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Gulf Coast Swimmer
June 18th, 2006, 11:30 AM
Does anyone else here NOT kick when they swim freestyle?

When I was 19, a coach told me that a lot of "real" freestylers don't kick, which was a surprise to me because every other coach I'd had would yell at me to kick during my events. I grew up thinking I was the odd one out, but maybe someone on here knows what I'm talking about...

rtodd
June 21st, 2006, 08:40 PM
You need to kick. If you don't your legs will sink and so will you. Pull sets are done with just arms, but with a flotation device to keep you level in the water.

Gulf Coast Swimmer
June 21st, 2006, 09:03 PM
I don't sink when I don't kick, though...I maintain enough speed to keep the rest of my body on top of the water. Back when I swam on a team, I did pull sets faster than a lot of people, but I couldn't freestyle kick to keep up during kick drills. It seems logical that if I can't get a lot of speed out of my kick, it's better to just minimize drag and keep my legs streamlined with my body.

I just wondered if anyone else did the same thing, but apparently not!

:(

nkfrench
June 22nd, 2006, 12:36 AM
I go just about as slow when I kick as when I don't (freestyle). My legs are very buoyant and my kick is nonpropulsive. With a 6-beat kick my stroke turnover rate is way too slow. A kind of 4-beat with sometimes a little crossover works well. I feel like I get a little bit of body dolphining even if I am not kicking. Maybe it's just wiggling or fishtailing.

Used to be that I could predict my race times by what I would do on a pull set with a pull buoy and paddles.

I think there is a lot more emphasis on kicking now than when I was a kid in the 1970s. The really good swimmers now are probably going to be good kickers too unless they are distance freestyle specialists and even then I bet most of them are competent. The times are just too fast otherwise.

heydavis
June 22nd, 2006, 02:07 AM
My kick is definately a weak one. My feet generally drag behind me and are used more or less for balance. But, I am a distance swimmer and if I had a hard kick while doing a 1650, I think I'd lock up early. When I do the sprints, however, I do introduce a kick. I do specific kick sets to keep the legs in shape and to help with the lower body strength.

sparx35
June 24th, 2006, 10:54 AM
i sometimes find that i forget to kick and i have to really think about kicking so its a bit hit and miss for me,but i try to kick....when i remember!!!!!!!!:D

carriem
July 25th, 2006, 05:12 PM
you definately need to kick. It adds so much more power.


-Carrie


__________________
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craiglll@yahoo.com
July 26th, 2006, 10:00 AM
When I was a kid, Iwas told that kicking was used for balance. When I got my WSI in the late 70s, I was told that kicking was for balance. The East Germans showed us tht legs also provide forward movement. And at the least help save our shoulders. Look at some of the videos of Grant Hacket. sometimes he has a terrible kick. There is no rythm(sp) nor is his kicking ballanced. He also has had terrible shoulder pain. The body has to be kept in line.

the persojn who said that eh/she can predict time by how fast withpaddles & a bouy dpoesn't realize that with this equipment the body stays aligned and rotation happens. I woudl bet that it doesn't with regular swimming.

Everyone should do some type of kick. If you don't your legs are generally dragging. If you aren't kicking, you are ensuring that you are not rotating your shoulders and hips equally. The real momentum of swimming comes from hip rotation. I like to think of swimming as plantng your hand in front of you. then propelling your body over your hand. It is very much like poll vaulting.

ande
July 26th, 2006, 10:51 AM
that coach didn't know his stuff
kicking is essential in free

ande


Originally posted by Gulf Coast Swimmer
Does anyone else here NOT kick when they swim freestyle?

When I was 19, a coach told me that a lot of "real" freestylers don't kick, which was a surprise to me because every other coach I'd had would yell at me to kick during my events. I grew up thinking I was the odd one out, but maybe someone on here knows what I'm talking about...

Dobbie
July 26th, 2006, 11:36 AM
I did pull sets faster than a lot of people, but I couldn't freestyle kick to keep up during kick drills. It seems logical that if I can't get a lot of speed out of my kick, it's better to just minimize drag and keep my legs streamlined with my body.

I think this is may be true to a degree for certain body shapes.

I train with a guy that can't go much faster than about 1:06 for 100m free.However he can pace @ 1:12 for each 100 m in a 2km ocean race.He hardly kicks at all.His kick is basically for balance and enough to keep his legs up.When he does kick sets it's unbeleivably slow.After much analysis I've come to the conclusion that he just isn't designed to kick well and hence he has naturally learnt to conserve kicking energy and put the extra effort into his arms.When you look at his body he has shorter legs in comparison to his torso.He has bandy legs.He is duck footed.

