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EMac1960
January 12th, 2015, 09:41 PM
Did a search and couldn't find anything; apologies if this is addressed elsewhere.

I really struggle with my flipturns. What I took for granted in my youth is now quite a challenge. I find that I'm much more worn out after a swim if I've done flipturns, and I don't think I swim any faster or more efficiently when I do flipturns.

It's difficult to pace myself consistently, so my approach to the wall is the first problem I encounter. I try to have about a foot or two between my outstretched arm and the wall before I begin the turn. Even if I manage to do this successfully, I find myself sinking quite a bit during the turn, so much so that I can't flip in the shallow end of the pool without scraping knees and elbows on the bottom!

I'm a distance swimmer, so I'm not sure speeding up will do me much good in the long run.

Suggestions for a better flipturn are appreciated.

Allen Stark
January 12th, 2015, 11:45 PM
It would help if you could post a video. I am unclear from your discription,do you have one arm forward as you turn? You should have both arms at your side as you go into the turn, tuck your head pull both hands forward by bending at the elbows, and somersault.Then push off on your back and then slowly turn onto your stomach.

smontanaro
January 13th, 2015, 09:18 AM
... tuck your head pull both hands forward by bending at the elbows, and somersault.

Adding to what Allen wrote, note that he used the word "somersault", not "handspring". You will flip faster and use less energy to boot if you tuck your legs so your knees are at about 90. (As you didn't post any video, it's obviously not clear what your current turn looks like, but flipping with your legs too straight is a common problem.

Also, YouTube has tons of flip turn videos, both demonstration and instructional.

gobears
January 13th, 2015, 10:19 AM
I find myself sinking quite a bit during the turn, so much so that I can't flip in the shallow end of the pool without scraping knees and elbows on the bottom!


This sentence makes it sound like you are flipping very slowly (if you have time to sink). You might try the 5 strokes then somersault drill where you swim freestyle for 5 strokes (breathing on any of the first 4) then follow the arm of your 5th stroke forward into a very small and fast somersault (do this in the middle of the pool - not on the wall). They key is to be as small (tucked) as possible - knees to chest, feet to rear end, chin down - trying to flip as fast as possible. You may just need some more momentum going into your turns...?

loonytick
January 13th, 2015, 02:42 PM
I, too, am a former high school swimmer who got back in the pool after years out of of it. Flip turns were shockingly difficult for me when I first got back into swimming. For a little while, I made myself do the somersault practicing in the middle of the pool for about five or ten minutes every workout to get that flip back into tight, quick shape, while sticking to open turns for the rest of my swim. Then I moved to just drilling the flip turns on the wall (start just past the flags, swim into the wall, flip turn, stop after the first stroke or two). Then I worked them back into my swimming. I almost didn't bother with all that--honestly, I just thought it might be an interesting goal to change things up more than I really thought it would be helpful or effective), but now I'm really glad I did. My turn is still not the fastest or cleanest, but it doesn't leave me worn out anymore, I don't find myself coming off the wall at a weird angle, and I feel like having a workable one does keep me in a better rhythm that pays off in a higher quality workout.

orca1946
January 13th, 2015, 04:03 PM
Do you use your hands with the palms facing the bottom of the pool and at your side as you start the somersault, pull hard up towards your face to help speed up the rotation? This will aid in the speed of the flip and then extend your hands forward to streamline out of the turn.

knelson
January 13th, 2015, 05:22 PM
I agree with Allen that it sounds like there is something inherently wrong with your technique. One to two feet from your outstretched hand would mean you'd crash into the wall if you pulled through with that arm (and you SHOULD be pulling through, both arms should be at your sides when your legs flip over). Watch some videos. Once you get the basic technique down then the remaining thing is timing it correctly so you aren't too far or close to the wall and that will come with practice. One piece of advice I'd give is try not to look at the wall. Instead use the T on the bottom to judge how far away you are. Also use your forward momentum to initiate the turn. On that final stroke begin tucking your chin to initiate the turn. You don't want to be dead in the water when you start the turn and based on your description that could be what's happening to you now.

__steve__
January 13th, 2015, 08:55 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fALuFGfzWjo

ForceDJ
January 13th, 2015, 11:56 PM
Word of advice...as you perfect the turn and want to start trying it closer to the wall...don't get too close all at once. Getting TOO close can result in hitting your heels on the side of the pool. I know from experience that it doesn't feel good.

