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taruky
August 21st, 2008, 07:09 PM
So I finally got some video of myself and my son up. This is the first time I'm seeing myself swim, and I'm horrified, lol.
My self-critique: Elbows not high enough, not extending arms very well, arms crossing midline a little on extension, and extending hand almost pushing water a little. Please feel free to add anything, and I'd appreciate advice on drills to address my specific weaknesses (and my son's).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk52yXWrz2I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHbLKRRMYWE

My son's critique: Elbows drop some, he tends to pull a little too much to the outside rather than down the middle, and his left arm tends to go left on extension. Believe it or not he's much faster than the last time I posted video, he's gotten his 25m time down to 26 sec from 45 when the season started. Please add anything.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVIQBXvQn20
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQN5aSog23w

Thanks guys.

Warren
August 21st, 2008, 08:29 PM
For your 8 year old son:

It would be easier to critique the stroke at race speed.

I like how he has the idea of rotating and catch. He does drop his elbow before he goes into the catch though and he rotates slow, there is no snap in his hips. I don't like the catch up style stroke, especially for the 25 free. He would get so much more power in his pull if he initiated the catch as his recovery hand came out of the water and used the momentum of his swinging recovery arm to snap his hips and pull through. It's the same concept as a basball swing, try swinging hard but moving your hips slow. You have to snap thoes hips quick.

And for the love of god, in a race you need to have a red ass to get to the other end of the pool. At 8 years old, there is alot of psychology involed. Kids really have to focus and put their mind to it to go fast. I think your son is physically capable of going a 23 right now becasue he stroke is not that bad.

Rob Copeland
August 21st, 2008, 09:39 PM
My advice for you for your sonís swimming. Leave the coaching to his coach and donít try to give him advice from others. It will only serve to confuse.

As for your stroke, Iíd focus more on the catch and early vertical forearm and the press.

Charge
August 21st, 2008, 10:05 PM
Your hands enter to close to your head and you end up pushing against the water to get them out in front of you to start the catch.

You also seem to have enough torso rotation but it does not seem to have a positive effect on your stroke. It looks you are pulling your arms out of the water by pulling your elbows over your back and then moving them forward. Try practicing a finger-tip drag, where you have high elbows and you fingertips drag underneath your elbow. Very high elbows, never going inside you torso.

pwolf66
August 21st, 2008, 10:23 PM
For you, finger tip drill, finger tip drill, finger tip drill.

LindsayNB
August 21st, 2008, 11:40 PM
I've attached some images that show some of the things you can work on.

In addition to the low elbows in the early part of your pull and the crossover, it looks like your hips are dropping as you extend and start your pull. The angles aren't ideal for figuring out the cause of your crossover but entering too close to your head is a good bet, the elbow looks quite bent on entry.

taruky
August 22nd, 2008, 12:08 AM
Your hands enter to close to your head and you end up pushing against the water to get them out in front of you to start the catch.

You also seem to have enough torso rotation but it does not seem to have a positive effect on your stroke. It looks you are pulling your arms out of the water by pulling your elbows over your back and then moving them forward. Try practicing a finger-tip drag, where you have high elbows and you fingertips drag underneath your elbow. Very high elbows, never going inside you torso.

Do you mean my recovery is not wide enough, i.e. my elbows should be out away from my body more?


My advice for you for your sonís swimming. Leave the coaching to his coach and donít try to give him advice from others. It will only serve to confuse.

Unfortunately the neighborhood swimming season is over and he doesn't have a coach now. I'm hoping to find someone good to give him personal lessons. During the past swim season they really didn't do much (if at all) stroke instruction, it was mostly "swim hard, stroke faster". My son made the biggest time improvements when I worked with him on keeping his hips up and feeling the water resisting his forearm on the pull. When he tries to maximize his stroke rate his time gets worse.

We have a good time swimming laps together, and right now we are both trying to improve. But I agree that he needs better instruction.

LindsayNB
August 22nd, 2008, 11:07 AM
The attached frame illustrates the problem, with your right arm more than your left arm you pull your elbow backwards until it is over your body and bent at 90 degrees and then bring it straight forward over your body. Note how high over the water your hand is. The fingertip drag drill will keep your hand just above the water, reducing the rotation and keeping the momentum of the hand straight forward, which, combined with reaching further forward, will stop it from swinging into a crossover.

Also, look at your legs in this image, they are way too far apart with too much bend at the waste and knees. This will probably be toned down somewhat when your rotation is reduced, but you could try to consciously use a small quick kick.

taruky
August 22nd, 2008, 11:41 AM
The attached frame illustrates the problem, with your right arm more than your left arm you pull your elbow backwards until it is over your body and bent at 90 degrees and then bring it straight forward over your body. Note how high over the water your hand is. The fingertip drag drill will keep your hand just above the water, reducing the rotation and keeping the momentum of the hand straight forward, which, combined with reaching further forward, will stop it from swinging into a crossover.

Also, look at your legs in this image, they are way too far apart with too much bend at the waste and knees. This will probably be toned down somewhat when your rotation is reduced, but you could try to consciously use a small quick kick.

Yeah, I see what you mean on the kick. I wonder if rotation primarily at the waist level while keeping my legs more vertical would work better for me. I know there are different schools of thought on this. The other thing with my kick, as I've mentioned before, is that I am totally lost on timing. I can do a two beat, where I basically downkick left rotate left, downkick right rotate right. But anything else feels awkward, to the extent that sometimes I feel like the lack of coordination between arms and legs affects my ability to keep the elbows high and catch water.

Do you think I'm overrotating, or is it just a matter of the recovery technique? You can see the degree of rotation in the underwater video. Perhaps doing the fingertip drill will lead me to the correct rotational degree as well.

LindsayNB
August 22nd, 2008, 11:47 AM
If you look at your son's left arm extension and pull you will see that he moves his hand outward and then back inward again and then starts his catch moving his hand outward again. Notice that as he starts his catch his hand is in a thumb up orientation as shown in the attached image. The thumbs up position makes it very easy to drop the elbow, and you can see just a hint of a dropped elbow already. For a high elbow catch you want the thumb rotated toward a downward position.

To see the effect of this rotation just extend your arm above your head with the palm facing inward and bring your hand down to shoulder level without thinking about the elbow position and you will get a "dropped elbow" position. Do the same thing with your palm rotated to the outside (most of the way, maybe 45 degrees from facing directly outward) and your elbow will naturally move to a high elbow position as you lower your hand.

In the second image notice how wide his hand position is, it would be better if instead of moving the hand way out he pulled straight back along a straight line back under the shoulder.

Also, you both need to get some jammers, how can your learn to glide through the water wearing parachute-like shorts?

LindsayNB
August 22nd, 2008, 11:53 AM
Do you think I'm overrotating, or is it just a matter of the recovery technique? You can see the degree of rotation in the underwater video. Perhaps doing the fingertip drill will lead me to the correct rotational degree as well.

There is a good chance that the fingertip drill will fix things, one thing at a time, master the finger tip drill (with a longer reach before entry) and then take another look to figure out what to work on next.

For the kick I would just use a small relaxed quick six beat kick for now. No use worrying about the integration with the front end if you are in the process of changing the front end. You could even work on the front end using a pull buoy if the kick is a distraction.

JMiller
August 22nd, 2008, 12:08 PM
You know, technical analysis is useful, but I'm not sure how much it would help to tell your son to improve this or that, because children are growing and they change. What is best? At this age, help them to improve the "feel" for the water, don't tell them what they need to fix, show them a video of a top swimmer that seems to emulate their natural tendencies. For your son, possibly KLIM or SULLIVAN, but showing Phelps could be useful as well, show them underwater video, and ask them to try and swim like that... Show your son the video of him swimming, and then show under-water of the best in the business. Let them learn. Even the best in the world have variations in their stroke patterns, from Klim to Popov, pick what works best for you.

