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jswim
June 8th, 2005, 11:45 AM
ok, I've been working on my free stroke quite a bit, but still feel like something's off. My coach said that when done correctly it should feel like my front hand is getting pulled through the water, and that there should not be and resistance felt on that hand.

Well, I still feel resistance most of the time and I'm wondering if I'm leaning on the hand too much, or perhaps my head position is not correct.. Does anyone know what i'm talking about or any ways to correct this?

thanks,
Jeanette.

ps.. we used the stretch cords in practice last night for the first time. It was so much fun! (well at least the coming back from the far wall was) lol.. Has anyone else used these and what do you think of them?

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 8th, 2005, 12:52 PM
I've never really understood what feeling resistance on your hands means. I've heard other people say they have to move their hands through the water. Where is the resistance? What part of your hand do you feel it on?

jswim
June 8th, 2005, 03:00 PM
mostly around the tips of my fingers, sometimes I mess around and put my head in different positions and the "resistance" goes away for a stroke or two, then it comes back..

I don't know. I think I may be trying to pay attention to too many things at once while I'm swimming, but then when I don't pay attention I just end up doing the same stroke I always have..

I must just have swimming ADD or something.. ;)

SwiminONandON
June 8th, 2005, 03:11 PM
I once heard it described as you should feel like you are climbing up a ladder, almost as if your arms are remaining stationary and your body is gliding ... I like that description ... Use your arms to anchor your stroke

Rob Copeland
June 8th, 2005, 06:00 PM
I’m not sure what relationship there is between “head position” and “feel like my front hand is getting pulled through the water”???

Also, if your front hand is getting pulled through the water then it is causing slowing resistance, if it is pulling through the water then it is providing thrust, so I’m not sure at what point of the stroke the coach is referring to getting pulled (maybe the entry and catch). But after the catch the hand should be accelerating through the pull causing resistance to be felt on the hand and arm.

And to your post script… Stretch cords (the ones that let you barely make the 25) are one of my favorite training toys. I find them a great tool to work on generating maximum power. And while the free ride back is fun, there is not a lot of other benefit beyond working on the streamline.

valhallan
June 8th, 2005, 08:43 PM
The ideal head position is looking downward at the black line. Any lift of the head means that the hips will sink, and this causes drag. Kind of like swimming with the brakes on. In the articles section on this site you'll find some very helpful info from Coach Hines regarding head position.


As far as the feel for the water question....that's very unique to each individual. The ladder imagery has been around for a long time. If you think about the hand grasping a rung of a ladder and then pulling yourself past it,...this is the best analogy of good stroke mechanics. The forearm should really remain vertical for as long as possible throughout the pull and push of the underwater arm cycle.

Paying attention to having a high elbow position can be better than wondering too much about the hands.The leverage will be much better to allow the torso to connect to the stroke. This works for not only freestyle, but butterfly and backstroke too.

Maryyyyyy
June 9th, 2005, 06:06 AM
Originally posted by valhallan
The ideal head position is looking downward at the black line. Any lift of the head means that the hips will sink, and this causes drag. Kind of like swimming with the brakes on. In the articles section on this site you'll find some very helpful info from Coach Hines regarding head position.

Thanks valhallan! This is the answer I was looking for in this thread...

BTW, in order to correct my head position, a friend of mine had to tell me to look at my FEET (not the black line)... that's how far up I was holding my head. Now that I've corrected the head position, a lot of other things are falling into place, including some fishtailing...

Mary

ande
June 9th, 2005, 10:06 AM
You want to feel resistance on your hands as you press them through the water when you're swimming.

your head position should be neutral,
don't look up
don't look down,

keep in mind, when you're swimming through the water, your body creates a profile like a pipe, any time one body part goes up, another body part goes down. When you lift your head, it lowers another part of your body creating a larger diameter to your pipe/body. Lifting your head acts like a brake. Besides neutral takes less effort. This concept applies to every stroke. It's especially important in breastroke and butterfly.

Ande


Originally posted by jswim
ok, I've been working on my free stroke quite a bit, but still feel like something's off. My coach said that when done correctly it should feel like my front hand is getting pulled through the water, and that there should not be and resistance felt on that hand.

Well, I still feel resistance most of the time and I'm wondering if I'm leaning on the hand too much, or perhaps my head position is not correct.. Does anyone know what i'm talking about or any ways to correct this?

thanks,
Jeanette.

ps.. we used the stretch cords in practice last night for the first time. It was so much fun! (well at least the coming back from the far wall was) lol.. Has anyone else used these and what do you think of them?

jswim
June 9th, 2005, 11:04 AM
Thanks for all the input!.. I think my head position has been too high, I will look down further and see how that effects the stroke.

Also great input about the arm position during the pull, thanks!