Dan

Swimspire
January 14th, 2015, 09:58 AM
The fact that you want to work on improving your flipturns is great! I would suggest doing flip turns only when you are at the deep end of the pool and sticking with open turns at the shallow end. You'll save time and avoid injuring yourself this way. You can take some time after your main workout to continue practicing your turns as well. If you work on your turn technique and practice consistently, the flipturns will continue to get less difficult and tiring. Good luck!

brent_smith
January 29th, 2015, 11:29 AM
I really struggle with my flipturns. What I took for granted in my youth is now quite a challenge. I find that I'm much more worn out after a swim if I've done flipturns, and I don't think I swim any faster or more efficiently when I do flipturns.

It's difficult to pace myself consistently, so my approach to the wall is the first problem I encounter. I try to have about a foot or two between my outstretched arm and the wall before I begin the turn. Even if I manage to do this successfully, I find myself sinking quite a bit during the turn, so much so that I can't flip in the shallow end of the pool without scraping knees and elbows on the bottom!

I'm a distance swimmer, so I'm not sure speeding up will do me much good in the long run.

Suggestions for a better flipturn are appreciated.

As an age-group swimmer I was told to always always always do a flip turn - it's always faster even if you sink to the bottom, hit your head, suck water into your lungs and lose your goggles. Our coach was perhaps exaggerating because he wanted us to work on our flip turns. But now that I'm older and slower and less in shape I definitely find flip turns to be more difficult and more tiring - especially because doing them the way I was taught requires me to hold my breath for a long time (approach, turn, push off, gasp for breath).

I think the answer is that it depends. It depends on what your goals are and where your weaknesses are and how to get the greatest benefit in your (probably) limited practice time.

You say you are a distance swimmer - thus the benefit of improving your turns is much less than if you focused on sprints (50s) or middle distances (100s, 200s). It might be easier (and more beneficial) to focus on improving other aspects of your stroke technique. In a 500, 1000, or 1650 a smooth and efficient stroke and breathing technique will help you vastly more than fast flip turns. If you want to train for summer long course (50m pools) or open water swims, then turns again become much less of an issue.

If/when you do practice your turns, make it an isolated part of the overall practice session until it's more comfortable. One drill we used to do is 10 X "Split" 50s for example. A "split" 50 is where you start and end in the middle of the pool. You do 50 yards but 2 turns for each 50 instead of 1. Give yourself plenty of rest between each and focus on executing the best flip turn you can. As you get better you could gradually add in flip turns to your regular sets - 200s with every other turn a flip turn, 500s with every third turn a flip turn, etc. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. You could even do sets with "deep end flip turns" to practice them without the hassle of scraping knees and elbows.

laineybug
January 31st, 2015, 04:09 PM
When I first started back swimming I would start just outside the backstroke flags (deep end), swim toward the wall, flip, streamline to see how far I could get just by pushing off in streamline (no underwater dolphin). Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.... My inner ear didn't like it at first! But this really helped not only with the flip, but streamline. The further I could streamline the more distance/speed I could get going into the wall the next time.

Oh, and one thing that helped tremendously with going over straight, not wobbly off to one side--kept my eyes open when I flipped. Eventually, I learned what the flip felt like, could close my eyes and go over straight. (LOL who wants to swim full speed into a wall with their eyes open?)

FindingMyInnerFish
January 31st, 2015, 07:58 PM
For me, there's the fear factor. The video above is great if you're comfortable doing somersaults. I'm not--not on land, not in water. I'll start into a somersault and then freeze and stop. I'm not sure why--whether the position feels so vulnerable and out of control or whether I'll hit my head on the bottom etc. I had gotten to the point where I could do them but then one day starting into a flip, I became disoriented, couldn't get myself to the surface, finally did but had an awful cramp in the process. After that, I've been terrified of them--so much so that I just decided it wasn't worth stressing about it anymore and just went back to doing open turns. I won't say that's the way to go--but I realized that if it made me so anxious when I came to the wall that I wasn't enjoying swimming or swim practice anymore, then was it really worth it to me to keep beating myself up trying to do them?

But the coach of my current group had us working on them recently--and I kept trying without success and with the same fear I had before I shut them out of my life. I suppose I could just stick to open turns and be fine w/ them. But now I wonder if it might be time to face that fear again. It's just that even thinking about it stresses me out. I think the coach is disappointed in me. I am too.

But I also know that if my body is resisting as much as it is, there's something going on that involves more than turning a somersault. Tomorrow there's a swim meet, and I plan to stick to open turns and if that slows my time, so be it. I'll do my best and enjoy the process w/out thinking about what isn't in my skill set just now.