If you absolutely feel the need to make verbal corrections, then use tactile words like, flow, heavy water, light water, pressure, catch the ball, hold the ball, push the ball. (in that order for freestyle) All these words help to develop kinesthetic awareness, which in my opinion, is the most important factor at that age.

geochuck
August 22nd, 2008, 12:11 PM
Changes take time and swimming does self correct if you keep it simple. A little bilateral breathing, a little catchup stroke, lots of streamline push offs, some kicking on the back arms extended above the head , or at your side sculling. Don't drop your elbows keep you elbows high during recovery, clean exits, clean entries, don't cross over during the pull phase, proper finish, don't cup your hands. Don't press your thumb on yourpointer finger causes tension,don't force your fingers together causes tension, use your big muscles in your back not just the tricpeps and biceps.

Next lesson tomorrow. Things do just fall into place??

taruky
August 22nd, 2008, 06:43 PM
Thanks everyone. Little update, today I pretty much swam freestyle with the fingertip drill the whole time. I tried to make sure my elbows were wider (i.e. outside my torso) while doing it. I'll have to get someone to take video again to see how it looked. One thing I also paid attention to was not crossing over on my extension, and boy could I feel the difference. My catch was much much better; it's hard to keep a high elbow when your extended arm crosses the midline.

Lindsay, I will most definitely get a couple jammers, I agree. I had previously noticed the difference with my son on days we worked out with and without his jammers, a difference of about 2-3 seconds on the 25. I think it's really important in swimming/stroke development to feel the speed and efficiency. I'm probably not getting the feedback from my parachutes when I do stumble across proper technique.

haffathot
August 22nd, 2008, 09:41 PM
The attached frame illustrates the problem, with your right arm more than your left arm you pull your elbow backwards until it is over your body and bent at 90 degrees and then bring it straight forward over your body.

Turuky,

hmm, i know i am late to the game, but it seems to me that a major problem is breathing. in the pic that Lindsay has attached to this critique, I think he is just catching you taking a breath. I think you and your son over-rotate your bodies when you breathe so that you can catch a little more air before going in. to top it off, you and your son are unilateral breathers. that's why your right arm slings back so far. practice bilateral breathing, and stop using breathing as a vacation. start thinking of breathing as something you slyly slip between strokes without creating an adverse effect on the timing and form of those strokes.

as for other issues, your son definitely pulls too far outside, but it seems that you are pulling straight down. you both should be pulling down your vertical mid-line. Yes, you need fingertip drill work and a further reach, and yes you also need to work on putting more push into your pull and using your hand and forearm as an oar to effect such.

as for kicking, i think you, and your son particularly, put too much of the burden of your kicks on the knee to toe action and not enough on the hip to knee motion. in other words, you guys need to use more of your legs when you kick. (please note, though, that doesn't mean that you should dig deep with your kicks, as kicks that dig deeper than your body depth will do nothing but slow you down.)

last, i agree with copeland that if your son is currently being coached on a swim team that you should be sure to work with the coach and not in competition with his efforts. mixed messages to your child will not improve his stroke. it will just split into two strokes that he demonstrates at different times depending on the audience.

--Sean

tomtopo
August 23rd, 2008, 09:37 AM
I've attached some images that show some of the things you can work on.

In addition to the low elbows in the early part of your pull and the crossover, it looks like your hips are dropping as you extend and start your pull. The angles aren't ideal for figuring out the cause of your crossover but entering too close to your head is a good bet, the elbow looks quite bent on entry.


I like how you thumbnail the pictures from the video. Is the process difficult. I'd like to learn. Thanks, Coach T.

LindsayNB
August 23rd, 2008, 10:53 AM
I like how you thumbnail the pictures from the video. Is the process difficult. I'd like to learn. Thanks, Coach T.

The thumbnails are actually generated by the message boards whenever you attach an image to a post.

I generally download the videos from youtube as a .mp4 file and open it in quicktime which makes it easy to view the video frame by frame. You can export frames from quicktime but I usually just do a window capture - in Windows just press Alt + Print Screen and then paste the image from the clipboard into an image viewer, IrfanView is free and good for simple editing.

LindsayNB
August 23rd, 2008, 11:03 AM
I'll have to get someone to take video again to see how it looked.

When you do, try to get some side shots. The underwater from the front view is good, from above water would also be good. I find the above water from behind to be one of the less helpful views, although in this case it showed problems with your kick I guess. Having both front and side shots makes it much easier to get a good idea of what is happening in three dimensions. An underwater side view is particularly good for evaluating arm position during the pull.

By the way, what approach did you find effective in eliminating your crossover? Extending further or conscious control or ?

geochuck
August 23rd, 2008, 11:50 AM
I like to follow the black line on the bottom of the pool to eliminate crossover. I would also like to hear how you eliminated the crossover.

tomtopo
August 23rd, 2008, 03:12 PM
The thumbnails are actually generated by the message boards whenever you attach an image to a post.

I generally download the videos from youtube as a .mp4 file and open it in quicktime which makes it easy to view the video frame by frame. You can export frames from quicktime but I usually just do a window capture - in Windows just press Alt + Print Screen and then paste the image from the clipboard into an image viewer, IrfanView is free and good for simple editing.

I'll start playing around with it. Thanks!

taruky
August 23rd, 2008, 03:22 PM
I'm posting more views from that same day (8/21). I had videotaped more views but didn't want to overwhelm people with too many. So here is a view approaching the camera and one from the side. I'll put up my "improved" stroke tomorrow.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cahebAK-54
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t52-HuK2lrw


What I did to eliminate the crossover was mentally imagine myself raising my hand straight up to ask a question (while rotated), almost like "oh oh Mr. Kattah". I also imagined that a line drawn along the lateral aspect of my right arm to my right leg and from my left arm to left leg would be pretty straight. Prior to that I was thinking too much in terms of hiding my arms in front of my head, trying to be too streamlined.

I'll try to get new video tomorrow. Obviously every problem won't be solved right away, but I hope the recovery arm and crossover problems will be better.

haffathot
August 23rd, 2008, 10:37 PM
yep. you definitely breathe only to the left side. that creates a certain unevenness in your stroke technique. you need to start breathing once every three strokes instead of once every two. right now, you do one stroke without breathing (your right) and one side with breathing (your left). that's a two stroke pattern. if you switch to an odd-numbered rhythm, like three strokes, then you would be forced to learn to breath on the other side every other set of three strokes. you would go right side without breathing, left side without breathing, right side with breathing, left side without breathing, right side without breathing, left side with breathing.

it will feel a lot like re-learning how to walk, and you will have to stick with it despite the obvious difficulty in relearning something you thought you had down. however, if you put yourself through the paces of relearning breathing to become an alternating breather, you will find that your stroke will naturally even out.

--Sean

Warren
August 24th, 2008, 12:06 AM
freestyle is not a mystery

geochuck
August 24th, 2008, 08:24 AM
I'm posting more views from that same day (8/21). I had videotaped more views but didn't want to overwhelm people with too many. So here is a view approaching the camera and one from the side. I'll put up my "improved" stroke tomorrow.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cahebAK-54
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t52-HuK2lrw

I have watched all of your videos and it seems you are in a rush to set a speed record. Slow down add some sculling front and back. Scull with your hands in front and at the sides. Get to feel the water, seems to me you are putting your hands in then trying to get them out before they get wet. Mix it up some 400s of aerobic swimming with a nice extention before you get to the catch. When you swim aerobically don't let your kick exit the water and relax the lower legs. Do a few sprints of 25s and 50s. Do a few dolpin jumps off the bottom of the pool and some streamline stuff.

taruky
August 24th, 2008, 09:26 AM
I have watched all of your videos and it seems you are in a rush to set a speed record. Slow down add some sculling front and back. Scull with your hands in front and at the sides. Get to feel the water, seems to me you are putting your hands in then trying to get them out before they get wet. Mix it up some 400s of aerobic swimming with a nice extention before you get to the catch. When you swim aerobically don't let your kick exit the water and relax the lower legs. Do a few sprints of 25s and 50s. Do a few dolpin jumps off the bottom of the pool and some streamline stuff.