Dobbie
July 26th, 2006, 11:42 AM
I like to think of swimming as plantng your hand in front of you. then propelling your body over your hand. It is very much like poll vaulting.

I like this analogy......

swimswam
July 26th, 2006, 12:16 PM
Kicking is essential for freestyle. It should vary depending on the distance you are swimming. For a long distance swim it should have a 1,2,3... slow and steady type of beat to it. For shorter distance it should have a quicker tempo and greater power. The kick is so important especially coming off the wall as it provides an important burst of speed out of the turn. A swim workout should include some kick only training. Use of fins can also be fun and a strength builder. Don't overlook the importance of a good kick.

Dave Chambers
July 31st, 2006, 08:45 AM
When I was a swimmer my strength was my kick so I thought it was the most important thing. However since I have started coaching triathletes I have changed my tune.

If the person has very little flexibility in their ankles then they are better off not kicking hard, rather use very small movements of their legs.

The next time you swim try kicking with rigid ankles and see what direction you go in.

I do agree with the previous posts saying that you must kick but there is always an exception to the rule. When it comes to adults these exceptions are more common.

Cheers
Dave

osterber
July 31st, 2006, 11:53 AM
Try to find a "real" freestyler who swims the 50 free who doesn't kick.

Kicking is paramount in a spring freestyle event. It becomes less and less central to the race as the distance goes up. Kicking for most people burns a lot of oxygen, and generates a lot of lactic acid.

Kicking can always be beneficial. When I was in college, I could do 100's kick on a 1:20 interval without a lot of difficulty. But it would take a couple thousand yards of swimming to work that lactic acid out of my body.

If you can get a strong, efficient, kick going in a distance event... you're golden.

-Rick

FindingMyInnerFish
July 31st, 2006, 12:25 PM
I've had to minimize (sometimes even eliminate) kicking lately b/c of IT band problems (pain when kicking much more than the basic I need to keep my legs from sinking)... sometimes have to do one-legged kicks or use the pull buoy for a good part of my workout.

And while I'm not that great w/ kicking, my current "work around" strategies definitely slow me down!

But there is an upside: the knee pain doesn't occur if I focus on what a coach once described as kicking from the hips, not from the knees... So actually this injury seems to be a good opportunity to improve kick technique.

knelson
July 31st, 2006, 01:03 PM
I think anyone who uses a two-beat kick is essentially "not kicking" from the perspective that the kick isn't really providing propulsion, but merely helps with balance. There have been plenty of successful swimmers that use a two-beat kick. I've never actually seen someone not kick at all. That seems like it would be analogous to running without pumping your arms.

Dave Chambers
July 31st, 2006, 07:56 PM
I agree that to have a fast 50 it is essential to have a great kick, but you also have to know your limitations. If you body won't allow you to do this then you have to make adjustments.

Also you should be using your core strength to keep you feet up. If you are having to kick to keep them up then you are not using the right muscle groups. Again I really think it comes back to using a coaches eyes to help develop your stroke.

Cheers
dave

mattson
August 1st, 2006, 08:03 AM
I'm guessing the coach may have meant that "real" freestylers (whatever that means) don't emphasize the kick. In which case "not kicking" is more like just letting your legs kick the minimum amount while you focus your energy on the arms and core muscles.

As people point out, in races where energy conservation isn't a factor (like the 50), if you have an effective kick there is no reason not to use it.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 1st, 2006, 08:56 AM
I really htink this argument is nonsense. YOu should always kick. Would we be haivng this same argument if it started out, "People don't need ot roll if their role is no good."?

Dave Chambers
August 1st, 2006, 09:21 AM
So what do you say to a person who has very little use of their legs. Like somebody with MS.

I agree in a perfect world you need to kick but lets be honest everybody has limitations in different ways. This case could be argued for ages and that's why it is important that swimmers get to swimming coaches becasue it will only be then that they will get proper technique advise.

We can all speculate on different techniques but we are all guessing what this person really needs. Remember that biomechanics is written based on a human being perfect for swimming. I would say at least 90% of people here at this forum do not fall into that catergory. Some people may be further away then others. This is the skill of coaching. Being able to adapt the biomechanical principles to help the swimmer swim their best. Sometimes we have to break rules.