As for the feeling of the arm being pulled through the water, I should have been more specific. He says it would feel that way just before the catch and pull.. right after your arm enters the water... maybe my hands are just not "slicing" into the water good enough??

well, I've got some things to try now and see how it works..
thanks!!
J

SwiminONandON
June 9th, 2005, 11:21 AM
The "spear the water part"? Think of your hand as a spear, it should glide in, then fully extend.

jswim
June 9th, 2005, 12:41 PM
ok, thanks!...

ps.. nice quote! ROFL!.

nkace
June 9th, 2005, 12:53 PM
So if you shouldn't look up or down, how is your head positioned?

Guvnah
June 9th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Originally posted by SwiminONandON
The "spear the water part"? Think of your hand as a spear, it should glide in, then fully extend.

In my mind I see my arm entering the water like it is entering a jacket sleeve. After my hand hits the water, I thrust it forward like I'm putting it into a sleeve.

And to address the point that the "feel" feels different for each person, for me I feel my whole forearm, not just my hand, pressing againt the water as I do my pull.

And SwiminONandON said, "Use your arms to anchor your stroke." That is a beautiful description.

Glenn
June 10th, 2005, 12:03 AM
Question for Valhallan:

I have been wondering of late about the "anchor the arm" notion and have never been able to understand what it meant. However your explanation using the "grasping the rung of a ladder then pulling yourself past it" is something that finally makes sense to me! Thank you for that.

You also mentioned the importance of a high elbow position, something I have been working on this week, and that "the leverage will be much better to allow the torso to connect to the stroke." Explain that last part again. What do you mean by allowing the torso to connect to the stroke? Does that mean with elbow up you get more of the latisimus dorsi muscle involved?

Thanks for clearly explaining something I have been wondering about for a long time.

Glenn:)

mattson
June 10th, 2005, 09:04 AM
Originally posted by Glenn
I have been wondering of late about the "anchor the arm" notion and have never been able to understand what it meant.

It's when you are pressing a lot of water, without your hand slipping significantly. It has been described as feeling like you have grabbed a handful of pudding. (The idea is that you get more propulsion when moving a large mass of water slowly, rather than a small mass of water quickly.)

If you are still not sure how you can "anchor" on water, think about when you put your hand outside your car window (when you are in the passenger seat, not driving) while the car is moving. If you can catch air, you should be able to catch water.

valhallan
June 10th, 2005, 09:46 AM
Glenn,

You're very welcome . When the elbow is high in the water, your upper body strength can really come into play. The hand is just a guide to getting a good grip on the water. Many people swim with their hands as the primary focus and not so much their elbow position.

Real power comes from the muscles way up in your arm which are connected to the shoulders and lats as you decribed. If you can imagine wrapping your arms over a water barrel as you move down the pool (or beer barrel)...the elbows will be high, allowing for more force to go into each stroke. Very simply...more leverage means more force can be applied.

It's not like you have to *muscle* your way through the water however. It's very simple physics. The torso connection will ensure that power goes into the stroke. It's very important to roll on each stroke as well, otherwise this connection won't happen like it should. Think about wrapping your arms over barrels and throwing them under and past you at next practice. It works.

Remember that it's just a matter of falling into each stroke with the whole body. Momentum coming from your torso is going to much greater than the simple swishing of hands.

flipper79
June 10th, 2005, 10:22 AM
Valhallan-great post. Thanks!

jswim
June 10th, 2005, 02:44 PM
here here!! or is it.. hear hear!...???

anyway.. I concur, thanks for the great post Valhallen!:D

irreklg
June 10th, 2005, 08:16 PM
When I first started swimming age group (a million years ago) I would move my arms as fast as I could, which of course led to spinning and not really getting anywhere fast though it felt like I was giving it everything I had. One of the parents of a fellow swimmer started telling me to swim "over the barrel, over the barrel." This made sense to me and all of my swimming improved leaps and bounds. He said that to me every time before I raced for six years. I have never forgotten him or his great wisdom.

Great post Valhallan. Thanks.

valhallan
June 11th, 2005, 07:30 AM
Thanks. My pleasure to share.

The imagery can be helpful because almost every swimmer has a practice when the hands just don't have the right feel, like they slip through the water. If you were also able to imagine swimming as if you had a hand attached at the elbow joint, the sensation will be much different. The focus is on the arms and not the hands. A high elbow guarantees that you'll have a longer stroke which you can throw more power into. The barrel idea does exactly that.

Aside from arm motion, kicking is also a key ingredient to all this. The rythm of the kick has a great deal to do with timing the body roll. The kick is not so much for added thrust, but for providing the leverage in getting the mid-section to roll on each arm cycle. The *roll* is essential to getting into a rythm where the body rides slightly on it's side to engage the powerful back and abdominal muscles.

It really helps to have a mental diagram of a very simple concept instead of thinking too much and too hard. There's so much going on when you think about the synchronisity of all the motions involved in swimming.... Sensory overload can be overwhelming. Keeping it simple works.