Do you mean that I'm not holding the water long enough, i.e. slipping? Also, are you recommending a sculling drill (scull with both hands at the same time) or sculling as a part of the freestyle stroke? Thanks for the input. I'll try to mix it up more.

geochuck
August 24th, 2008, 09:54 AM
Do you mean that I'm not holding the water long enough, i.e. slipping? Also, are you recommending a sculling drill (scull with both hands at the same time) or sculling as a part of the freestyle stroke? Thanks for the input. I'll try to mix it up more.

Just sculling so you get the feel of the water.

You should put your hands in and they should almost exit in the same place they enter. I used to say hold onto the imaginary wall. Anchor your hand and hold onto the water don't try to bully the water.

Sculling from GoSwim http://www.goswim.tv/search?cx=007321278388630044201%3Agow8uksfuv8&cof=FORID%3A9&q=sculling&sa=Search#1124

LindsayNB
August 24th, 2008, 11:34 AM
I'm posting more views from that same day (8/21). I had videotaped more views but didn't want to overwhelm people with too many. So here is a view approaching the camera and one from the side. I'll put up my "improved" stroke tomorrow.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cahebAK-54
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t52-HuK2lrw


What I did to eliminate the crossover was mentally imagine myself raising my hand straight up to ask a question (while rotated), almost like "oh oh Mr. Kattah". I also imagined that a line drawn along the lateral aspect of my right arm to my right leg and from my left arm to left leg would be pretty straight. Prior to that I was thinking too much in terms of hiding my arms in front of my head, trying to be too streamlined.

I'll try to get new video tomorrow. Obviously every problem won't be solved right away, but I hope the recovery arm and crossover problems will be better.

"oh oh Mr. Kattah" :D

If you can, get an underwater side view. I would also be curious to see a clip looking straight up from the bottom of the pool but that's probably hard to get. :) My interest is in getting a look at your forearm position as you anchor and pull past it, I get the impression there is a lot of slip and that your elbow may be low, at least in the early part of the pull.

taruky
August 24th, 2008, 11:53 PM
Here is video of me from today. First off, a couple disclaimers. The camera work is, ahem, less than professional. My 8 and 6 year-old kids took the shots.

Second, while I think there are improvements, I do know there are a lof of the same issues, and I'm trying to work on things piece by piece. The main things I focused on were a better recovery, not crossing the midline, and higher elbow catch. I was surprised to see that my arm extension stunk, so I'll be aware of it and correct it the next time. Also, I see a little bit hip drop during parts of the stroke, and will work on that. Finally, I think my elbows are higher in these vids, but I think I should catch a little earlier in the stroke (before significant rotation) and get my vertical forearm a little farther out in front of me. The last video was a pseudo-sprint, just to see if my recovery deteriorated more when I tried to go faster.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr8ECpOiV8Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEbtcrHUSoc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiFR0k3bVI8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS_pJUU8-ro
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouFBvl7HMkY

Again, I really appreciate everyone's input.

Shaman
August 25th, 2008, 12:08 AM
I might try to some fist drill to get a better feel for grabbing water. It looks to me like you're having trouble anchoring your arms so there isn't much connection across your whole body.

geochuck
August 25th, 2008, 12:19 AM
Notice elbow dropping on 2nd, 3rd and 4th videos. It occurs as you extend before you get to the catch. When I see this I tell my students they are pushing water in the wrong direction.

I also noticed your right arm hitting the water when your hand enters again I prefer a clean entry. I also do not like your kick you have the legs too far apart. I like to see the big toes almost touching.

taruky
August 25th, 2008, 01:17 AM
Notice elbow dropping on 2nd, 3rd and 4th videos. It occurs as you extend before you get to the catch. When I see this I tell my students they are pushing water in the wrong direction.

I also noticed you right arm hitting the water when you hand enters again I prefer a clean entry. I a;lso do not like your kick you have the legs too far apart. I like to see the big toes almost touching.

Could you expound on that, George. I saw my elbows drop on the extension, but figured it was because I forgot to extend all the way (or was not aware that I was not fully extendied). Typically when one reaches forward I would think the elbow faces the side of the pool, and the only way to drop the elbow would be to externally rotate the shoulder (humerus). Should I be trying to keep my shoulder internally rotated on the extension?


I might try to some fist drill to get a better feel for grabbing water. It looks to me like you're having trouble anchoring your arms so there isn't much connection across your whole body.
Are you recognizing this because my catch arm goes back too quickly? Or is it that you see I'm not getting much distance per stroke? I'm curious how people recognize that I'm not "feeling" or "catching" the water. Truthfully, I feel like I am on the right, but on the left...not so much.

geochuck
August 25th, 2008, 01:27 AM
Quick question, how long is the pool, I counted 23 strokes on the one length. I take 13 when swimming casual in a 25m pool with a two beat dolphin kick and easy push off.

It is not the shoulder that gets the hand in position as far as I am concerned the forearm does the maneuver.

taruky
August 25th, 2008, 01:49 AM
25m pool. When swimming casually I take about 19 strokes, but when trying to go faster than that it goes up to what you saw. I know it's lousy distance per stroke. I'm sure some of it is a poor anchor, but I also think my poor kick contributes. My kick really does pretty much nothing. It neither adds any propulsion nor initiates hip rotation, and in fact may justg add drag. Something I definitely need to work on.

I have been using the techpaddle, but I wonder if fistgloves might also be useful.

geochuck
August 25th, 2008, 01:57 AM
When I stroke count I can get it down to about 10 or 11 strokes for the 25mtrs. I do only 2 little dolphin kicks and an easy push off the wall. If I were to take advantage of 15 m underwater rule I guess it would take very few strkes. Don't cheat when stroke counting.

Put a kick board between your legs or a pull bouy. It will get your legs into proper postion.

Rykno
August 25th, 2008, 03:42 AM
25m pool. When swimming casually I take about 19 strokes, but when trying to go faster than that it goes up to what you saw. I know it's lousy distance per stroke. I'm sure some of it is a poor anchor, but I also think my poor kick contributes. My kick really does pretty much nothing. It neither adds any propulsion nor initiates hip rotation, and in fact may justg add drag. Something I definitely need to work on.



I had no advice on how to improve your stroke, but just wanted to add that I have no kick, my legs only work to keep my body in position and I can swim an easy 25m with 11-13 strokes.

I'm no coaching expert, but to me you look stiff in the water.

haffathot
August 25th, 2008, 09:48 AM
Notice elbow dropping on 2nd, 3rd and 4th videos. It occurs as you extend before you get to the catch. When I see this I tell my students they are pushing water in the wrong direction.

I also noticed you right arm hitting the water when your hand enters again I prefer a clean entry. I also do not like your kick you have the legs too far apart. I like to see the big toes almost touching.

I think geochuck's right. your hand submerges before your elbow extends, so you end up extending underwater, thereby pushing the water forward and creating reverse propulsion.