I coach a masters swimmer (45-49 age group)who can go around 9mins for an 800 freestyle and he does not rotate and has very little kick. I can play with his stroke (to make it look like Ian Thorpe) but it will take years for him to adapt this stroke, so he will swim bad times in the mean time. If he is swimming extremely slow for him do you think that he will continue swimming. I think not.

I would rather wait for his times slow down then gradually change the stroke. There are still plenty of things that I can work on but are not what you would find in a biomechanics book.

Gulf Coast Swimmer
August 1st, 2006, 11:01 PM
I guess it would've been important to note that I was a distance freestyler, not a sprinter. (Actually, I used to swim breaststroke above everything else, but knee problems limit my abilities now so I'm doing more distance free.) Right now there's no masters team in my area, so I don't have a coach to give me tips.

Dave Chambers
August 1st, 2006, 11:22 PM
The classic breaststroker.:D I really suggest that you keep your kick small and as streamlined as possible. Breaststrokers generally struggle with the other kicks because of ankle flexion. You still need some kick but it needs to be very small.

I don't really recommend doing a lot of kick any way if you have bad knees. You want to continue swimming for as long as you can so try to reduce things that can flare up old injuries.

Cheers
Dave

slowfish
September 22nd, 2006, 07:13 PM
i come from a running background but took up swimming about 12 years ago. i still run but i also swim 3x week or so and do masters workouts. i've improved in every stroke but i still can't kick freestyle!

doing kicking sets, i'm the one who is only 1/2 way down the lane when everyone else is already on the wall. i have to use zoomers just to not get left completely in the dust by people who i can outswim.

is it even possible to improve my kick or is it a body structure issue that i can't change?

if it's 'improvalbe' what are some suggestions?

thanks a bunch.

BlayzingInfrno
September 23rd, 2006, 12:05 PM
Same here slowfish.

KaizenSwimmer
September 23rd, 2006, 02:33 PM
Originally posted by slowfish
is it even possible to improve my kick or is it a body structure issue that i can't change?

if it's 'improvalbe' what are some suggestions?

thanks a bunch.

Most of the comments on this revived thread are some months old, but all are interesting nonetheless. Kicking seems to be an area of intense interest, but not much agreement.

I'm speaking as a 2-beat kicker, but one who spent years trying to learn a 6-beat, because for a long time I believed that my 2-beat, in effect, amounted to "not kicking." Certainly for many years it was ineffectual and contributed little to propulsion. But I continued to explore ways of increasing its effectiveness and finally at age 53 I learned how to integrate a core-powered 2-beat with my stroke and that has made all the difference in the world.

NOT kicking is really not possible. The body rotation in freestyle requires some counterbalancing from the legs. So even if you were to try not to kick, underwater video would show you kicking.

The kick really shouldn't be used for balance as redistributing weight and mass above the waist is a far more efficient way to accomplish that. In short sprints it may contribute something to propulsion, but that is probably neglible.

About 50 years ago Doc Counsilman conducted an experiment in which swimmers were towed at various speeds. He measured the tension on the towline with the swimmer kicking and with the legs streamlined. The only instance in which kicking decreased tension on the line (i.e. added propulsion) was at slow towing speeds, with the swimmer kicking at maximum effort. But at any speed over 5 feet per second (1:00 per 100 yards) the kick contributed nothing and, at times, actually increased drag!

Because swimmers always move faster when using the arms alone, than with legs alone, Doc compared the pull and kick to a car with separate front-wheel and rear-wheel drive. If the front wheels turn at 30 mph, but the rear wheels turn at 20 mph, the resultant speed will not be 50 but less than 30, because the rear wheels create drag. The same thing happens when a swimmer overemphasizes the kick. The kick consumes energy and increases drag.

Doc also measured the energy cost of kicking in studies that compared the oxygen consumption of pulling only, kicking only, and swimming whole-stroke. In each instance he found that hard kicking greatly increases the energy cost of moving at a given speed. In one study, kicking at a speed of about 60 seconds for 50 yards - moderate speed for any competitive swimmer-used four times as much oxygen as pulling at the same speed.

So here's a purely personal and highly empirical take on kicking: The pull and kick do not function independently in any stroke. Instead, they’re interwoven in a complex whole-body dynamic. In my freestyle, I can feel very clearly that the primary function of my kick is not to propel me forward, but to help my body rotate. When I kick DOWN with my left leg, it drives my left hip UP and my right hand FORWARD, which contributes to the power of the right hip and shoulder driving DOWN. And it’s this combination which “vaults” me past the spot where my left hand is holding onto the water.