When swimming feels good--actually great--is when I stop worrying about whom I please or don't please and just set myself free to swim. I can swim for a LONG time that way. The one-hour postal swim gave me that feeling of total freedom b/c someone was counting my laps, freeing me from that part of the swim, and the event wasn't really a "race" in the traditional sense, just an hour to myself to swim as far as I could and with only the goal of improving on a previous hour swim, nothing more. After a while, I was in a rhythm, just enjoying the feeling of swimming w/ no idea of how many laps I'd done or how much time it was taking me. Yes, I did open turns and I didn't worry about it at all. In practice, I sometimes feel like the odd person out b/c I don't do flip turns, but I need to remember that I'm progressing at my own rate, and that I don't have to compare myself with others or beat myself up if a skill comes harder to me than to others.

Have others here experienced that kind of phobic response to flip turns? If so, how did you respond? By making your peace with open turns? Persisting until you succeeded? Personally, I think both responses are perfectly legitimate. Why must we all progress at the same rate and why not acknowledge our fear, honor the desire to protect oneself, treat these things gently? If the overall goal is to swim, be fit, compete as opportunity allows, and enjoy the process, that which fosters such a goal is what's important--and is individual to each person.

That said, I haven't abandoned the idea of doing flip turns just yet. But I'm going to proceed gradually. The evening when we were to work on flip turns, I tried so many times that I left the pool dizzy and queasy--and upset at myself for failing. Since then, I've decided to try a few times following swims and practices to do a somersault, but have a stopping point regardless of "success"-- max about 5-6 attempts, no more.

If I regain my "wings" as it were, super--if not, I keep on w/ open turns and decide that I'm my own "judgment free" zone. The turns are less important to me than the swimming. And that's what I have to keep remembering.

Allen Stark
January 31st, 2015, 08:42 PM
For me, there's the fear factor. The video above is great if you're comfortable doing somersaults. I'm not--not on land, not in water. I'll start into a somersault and then freeze and stop. I'm not sure why--whether the position feels so vulnerable and out of control or whether I'll hit my head on the bottom etc. I had gotten to the point where I could do them but then one day starting into a flip, I became disoriented, couldn't get myself to the surface, finally did but had an awful cramp in the process. After that, I've been terrified of them--so much so that I just decided it wasn't worth stressing about it anymore and just went back to doing open turns. I won't say that's the way to go--but I realized that if it made me so anxious when I came to the wall that I wasn't enjoying swimming or swim practice anymore, then was it really worth it to me to keep beating myself up trying to do them?

But the coach of my current group had us working on them recently--and I kept trying without success and with the same fear I had before I shut them out of my life. I suppose I could just stick to open turns and be fine w/ them. But now I wonder if it might be time to face that fear again. It's just that even thinking about it stresses me out. I think the coach is disappointed in me. I am too.

But I also know that if my body is resisting as much as it is, there's something going on that involves more than turning a somersault. Tomorrow there's a swim meet, and I plan to stick to open turns and if that slows my time, so be it. I'll do my best and enjoy the process w/out thinking about what isn't in my skill set just now.

When swimming feels good--actually great--is when I stop worrying about whom I please or don't please and just set myself free to swim. I can swim for a LONG time that way. The one-hour postal swim gave me that feeling of total freedom b/c someone was counting my laps, freeing me from that part of the swim, and the event wasn't really a "race" in the traditional sense, just an hour to myself to swim as far as I could and with only the goal of improving on a previous hour swim, nothing more. After a while, I was in a rhythm, just enjoying the feeling of swimming w/ no idea of how many laps I'd done or how much time it was taking me. Yes, I did open turns and I didn't worry about it at all. In practice, I sometimes feel like the odd person out b/c I don't do flip turns, but I need to remember that I'm progressing at my own rate, and that I don't have to compare myself with others or beat myself up if a skill comes harder to me than to others.

Have others here experienced that kind of phobic response to flip turns? If so, how did you respond? By making your peace with open turns? Persisting until you succeeded? Personally, I think both responses are perfectly legitimate. Why must we all progress at the same rate and why not acknowledge our fear, honor the desire to protect oneself, treat these things gently? If the overall goal is to swim, be fit, compete as opportunity allows, and enjoy the process, that which fosters such a goal is what's important--and is individual to each person.

That said, I haven't abandoned the idea of doing flip turns just yet. But I'm going to proceed gradually. The evening when we were to work on flip turns, I tried so many times that I left the pool dizzy and queasy--and upset at myself for failing. Since then, I've decided to try a few times following swims and practices to do a somersault, but have a stopping point regardless of "success"-- max about 5-6 attempts, no more.

If I regain my "wings" as it were, super--if not, I keep on w/ open turns and decide that I'm my own "judgment free" zone. The turns are less important to me than the swimming. And that's what I have to keep remembering.
Good for you in knowing what works for you and what does not. Swimming should be fun. Flip when/if you are ready.