He's also right in asserting that your two arms have two different styles. Your left arm has a slightly exaggerated out-of-water motion, and your right arm has a barely-out-then-quickly-back-in motion that ends in a slap. Again, that stems from your insistence on breathing to one side. As you get accustomed to breathing to one side, your arms eventually start taking on different duties to accommodate your style of breathing. Your stroke becomes one designed to maximize breathing time. Thus, your breathing arm tends to make big overarm recoveries to maximize the time you have to breathe and the quality of breath (keeps the water out of your mouth), while the non-breathing arm is useless to you, and so it barely comes out before slapping back in.

LindsayNB
August 25th, 2008, 10:45 AM
Attached is the image that leaped out to me as a problem, this is the opposite of swimming downhill!

As George suggested, try using a pull buoy to get your hips up in the correct position so you can feel where they are supposed to be. You might try alternating 50s or 100s pull and swim to try to carry the body position from pulling to your swimming. Try to push your armpit down into the water when you extend, which should bring your hips up.

Edit: I added three more pics:
2) a sequence image of your rotation
3) your dropped elbow in your extension (the same thumb up rotation of your arm I pointed out in your son's video - the hand should be flat and then rotate the palm outward)
4) a pic from early in your pull which illustrates you are pulling out to the side instead of under your body - there is a rotation issue here, plus your elbow is leading your wrist, your forearm should be more vertical at this point, diagonal across is good, diagonal to the front is not.

taruky
August 25th, 2008, 11:59 AM
I think geochuck's right. your hand submerges before your elbow extends, so you end up extending underwater, thereby pushing the water forward and creating reverse propulsion.

He's also right in asserting that your two arms have two different styles. Your left arm has a slightly exaggerated out-of-water motion, and your right arm has a barely-out-then-quickly-back-in motion that ends in a slap. Again, that stems from your insistence on breathing to one side. As you get accustomed to breathing to one side, your arms eventually start taking on different duties to accommodate your style of breathing. Your stroke becomes one designed to maximize breathing time. Thus, your breathing arm tends to make big overarm recoveries to maximize the time you have to breathe and the quality of breath (keeps the water out of your mouth), while the non-breathing arm is useless to you, and so it barely comes out before slapping back in.

I thought that you are supposed to get your hand in just before the elbow is fully extended. I've read that if the elbow is fully extended on entry that is when you get a slap. Maybe I need to be closer to full extension on entry?

Also, in the most recent casual swim clips (head on and side) are you still seeing an uneven recovery? I definitely see what you are talking about on the clip where I'm trying to go fast. That was specifically why I recorded a "sprint", so I could see if that would happen. I do bilateral breathing occassionally and also do a few laps with a Finis snorkel. I'll try to do the bilateral breathing more often. Do you suggest every 3rd, or should I just do one length breathing to one side, one length to the other.


Attached is the image that leaped out to me as a problem, this is the opposite of swimming downhill
Yeah, I'll try those suggestions. I think now that I'm aware of it I can correct it. I think I was concentrating so hard on the high elbow catch that I lifted my torso up in the process.

haffathot
August 25th, 2008, 12:11 PM
I thought that you are supposed to get your hand in just before the elbow is fully extended. I've read that if the elbow is fully extended on entry that is when you get a slap. Maybe I need to be closer to full extension on entry?

Also, in the most recent casual swim clips (head on and side) are you still seeing an uneven recovery? I definitely see what you are talking about on the clip where I'm trying to go fast. That was specifically why I recorded a "sprint", so I could see if that would happen. I do bilateral breathing occassionally and also do a few laps with a Finis snorkel. I'll try to do the bilateral breathing more often. Do you suggest every 3rd, or should I just do one length breathing to one side, one length to the other.

Yes, just before the elbow is fully extended, so as to ensure a smooth entry. However, if you submerge your hand too early, you create a push.

Those thumbnails I captured were from your most recent videos. Granted, I pulled them from the first few strokes you did on a length, and part of that was because your other strokes were not as badly exaggerated. However, the majority of that decision is that the view isn't as clear as you get further out. Overall, though, I think you need to be more mindful of the effect of your breathing on your strokes. The reason why I was able to catch it in the first few strokes of your length is because that is the time when you are thinking least about your positioning. But, because you now know that this is an issue, you need to be ever-vigilant on it. For, as soon as you become tired or let your guard down, the quirk will return. That is why I recommend that you start getting used to bilateral breathing. By forcing yourself to become re-acclimated with your complete stroke, you create the opportunity to rework your stroke dynamics from the ground up. You'll drink a lot of water on your right side for some time until you get used to positioning your arm properly for the recovery and turning your head that far, and you'll probably notice a positive difference in your left arm right away. Every three strokes is the standard. However, you can pick whatever number you want (beyond 1). Just be mindful, though, that only odd numbers create a bilateral breathing opportunity.

--Sean

geochuck
August 25th, 2008, 12:21 PM
Underwater view swimming towards the camera. I see your palm with fingers pointing upwards pushing against the water and the elbow dropping at the same time as you extend.

taruky
August 25th, 2008, 12:37 PM
Attached is the image that leaped out to me as a problem, this is the opposite of swimming downhill!

As George suggested, try using a pull buoy to get your hips up in the correct position so you can feel where they are supposed to be. You might try alternating 50s or 100s pull and swim to try to carry the body position from pulling to your swimming. Try to push your armpit down into the water when you extend, which should bring your hips up.

Edit: I added three more pics:
2) a sequence image of your rotation
3) your dropped elbow in your extension (the same thumb up rotation of your arm I pointed out in your son's video - the hand should be flat and then rotate the palm outward)
4) a pic from early in your pull which illustrates you are pulling out to the side instead of under your body - there is a rotation issue here, plus your elbow is leading your wrist, your forearm should be more vertical at this point, diagonal across is good, diagonal to the front is not.

Yeah, I see your point. I definitely noticed that on the front view clip. So here's my question. When I am not pulling under my body, is it an issue of my elbow being too wide, or is the elbow OK and I need to angle my forearm medially more? I find that if my elbow is a little wide I can keep it higher. I'll work on getting the forearm more in a vertical plane.

haffathot
August 25th, 2008, 12:57 PM
Seems to me that you are pulling more straight down than under. you need to catch the faster moving water immediately surrounding your body, while at the same time keeping your body occupying the smallest amount of surface area. thus, the way i normally advise is to keep your hand only about a hand's length away from your body during the pull, with your thumbnail tracing along the vertical mid-line of your body.

also, in the thumbnails i've attached, you can see some of the effect of your two overarm recovery styles. your right arm enters the water way too early and crossing past the body's vertical mid-line. meanwhile, your left arm at the same point hasn't even touched the water let alone entered it. this is because you neglect your right arm overarm recovery and over-exaggerate your left arm overarm recovery to facilitate breathing.

--Sean

geochuck
August 25th, 2008, 12:57 PM
I am still of the impression that you are over rotating. It is as if you rotate a complete 180 degrees when you take your strokes.

haffathot
August 25th, 2008, 01:02 PM
I am still of the impression that you are over rotating. It is as if you rotate a complete 180 degrees when you take your strokes.

I agree with geochuck, again. I, also, again blame his breathing pattern for it. Because he favors a long breath, he needs to exaggerate his rocking motion to maximize the time he has to breathe. And a over-rocking on one side leads to an over-rocking on the other side.

--Sean

LindsayNB
August 25th, 2008, 01:03 PM
Two more images, showing Ian Thorpe's rotation extent and arm timing.

You can see that at max rotation he is at 45 degrees rather than 90 and that he achieves a flat body position when his arm is in the middle of the power phase at about shoulder/chest level, and that his hand is under his chest at this point.

Plus, here is a sequence showing the front of your stroke, note that you are essentially pressing downward on the water, which is likely contributing to the lowering of your hips, and isn't providing forward propulsion, raising your stroke count. Actually, I can't tell if you are exerting force with your hand and forearm, but they definitely aren't oriented to exert force backward. Also note your feet in the first frame, I think that's your left foot just to the right of your watch, way too wide of a kick!