The legs, attached to the corners of the torso, are perfectly positioned for the task of tipping it from side to side. A related consideration is to keep them inside my slip stream as they perform that tipping function, to make rotation easier and minimize drag. If they were splayed apart, they’d act as outriggers and inhibit, rather than aid, rotation.

When I do the 2-beat so I can feel its power contributing materially to the whole-body dynamic, I feel my gut doing the work, not my thighs. If I feel my thigh muscles that means I’m bending my knee too much – which also means my feet will be coming out of my slipstream. Inefficient force AND too much drag.

I’m not sure there’s an exercise that will make a 2-beat kick stronger. I’ve tried doing dolphin kick in various positions to see if I could make it feel close to what I feel when swimming with a 2-beat, I’ve concluded the best way to condition the muscles that power a 2-beat kick is by swimming…with a 2-beat kick.

SolarEnergy
September 25th, 2006, 10:55 AM
So here's a purely personal and highly empirical take on kicking: The pull and kick do not function independently in any stroke. Instead, they’re interwoven in a complex whole-body dynamic. In my freestyle, I can feel very clearly that the primary function of my kick is not to propel me forward, but to help my body rotate. When I kick DOWN with my left leg, it drives my left hip UP and my right hand FORWARD, which contributes to the power of the right hip and shoulder driving DOWN. And it’s this combination which “vaults” me past the spot where my left hand is holding onto the water. And if I was to tie your ankles together, thus preventing you from using your kick, without using any pull buoy, what consequence(s) would it have during let's say a 1500 free style event? Just to clarify the context or this hypotetical experiment, you swim (or try to swim) your best 1500 even with no kick and no buoyancy aid.

gull
September 25th, 2006, 11:55 AM
Because swimmers always move faster when using the arms alone, than with legs alone, Doc compared the pull and kick to a car with separate front-wheel and rear-wheel drive. If the front wheels turn at 30 mph, but the rear wheels turn at 20 mph, the resultant speed will not be 50 but less than 30, because the rear wheels create drag. The same thing happens when a swimmer overemphasizes the kick. The kick consumes energy and increases drag.


There is a problem with this analogy. The wheels of the car are turning at a constant speed, but a swimmer has periods of acceleration and deceleration during each stroke cycle.

Clearly there are many swimmers with a very propulsive kick, Popov being a good example (able to kick 50m in 28 seconds). As for distance swimmers, Bill Rose has stated that a six beat kick was an essential part of Lars Jensen's success in the 1500 in Athens.

Many coaches (Maglischo among them) believe that the primary function of a nonpropulsive kick is to provide balance. Supporting this view is the example of a swimmer with a relatively weak kick who is faster with a pull buoy than full stroke swimming. Presumably hip rotation is no better (and possibly worse) with a pull buoy than without.

I have heard it said (Rick DeMont?) that you should build your stroke around your strengths; specifically, if you have a propulsive kick, by all means build the stroke around it.

TheGoodSmith
September 25th, 2006, 12:24 PM
I have been told that compared to Rich Saeger, I have no kick.

The way I see it, my legs were made for dragging.


John Smith

SolarEnergy
September 25th, 2006, 01:14 PM
Many coaches (Maglischo among them) believe that the primary function of a nonpropulsive kick is to provide balance. Not sure than this truly reflects Maglischo's take on the role flutter kick in free style. I'd say that based on some study results, flutter kick is now believed to be fairly propulsive, at least in 50-100-200 and to some extent 400. That's more than half of the pool free style events.

gull
September 25th, 2006, 01:19 PM
Not sure than this truly reflects Maglischo's take on the role flutter kick in free style. I'd say that based on some study results, flutter kick is now believed to be fairly propulsive, at least in 50-100-200 and to some extent 400. That's more than half of the pool free style events.

I said that was his take on the role of a nonpropulsive kick. Reread my post.

totalswimm is arguing that the kick is neither for propulsion nor balance but rather for rotation.

scyfreestyler
September 25th, 2006, 01:42 PM
Perhaps people are different and the kick performs different functions for each of them. Some people might use the kick to compensate for a weaker pull while other might use the kick for balance. Others might find adequate balance without their kick and have a pull that reduces the need for a propulsive kick. As is with most things regarding people there is no cookie cutter, one size fits all answer or solution.

