really what ever works for you,what you do with your arms in the air does very little,except change body alignment.
3) this is where the hands make some difference,don't extend them all the way forward and follow them into the keyhole.
4)about 45 degrees
5) I don't think you really want to do this in BR(I know some people disagree) I think you want to be fairly deep to maximize your pullout distance.

breastroker
August 25th, 2008, 09:21 PM
Tracy,

I always look for the positive.

Actually the shoulder could be a way to get faster. Once you can get yourself into the water with one hand/arm, you can do lots of laps butterfly kick, breast kick on the back, several kicks underwater, and best of all, my all time favorite gruesome, horrible painful forwards eggbeater!!!

Remember what doesn't kill you makes you stronger :)

I guarrantee you a faster 50 time by starting to do one length forwards eggbeater, all out, gut busting, fast as humanly possible pumping of the legs, for just one length (25) per workout. After a month of this, faithfully, do two lengths per workouts. By SCY Nationals your legs will be faster, more explosive and you will have your best time:weightlifter:

The worst drills I have ever seen are when breaststrokers are made to hold weights in the pool when doing eggbeater. This is just training the slow twitch muscles and is a total waste of time. You want the legs stronger, do squats and tow lifts on land. You can also do this while the shoulder is in the sling and on the mend.

Also try lots of underwaters, kicking as long and as far as you can. Eventually build up to over a length underwater. You have to train your lungs, body and MIND together to make the race underwaters easy.

I had not worked out for nearly 3 years, couple of weeks ago I easily went 15 yards from a pushoff the whole workout. Plus I was really really big then. No slim jim now but at least 16 pounds lighter I went 16 yards last week. I am not like a dolphin, more like a great BIG Killer whale. Only 38 seconds for a push, got to get that down to 32 by next SCY Nats. Might not beat Strand, but a 30 from a dive might get second. Got to goal set.

You need to set some goals to make all the pain you will go through bearable.

You might take a trip to Lost Wages where I live and I could give you a little clinic. Always good to have someone else look at your stroke.

tjburk
August 25th, 2008, 09:42 PM
Wayne, thanks! Sounds like a lot of the drills and stuff my high school coach had me do back in So Cal. Kane Waggoner was the best coach I have ever been around. During high school season last year....I had the kids doing eggbeaters and vertical kicks too.....weights for only a few that could handle it.....I think that is one of the drills that a lot of coaches overlook, specially for Breaststrokers.

Looking at getting back in the water sometime this week and at least start doing kick stuff again. My biggest problem lately has been energy level....but I need to get back in and do something.

Thanks again.....