And as a bonus a sequence showing Ian Thorpe's catch. Although not shown, his arm enters essentially straight and proceeds straight down to the position in the first frame.

taruky
August 25th, 2008, 06:11 PM
Two more images, showing Ian Thorpe's rotation extent and arm timing.

You can see that at max rotation he is at 45 degrees rather than 90 and that he achieves a flat body position when his arm is in the middle of the power phase at about shoulder/chest level, and that his hand is under his chest at this point.

Plus, here is a sequence showing the front of your stroke, note that you are essentially pressing downward on the water, which is likely contributing to the lowering of your hips, and isn't providing forward propulsion, raising your stroke count. Actually, I can't tell if you are exerting force with your hand and forearm, but they definitely aren't oriented to exert force backward. Also note your feet in the first frame, I think that's your left foot just to the right of your watch, way too wide of a kick!

And as a bonus a sequence showing Ian Thorpe's catch. Although not shown, his arm enters essentially straight and proceeds straight down to the position in the first frame.
OK, so I'm about to go swimming and want to work on this catch. Now you said that I'm pushing down, which I do see. But what I don't understand is how to I go from an extended arm to arm facing the bottom without going through some downward pressure. Doesn't the arm arc into EVF? Or are you talking about the frames where I am already in the power phase?

LindsayNB
August 25th, 2008, 10:50 PM
OK, so I'm about to go swimming and want to work on this catch. Now you said that I'm pushing down, which I do see. But what I don't understand is how to I go from an extended arm to arm facing the bottom without going through some downward pressure. Doesn't the arm arc into EVF? Or are you talking about the frames where I am already in the power phase?

This is where others might give you a better description of what it should feel like and so forth but I would say that you should flex your wrist somewhat downward, right now in the first couple of frames we can see the palm of your hand, instead we should see the top of your hand. Different people have different approaches to this phase, you can fully extend and try to grab the water with your hand at full extension, or you can try to lessen the strain on your shoulder by letting your hand essentially go with the flow until it is in the catch position (i.e. move it at the same speed as the water so there is no pressure on the top or the palm of the hand). Try to get your hand down to about the depth shown in the first frame of the Thorpe. Keep your elbow straight until you get there, and then execute the catch as illustrated by the Thorpe sequence.

There are a lot of different approaches to the catch but I think the key is to get your hand and forearm positioned facing backward for the power phase as far forward as you can without straining anything in your shoulder. I think that to some extent it is something you have to experiment with.

As I noted, you can't really tell from a still picture whether a force is being applied, just what direction any force that was applied would be in. In a fluid the force is always at right angles to the surface, no matter what direction the surface is moving.

haffathot
August 26th, 2008, 10:46 AM
OK, so I've been watching this video over and over:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiFR0k3bVI8

Lindsey, you mention that in that top frame, you see the palm of turuky's hand, and i'm pretty sure i know why.

when turuky submerges his hand into the water, he -- as we have already mentioned -- pushes the water a bit. i counted time on the strokes from when the hand enters to when the hand begins its pull. 1 complete second. it seems to me that what turuky is doing is not so much consciously pushing the water after all, but simply riding the wave a bit. he's zipping his hand forward through the water, and -- like any good aerofoil -- it catches air, so to speak. as the hand catches lift from the resistance it meets up front, it causes the hand to move skyward. thus, we see his palm. at the end of that extension forward, then he begins his catch, starting from an upward hand position.

so, my advice to turuky:

your pull should continue under your body using your hand and forearm as an oar. at the point where your hand-forearm oar bisects your body into its top and bottom halves, you will find that following through with your push requires that your forearm break form to allow your hand to continue on the same path. When your hand reaches the thigh, you will find that the hand can no longer follow along the path. you've simply run out of arm (arm A, we'll say). to get your hand back to your side, you have to push the water to the outside and behind you. At that point where your hand pushes the water to the outside, that is when you rock your body a bit. the shoulder on the same side as the hand pushing outward should rock upward. the shoulder on the other arm (arm B) will, thus naturally rock a bit downward.

if you've ever reached under a bed to get something deep underneath, you know that you can get that little bit more out of your arm by dropping your shoulder. that's the idea with arm B. when your hand on arm A reaches the end of its path and needs to push to the outside, that is when your other hand-forearm oar on arm B should dive into the water. as the one hand on arm A pushes to the outside as that shoulder lifts a bit, the other shoulder on arm B should dip just enough to allow the hand of arm B to thrust forward underwater just that little bit more before starting the catch. it should be the smallest fraction of a second, not a full second count, and arm B's drive forward in such a manner should be powered by the finish of the hand on arm A. As soon as the hand on arm A finishes to the outside, the hand-forearm oar on arm B should start pulling. A quick recap: the hand on arm B entered the water in the form of the hand-forearm oar and did not break position as it reached that last bit forward or as it started its catch. it won't begin to break position until it must at the point where the oar bisects your body. thus, the palm will never be seen, as that would require breaking form on the hand-forearm oar.

i hope that's helpful and not too confusing.

--Sean

geochuck
August 26th, 2008, 05:03 PM
USS Swimmer Magazine, Sept/October has some nice stuff on Freestyle Makeover.

A couple of things I did not like about her new stroke, just a little early stage elbow dropping, and I do not like the fingers in the up position on the extention this leads to elbow dropping.

taruky
August 26th, 2008, 09:43 PM
Well guys, I did a casual 25m in 16 strokes today, the best I've ever done I believe. And it was not one of those glide glide glide until I come to a complete stop type deals either. I did not have anyone recording me, so I'm not sure which areas exactly I improved on, but I must have been doing something better. Things I concentrated on;
1. Fully extending. I found this easier when doing # 2 below.
2. Keeping my wrist and fingers ever so slighly flexed on arm extension. I think someone mentioned this before, but by doing this the water wasn't pushing my arm into a bent position.
3. Keeping my forearm relatively pronated on extension. What I mean is that my forearm is pronated relative to my rotated body, so that it's orientation is just as it would be if I was flat/not rotated. In my mind this might be the single most important thing I did, because I really felt the catch and propulsion much better. Also it seems to control overrotation.
4. Catching a little lower in the water. In other words, my extended hand was deeper in the water than before.
5. Hand entry farther on recovery. This is the change which I'm really curious to see on film. It felt good, but someone might comment that I'm slapping water or something.
6. Forcing myself to swim downhill. One interesting thing that came to my mind while I was experimenting. Previously I had thought of swimming downhill in terms of balance. While this is true, today I thought I would try to pull myself downhill as well. I remembered the comments on my forearm not being perpendicular enough to the pool bottom and that I was creating more lift, so I worked on overcompensating by trying to descend.

I'll keep working on it and try to get new film in a few days. Thanks again for the help.

LindsayNB
August 26th, 2008, 10:52 PM
Sounds like you have made excellent progress!
I'm looking forward to seeing how the changes appear on the next video!

I got a short clip of my fly when I was taping my friend yesterday, was very frustrated to see an old problem with my kick had reemerged! :( Old habits are really really hard to kill! Oh well, at least I caught it before practicing it even further. Thank goodness for video!

taruky
August 28th, 2008, 11:28 AM
I bought the "Swiming Faster Freestyle" video with David Marsh (coach at Auburn), and a couple of interesting things struck me. Rada Owen was the demonstrating swimmer. Marsh would talk some about high elbows, but Owens' elbow was definitely not very high. Her catch is somewhat of a hybrid between the EVF and straight arm pull, where the upper arm is more sloped and thus the bent elbow occurs but much lower in the water. I understand that the main reason for the higher elbow EVF is to begin anchoring farther in front of you than you would otherwise.
I'm curious how many of you catch like Rada. It certainly lookes easier. Kind of odd that they chose her to demonstrate, while Marsh would show a higher elbow when demonstrating outside the pool.