SolarEnergy
September 25th, 2006, 01:51 PM
I said that was his take on the role of a nonpropulsive kick. Reread my post.

totalswimm is arguing that the kick is neither for propulsion nor balance but rather for rotation.
Truly sorry gull80. Apologies.

totalswimm is wrong of course, or his take doesn't apply to sprinters

This is one thing that I still find puzzling though. How come the "drag" aspect isn't mentionned? Oh wait... that's probably what people refer as "balance" I guess. Being in balance would mean that the body stays well at the surface right?

Then hey ! I agree with you 100% gull80. One shouldn't need the kick for rotation. But an efficient kick (could be light but efficient) will have an impact on body position on the water.

SolarEnergy
September 25th, 2006, 01:54 PM
Others might find adequate balance without their kick and have a pull that reduces the need for a propulsive kick. I am a strong advocate of drilling freestyle no kick with a band around the ankles. I have never met one single swimmer capable of performing this drill at reasonable speed without a negative impact on lower body position on the water. Of course this drill is aimed at improving one's ability to be in balance without the help of the kick, but even when performed by international level freestyle specialists, there is always some level of lowerbody sinking.

gull
September 25th, 2006, 01:55 PM
As is with most things regarding people there is no cookie cutter, one size fits all answer or solution.

Couldn't agree more.

Unless you're trying to sell books, of course.

slowfish
September 25th, 2006, 02:13 PM
So much discussion over kicking!

Does this mean that if you suck at kicking fresstyle with a board then your stroke is terribly suffering or do you think that your stroke mechanics can make up for this weakness?

Are there world-class swimmers who are known to be lousy kickers?

This goes back to my original question of how do you improve your kick?

SolarEnergy
September 25th, 2006, 02:23 PM
Couldn't agree more.

Unless you're trying to sell books, of course. I have nothing to sell don't worry.

And to tell you the truth, I have nothing against those who do, unless they're selling wrong information... if you know what I mean ;)

gull
September 25th, 2006, 02:29 PM
This goes back to my original question of how do you improve your kick?

I have always had a weak kick. For the past few years I have been kicking with fins (Kiefer silicone training fins, slightly longer and more flexible than Zoomers). I began with a basic set like 10x50s on 1:00, but have also done sets of 100s, as well as vertical kicking (initially with fins, now without). I improved to the point that I could do a set of 50s on :45 holding :35. Training with the age groupers, we did sets of swimming with fins, usually longer repeats on fast intervals (very tiring). It seems to have helped--recently I discovered that I am now able to kick 50s without fins on 1:00--something I couldn't do when I was younger.

slowfish
September 25th, 2006, 02:36 PM
Thanks Gull80!

I've been using zoomers for years and without them, i don't think i ever could have learned fly kick but now i can do it with and without zoomers after consistently practicing.

Free kick seems to tire me out even more than fly kick so i've kind of avoided it at all costs :o thinking 'why bother, it won't do me any good'...but based on your experience, i think i'm going to need t do with free kick like i did with fly kick - start building in sets of free kick with fins into every workout. :eek:!

did your freestyle times improve when your kicking times improved?

SolarEnergy
September 25th, 2006, 03:04 PM
Free kick seems to tire me out even more than fly kick so i've kind of avoided it at all costs :o thinking 'why bother, it won't do me any good'...but based on your experience, i think i'm going to need t do with free kick like i did with fly kick - start building in sets of free kick with fins into every workout. :eek:!
Ankle 'floppyness' and flexibility are very important too.
Here my big toe touches the ground while having my leg entirely flat on the ground..
http://www.dropshots.com/day.php?userid=71362&cdate=20060206&ctime=065355

As a result of a good ankle flexibility and floppyness, I am not putting any effort whatsoever in this kicking demo here..
http://www.dropshots.com/day.php?userid=71362&cdate=20060206&ctime=065349

gull
September 25th, 2006, 03:11 PM
...did your freestyle times improve when your kicking times improved?

My times improved, but I don't know how much of that was due to the kicking. I swim middle distance with a two- or four-beat kick.

slowfish
September 25th, 2006, 03:36 PM
Ankle 'floppyness' and flexibility are very important too.
&ctime=065349[/url]

so it guess having big feet would also be a good thing? if you have floppy, big feet then it's like wearing fins!

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 05:19 AM
And if I was to tie your ankles together, thus preventing you from using your kick, without using any pull buoy, what consequence(s) would it have during let's say a 1500 free style event? Just to clarify the context or this hypotetical experiment, you swim (or try to swim) your best 1500 even with no kick and no buoyancy aid.

My legs would sink and I'd be reduced to attempting to propel entirely with my arms. Consequently I'd (a) go much slower than when my legs are integrated with the action of the rest of my body, and (b) [but contributing significantly to (a)] my arms would fatigue quickly.