The other thing I noticed is that they tend to teach a little more of a swing or throw to the arm recovery. One drill in particular which caught my attention was the catch and throw drill. I've always thought of my recovery as a more deliberate raise the elbow, move it forward, then put it in the water type of thing. But it kind of makes sense to have a little bit of a throw to it, allowing you to create some momentum over that catch. Am I correct in this thinking? I feel like up until now even when I do get a reasonable catch I'm having to pull back more rather than just riding momentum.

I'm off these next couple days so I'll try to get some video of myself. A little bit of a lightbulb came on my last swim (couple days ago), and I'm anxious to see if you guys feel I'm in the right direction.

haffathot
August 28th, 2008, 12:03 PM
well, ideally, you want the timing of your overarm recovery to match up with the timing of your pull, so that you can ensure smooth and consistent perpetual motion. thus, as pull times get faster, recoveries must equally get faster.

the bent elbow recovery promotes smoother entry, for one thing, and, for another, it promotes a quicker approach to the catch point. if you sidearm your overarm recovery, the curvilinear path that your arm takes will take longer to follow, theoretically, than the more straight path followed by a bent-arm recovery. however, it is my opinion that there is a bit of range here. if your elbow is bent too high and your hand kept too close to your body, then the motion will lose its fluidity as the recovery becomes a mechanical transition from unnatural arm positions. thus, it seems to me that the best course of action is somewhere between a sidearm recovery and a very high-elbow recovery. There's been some debate in these forums regarding bent-arm to straight-arm, but for me it is definitely bent-arm with the advantage, but the question is how bent. If your hand is too far out or too far in, you have a slower recovery, so you need to find that golden mean where the overarm recovery path is fluid and natural but not too long a distance to travel, either.

In the context of Rada Owen, I haven't seen a video of her, but I would guess that she simply has accustomed herself to a bent-elbow path within that range that is closer to the sidearm side of things than to the highest-elbow.

--Sean

geochuck
August 28th, 2008, 12:04 PM
You will find that there are many different ideas about how to swim correctly.

Have a look at a swim smooth video and it could show you a different version of swimming technique.
http://www.swimsmooth.com/freeview.htm

LindsayNB
August 28th, 2008, 12:52 PM
if you sidearm your overarm recovery, the curvilinear path that your arm takes will take longer to follow, theoretically, than the more straight path followed by a bent-arm recovery.

I'm not sure why you say the straight arm recovery is theoretically slower. The upper arm will follow essentially the same path. Your hand follows a longer path but it is just along for the ride on the upper arm so it follows that longer path at a faster speed ending up in the same place at the same time. Stroke rate has never been limited by recovery time anyway, the pull and body roll are always the limiting factors. If anything the straight arm pull may require slightly more energy to accelerate, but again, that's not usually a limiting factor.

Taruky: on the discrepancy between what coaches say to do and what swimmers actually do Jonty Skinner wrote an interesting article on the effect of scy training on technique, including this quote:

Granted there might be a number of different ways to describe this process, but without a doubt the majority of coaches in world would agree on one fact. That the anchor or catch mechanics should involve an elbow position that is higher than the wrist/hand position. Looking at figure 1, coaches might argue as to the specific angles of the joints, but I believe all might agree that the upper and lower arm components would be on distinctly different planes. However, after reviewing underwater footage of hundreds of swimmers, I find that the majority don’t employ this kind of technique at all. After continuing to ask coaches to describe their opinion of the catch or anchor position I continued to find a huge discrepancy between what coaches were describing, and what was actually occurring in the water.
http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=59&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&mid=437&ItemId=1690
(emphasis added by me) The article does explain why the bent elbow is better for lcm and why swimmers tend to use the straighter arm technique when training scy.

taruky
August 28th, 2008, 01:03 PM
well, ideally, you want the timing of your overarm recovery to match up with the timing of your pull, so that you can ensure smooth and consistent perpetual motion. thus, as pull times get faster, recoveries must equally get faster.

the bent elbow recovery promotes smoother entry, for one thing, and, for another, it promotes a quicker approach to the catch point. if you sidearm your overarm recovery, the curvilinear path that your arm takes will take longer to follow, theoretically, than the more straight path followed by a bent-arm recovery. however, it is my opinion that there is a bit of range here. if your elbow is bent too high and your hand kept too close to your body, then the motion will lose its fluidity as the recovery becomes a mechanical transition from unnatural arm positions. thus, it seems to me that the best course of action is somewhere between a sidearm recovery and a very high-elbow recovery. There's been some debate in these forums regarding bent-arm to straight-arm, but for me it is definitely bent-arm with the advantage, but the question is how bent. If your hand is too far out or too far in, you have a slower recovery, so you need to find that golden mean where the overarm recovery path is fluid and natural but not too long a distance to travel, either.

In the context of Rada Owen, I haven't seen a video of her, but I would guess that she simply has accustomed herself to a bent-elbow path within that range that is closer to the sidearm side of things than to the highest-elbow.

--Sean
I was really referring to her underwater catch.

As far as the recovery, I'm not thinking so much in terms of the arm position on recovery as much as the speed and momentum of the recovery (shoulder and elbow moving forward). Rotating the body alone doesn't really provide much forward propulsion it seems to me. Given that the catch arm is really supposed to be holding water, there must be a source of momentum somewhere. Let's say that someone very slowly and deliberately moves their recovery arm forward. The only way to get propulsion would be to push backward with the catch arm. However, if there is forward momentum to the recovery, the catch arm can more or less hold water while the body glides past. I think one of the things I really need to remember when swimming is to hold off on rotating until my recovery shoulder/arm has slid forward more. That's what Marsh was mentioning and what I see from the better swimmers.

I'm in no way thinking that I should really throw the shoulder mercilessly and risk injury. I just need to think in my mind "more forward momentum". Does that make sense, or am I way off here. I need to get to the pool today and test this out.

LindsayNB
August 28th, 2008, 01:38 PM
I was really referring to her underwater catch.

As far as the recovery, I'm not thinking so much in terms of the arm position on recovery as much as the speed and momentum of the recovery (shoulder and elbow moving forward). Rotating the body alone doesn't really provide much forward propulsion it seems to me. Given that the catch arm is really supposed to be holding water, there must be a source of momentum somewhere. Let's say that someone very slowly and deliberately moves their recovery arm forward. The only way to get propulsion would be to push backward with the catch arm. However, if there is forward momentum to the recovery, the catch arm can more or less hold water while the body glides past. I think one of the things I really need to remember when swimming is to hold off on rotating until my recovery shoulder/arm has slid forward more. That's what Marsh was mentioning and what I see from the better swimmers.

I'm in no way thinking that I should really throw the shoulder mercilessly and risk injury. I just need to think in my mind "more forward momentum". Does that make sense, or am I way off here. I need to get to the pool today and test this out.

No! You do not get propulsion from the recovering arm! Any forward momentum you gain as the arm decelerates at the front is momentum you lost as you accelerated the arm forward in the back.

Propulsion comes from the force you are applying to the arm that is anchored. Think of hanging on the edge of the pool with your hands on the edge as you pull yourself up out of the water, you want your hands to stay in the same position and your body to move past them. This is easy on a solid wall. The nature of fluids is that they move when you apply force to them, the idea of your hand actually staying still as you pull is physics nonsense but you want to get as close to that as possible. The larger surface you press/anchor with, i.e. hopefully your hand plus your forearm, the less slip you will get for a given amount of force applied, that is the purpose of the high elbow pull, to maximize the area of the surface that is oriented backward and applying backward force. If you take a picture from directly behind you the area that your arm takes up in the image is the effective surface area that you can use to exert force on the water. If your forearm is in a plane parallel to the plane of the wall at the end of the pool that area is maximized. If your arm is extended directly toward the wall the area is very small, which is good for reducing drag/streamlining. Any angle in between will produce an intermediate sized effective area.

Think of pushing a kickboard through the water, when the largest side is facing the direction you are pushing it you have to push quite hard before it moves fast or far, turn it so that the edge is facing forward and the effective area becomes quite small and even small forces will slip it through the water easily. If the board is at 45 degrees an intermediate amount of force is needed to move it, and sideways forces are also generated.

Remember that pressure forces in a fluid are always at right angles to the surface, so if your arm is at a 45 degree angle the forces generated will be equal parts upward and forward even if the direction of movement is straight backward. With your arm extended directly in front of you any force that you generate will be straight down and pretty much wasted effort. With a straight arm pull the majority of the force you generate will be vertical until you get to 45 degrees, so it's not an economical way to swim.

And you are correct, rotation in itself doesn't provide propulsion, what it does do is improve your streamlining and put your arm in a position where you can apply larger muscles. Extend your arm directly out in front of you and press down on something, feel the lat under the arm you are pressing with, it isn't engaged. Extend your arm directly out to the side and press down on something, immediately your lat is engaged. By positioning your elbow out to the side prior to the power phase you can effectively utilize your nice big lat muscle instead of the relatively small shoulder muscles. Experiment with lifting yourself up at the edge of the pool with your arms straight out or with your elbows pointed downward versus with your elbows wide out to the side, you should feel quite a difference.

haffathot
August 28th, 2008, 01:51 PM
Lindsay:

in talking to eamon sullivan's biomechanist, he seemed to agree that the sidearm recovery took longer than the traditional bent-arm recovery, but: a) he didn't think it would affect the pull rate of eamon, and b) he didn't explain to me why he felt that such a recovery would take longer. My guess is that your upper arm may follow the same path in both, and your lower arm may be along for the ride, but the catch starts at the fingertips, and it takes longer for those finger tips to get into position if they are following a more curvilinear path. In bent-arm recovery, the fingertips follow tangentially to the smaller semicircular path created by following the movement of the elbow. in sidearm, the fingertips follow parallel to the elbow's path in a larger semicircle. Essentially, where sidearm follows the perimeter of that larger semicircle, bent-arm streaks down the diameter.

turuky:

to my knowledge, the rotation of the body does a few things. first, it reduces your drag by narrowing the amount of surface area splitting the water. second, it allows your reaching hand to reach that little bit farther that you could only reach by dropping that shoulder. third, it helps convert the pulling hand's final push to the outside to a push behind by changing the positioning of the body and therefore the effect of the push. it's really quite useful.

LindsayNB
August 28th, 2008, 02:28 PM
Sean, try this: hold your arm out straight to the side, keeping it straight swing it to straight in front of you. The hand travels a longer path than the elbow but they both arrive at the front at the same time. The hand simply moves along its path faster.

It does require more torque or the same torque applied for a longer duration to accelerate the hand to the higher speed, but I see no evidence that that is a limiting factor.

Since your arm can't actually generate any propulsive force in the fully extended position, isn't that extra little extension more about stretching and engaging the lat? The only way to generate any force out there is to flex your wrist, but even then you have to be pulling it back faster than you're moving forward through the water.

haffathot
August 28th, 2008, 03:05 PM
Sean, try this: hold your arm out straight to the side, keeping it straight swing it to straight in front of you. The hand travels a longer path than the elbow but they both arrive at the front at the same time. The hand simply moves along its path faster.

It does require more torque or the same torque applied for a longer duration to accelerate the hand to the higher speed, but I see no evidence that that is a limiting factor.

Since your arm can't actually generate any propulsive force in the fully extended position, isn't that extra little extension more about stretching and engaging the lat? The only way to generate any force out there is to flex your wrist, but even then you have to be pulling it back faster than you're moving forward through the water.

as far as the sidearm vs the bent-arm goes, i'll agree that it requires greater force to accelerate the hand to the higher speed that would be required in such a stroke. however, i imagine such a stroke would limit one's ability in distance events, as the greater force required would fatigue the swimmer that much faster. The speed that the hand must travel to keep up with the speed of the elbow would take its toll on the swimmer.

my understanding of that extra stretch is that it gives that much more runway for your pull while not affecting the timing of your stroke, since the pull is finishing out at the same time. it's definitely not about, in itself, generating propulsive force, though. no portion of the recovery is.

--Sean

pwolf66
August 28th, 2008, 03:13 PM
After reading thru all this and looking thru the USMS Swimmer magazine, I have come to the conclusion that MY CATCH SUCKS!!!!

But I mean this in the best possible way. I'm doing times that are only about 10% my lifetime bests with poor technique (big shocker as I was always a muscle swimmer) so if I can improve my technique, then I might have a shot at closing that gap even more.

The problem here is that without actually seeing my stroke, I can not even begin to process what changes I need to make. Need to find someone with an underwater camera to video tape me.

taruky
August 28th, 2008, 04:11 PM
No! You do not get propulsion from the recovering arm! Any forward momentum you gain as the arm decelerates at the front is momentum you lost as you accelerated the arm forward in the back.

Propulsion comes from the force you are applying to the arm that is anchored. Think of hanging on the edge of the pool with your hands on the edge as you pull yourself up out of the water, you want your hands to stay in the same position and your body to move past them. This is easy on a solid wall. The nature of fluids is that they move when you apply force to them, the idea of your hand actually staying still as you pull is physics nonsense but you want to get as close to that as possible. The larger surface you press/anchor with, i.e. hopefully your hand plus your forearm, the less slip you will get for a given amount of force applied, that is the purpose of the high elbow pull, to maximize the area of the surface that is oriented backward and applying backward force. If you take a picture from directly behind you the area that your arm takes up in the image is the effective surface area that you can use to exert force on the water. If your forearm is in a plane parallel to the plane of the wall at the end of the pool that area is maximized. If your arm is extended directly toward the wall the area is very small, which is good for reducing drag/streamlining. Any angle in between will produce an intermediate sized effective area.

Think of pushing a kickboard through the water, when the largest side is facing the direction you are pushing it you have to push quite hard before it moves fast or far, turn it so that the edge is facing forward and the effective area becomes quite small and even small forces will slip it through the water easily. If the board is at 45 degrees an intermediate amount of force is needed to move it, and sideways forces are also generated.

Remember that pressure forces in a fluid are always at right angles to the surface, so if your arm is at a 45 degree angle the forces generated will be equal parts upward and forward even if the direction of movement is straight backward. With your arm extended directly in front of you any force that you generate will be straight down and pretty much wasted effort. With a straight arm pull the majority of the force you generate will be vertical until you get to 45 degrees, so it's not an economical way to swim.

And you are correct, rotation in itself doesn't provide propulsion, what it does do is improve your streamlining and put your arm in a position where you can apply larger muscles. Extend your arm directly out in front of you and press down on something, feel the lat under the arm you are pressing with, it isn't engaged. Extend your arm directly out to the side and press down on something, immediately your lat is engaged. By positioning your elbow out to the side prior to the power phase you can effectively utilize your nice big lat muscle instead of the relatively small shoulder muscles. Experiment with lifting yourself up at the edge of the pool with your arms straight out or with your elbows pointed downward versus with your elbows wide out to the side, you should feel quite a difference.

I also bought a GoSwim video with Ronald Schoeman, and one of the things he does is throw the shoulder. I agree that it wouldn't be the main source of momentum, but would it not be like swinging your arms forward while jumping? I think most of us can jump higher and farther with an arm swing than without. In the case of jumping, the legs are the main propulsive element but the arms do contribute propulsive work. In swimming, the catch arm is the the main propulsive element, but similarly I would think the right arm could do the same. A little experiment to try; stand up straight but don't try to dig your feet into the ground. Then do an forward overarm swing, and watch how you lean forward.

Again, I'm not in any way advocating a strong throw or anything. But I think a little velocity or swing on the recovery will add to propulsion. Now if the timing is all off the energy could be completely lost.

taruky
August 28th, 2008, 04:15 PM
After reading thru all this and looking thru the USMS Swimmer magazine, I have come to the conclusion that MY CATCH SUCKS!!!!

But I mean this in the best possible way. I'm doing times that are only about 10% my lifetime bests with poor technique (big shocker as I was always a muscle swimmer) so if I can improve my technique, then I might have a shot at closing that gap even more.

The problem here is that without actually seeing my stroke, I can not even begin to process what changes I need to make. Need to find someone with an underwater camera to video tape me.

I have been using the Olympus Stylus. It's a small, digital, 8 megapixel still picture camera that is water resistant to 5 feet. Also has video function which is decent. Great for these types of things. Runs about $300.

pwolf66
August 28th, 2008, 04:26 PM
I have been using the Olympus Stylus. It's a small, digital, 8 megapixel still picture camera that is water resistant to 5 feet. Also has video function which is decent. Great for these types of things. Runs about $300.

I have that same camera. The issue is with your basic underwater cameras at best you can get about 10-15 feet of someone swimming at race pace as it is really difficult to stay on the swimmer. What I meant when I referred to underwater camera is a boom mounted camera with an external screen where it is much easier to remain centered on the swimmer.

LindsayNB
August 28th, 2008, 04:41 PM
The difference with land based versus water based movements is that when you jump you throw your arms up while your feet are still pressing on the SOLID ground. If you swung your arms up after you feet left the ground the would reduce the height of your jump. Unless you launch your arm by pressing against the water you are essentially doing the recovery in the air and as your muscles throw the arm forward an equal and opposite force is pulling backward on your shoulder and body, so you slow down when you start the recovery and then speed up at the end as the momentum in your arm pulls your shoulder forward.

In any case, the magnitude of the forces involved in your arm momentum are going to be relatively small in relation to the forces in your pull, I would concentrate your efforts there.



I also bought a GoSwim video with Roland Schoeman, and one of the things he does is throw the shoulder. I agree that it wouldn't be the main source of momentum, but would it not be like swinging your arms forward while jumping? I think most of us can jump higher and farther with an arm swing than without. In the case of jumping, the legs are the main propulsive element but the arms do contribute propulsive work. In swimming, the catch arm is the the main propulsive element, but similarly I would think the right arm could do the same. A little experiment to try; stand up straight but don't try to dig your feet into the ground. Then do an forward overarm swing, and watch how you lean forward.

Again, I'm not in any way advocating a strong throw or anything. But I think a little velocity or swing on the recovery will add to propulsion. Now if the timing is all off the energy could be completely lost.

LindsayNB
August 28th, 2008, 04:54 PM
I have that same camera. The issue is with your basic underwater cameras at best you can get about 10-15 feet of someone swimming at race pace as it is really difficult to stay on the swimmer. What I meant when I referred to underwater camera is a boom mounted camera with an external screen where it is much easier to remain centered on the swimmer.

I too have that camera! With a good set of fins the cameraman should be able to get an ok shot of you as you overtake him. While it is ideal to get a tracking shot of a whole length even a few stroke cycles can help point out some of the more prominent issues. And many issues will show up at less than top speed as well. Well, I have had no problem finding problems with my stokes anyway! :o

I have been wondering if I could cobble together a way to mount the camera on the end of a pole, and just learn by practice how to keep it trained on the swimmer. I've thought about just using my tripod upside down, but I'm not sure how well it would stand up to regular immersion.

I would also like to get a weight belt or the equivalent to make it easier to stay underwater, particularly for shots from directly underneath.

Sometimes it's better to make due with what one has than to hold out for the ideal solution!

geochuck
August 28th, 2008, 05:11 PM
I have 2 of these http://cgi.ebay.ca/UNDERWATER-Video-Camera-Popular-Color12pcs-Led-Light-24_W0QQitemZ280258927206QQihZ018QQcategoryZ4703QQt cZphotoQQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

I also have a Stylus 1030SW good for 10 meters depth.

taruky
August 28th, 2008, 11:45 PM
The difference with land based versus water based movements is that when you jump you throw your arms up while your feet are still pressing on the SOLID ground. If you swung your arms up after you feet left the ground the would reduce the height of your jump. Unless you launch your arm by pressing against the water you are essentially doing the recovery in the air and as your muscles throw the arm forward an equal and opposite force is pulling backward on your shoulder and body, so you slow down when you start the recovery and then speed up at the end as the momentum in your arm pulls your shoulder forward.

In any case, the magnitude of the forces involved in your arm momentum are going to be relatively small in relation to the forces in your pull, I would concentrate your efforts there.
I know this is becoming a physics discussion :laugh2:, but here's my rebuttal. I think that the catch, while not pressing against solid ground, is analagous to the solid ground in a jump. Tomorrow I will do an experiment. I'll lay in the water on my side, both hands on my hips. Then I'll swing the top arm forward and see if there's any movement.

geochuck
August 29th, 2008, 08:39 AM
Keep it simple and forget your physics discussions. Gently exit the water at the finish, exit to a nice relaxed elbow high position, then a clean no splash entry. Extend and let the hand drop to the catch. Don't push water with your palm in the opposite direction when you extend, anchor and apply force of 20 to 25 psi to the finish, don't make too many bubbles during the catch phase, finish on a comfortable position on the thigh and repeat, repeat, repeat.

I know this is becoming a physics discussion :laugh2:, but here's my rebuttal. I think that the catch, while not pressing against solid ground, is analagous to the solid ground in a jump. Tomorrow I will do an experiment. I'll lay in the water on my side, both hands on my hips. Then I'll swing the top arm forward and see if there's any movement.

LindsayNB
August 29th, 2008, 02:15 PM
Someone around here has a quote from Bruce Lee about being conscious of what one is doing being a bad thing, and man is it true! I was thinking about the catch today and it was one of my worst swims in a long time!

geochuck
August 29th, 2008, 02:34 PM
It makes you certifiable, it is called catch 22.


Someone around here has a quote from Bruce Lee about being conscious of what one is doing being a bad thing, and man is it true! I was thinking about the catch today and it was one of my worst swims in a long time!

taruky
August 29th, 2008, 09:45 PM
Someone around here has a quote from Bruce Lee about being conscious of what one is doing being a bad thing, and man is it true! I was thinking about the catch today and it was one of my worst swims in a long time!

That's funny, it is so true. I have spent months working on my catch and it really kind of hit me a little in the last few days and I'm not thinking too hard about it. Suddenly I feel like I'm holding onto water. I didn't get a chance to videotape myself, but will tomorrow for sure. I've been doing a lot of closed fist swimming, and I'm amazed how well it really works. After doing that, you feel like you're pushing peanutbutter when you open your hand again.

In one of the earlier posts, I believe it was George who said I look like I'm in a hurry to get my hand out of the water. I didn't really understand what he meant until the last couple days. Now that I feel what holding on is, it makes sense. I'm not sure how high my elbow is (I have to see the film), but I know for a fact I'm feeling the water better than ever. If I could just relax and improve my breathing. I still find myself getting tired too quickly. I've tried everything from taking deeper breaths, shallower breaths, belly breaths, barely getting my mouth out of the water...ugh