I know this because actually the suggested experiment isn't hypothetical at all, but one I performed hundreds of times.

Immobilizing my ankles with a rubber band is one of the training exercises I frequently employed back when I believed that swimming propulsion came from the "arms department" and the "legs department" working somewhat independently of each other. Because I believed that, virtually every day I trained each department independently with "pulling sets" and "kicking sets."

I became very good at such sets, but hindsight makes that prowess seem pointless because I swim whole-stroke (both training and racing) much better since I began practicing "integrated" training, as described in the thread on kicking sets.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 05:29 AM
And if I was to tie your ankles together, thus preventing you from using your kick, without using any pull buoy, what consequence(s) would it have during let's say a 1500 free style event? Just to clarify the context or this hypotetical experiment, you swim (or try to swim) your best 1500 even with no kick and no buoyancy aid.

Actually that's not a hypothetical experiment at all, but one I estimate I performed well over a hundred times back in the days when I believed, as most do, that swimming propulsion is produced by the "arms department" and "legs department" working somewhat independently of each other -- each therefore needing to be strengthened with "pulling sets" and "kicking sets."

What happened each time I immobilized my legs with a rubber band was:
1) they began to drag, and
2) I went much slower, because
3) my arms had to do all the work, with little contribution from core muscle, thus fatiguing rapidly.

Consequently I was unable to do much more than 50yd or 100yd repeats on such sets.

Since I came to believe that swimming works best when done with total body integration -- and ceased to practice dis-integrated training -- I've swum much better.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 05:30 AM
Oops. Sorry for replying twice. First time I replied to SolarEnergy's query the system took me back to a blank "reply to thread" box, with only the quote in it, so I assumed my original reply got lost in the ether.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 06:39 AM
Couldn't agree more.

Unless you're trying to sell books, of course.

Most people would say I shouldn't take the bait, but my patience has worn thin with comments that are not only snarky and smartass, but, increasingly offensive. And I apologize in advance for what will be an off-topic post.

For some reason it's thought to be okay to suggest that whatever I may post on these forums is tainted or suspect because I "sell books."

I can think of some others who "sold books" whose motives are never questioned. Ernie Maglischo and Doc Counsilman, for instance, both referenced on this thread.

Perhaps it's because both rightly esteemed gentlemen earned the privilege of being called "Dr" from academic study, while I'm just a working stiff who has seemingly misspent a cumulative total of 25,000 or more hours studying swimming through less formal means -- personal practice and coaching/teaching.

I can think of a few additional differences between myself and Ernie and Doc:

1) Their coaching experience, and the source of the observations that informed their books was overwhelmingly with recruited swimmers who represented the creme de la creme of human swimmers, while my coaching experience, and the source of the observations that informed my books (and my posts here) has overwhelmingly been with average folks, whose frustrations are much like those I experienced for 20+ years in my own swimming. And while Doc was an NCAA and AAU champion in his college days at NCAA champ Ohio State. I was a pure hack at undistinguished St Johns.

2) I've maintained a personal swimming practice - and thus have been able to draw on a more "visceral" kind of experience in writing. True Doc trained for and swam the English Channel at age 57, but that was a temporary involvement, while I've spent countless hours testing every observation I make in writing on myself before "going public" with it.

Am I wrong in thinking that observations drawn from working with "average" folks -- even when they question the efficacy of pulling sets and kicking sets, or suggest that technique training may be of greater value than aerobic training -- reasonably relevant on a forum overwhelmingly populated with average folks?

And is it even remotely possible that what I write here, rather than being cynically calculated to "sell books," might actually reflect that:
a) I've devoted my life to swimming, writing and teaching because I have a passion for it (if I was really interested in "selling books" there are dozens of subject areas far more popular with potential book purchasers), and
b) what I write reflects what I really do in my own training and with the thousands of swimmers I've coached, and
c) that I went to the trouble of recording those observations (with no advance assurance of selling anything significant) because they produced results, on a broad and consistent basis, strikingly superior to anything I'd gotten when I pursued a more conventional approach.

There's one more difference between Doc/Ernie and me. My books have sold in far greater numbers. And despite your suspicion that it's all because of self-serving posts on this forum, their popularity has overwhelmingly been driven by word of mouth. People read them. They swim better. They're excited enough that they take the time to tell others. If I was just writing in a way calculated to "sell books," that would never have happened.

I apologize for venting, but I read that comment about midnight, and didn't sleep very well so venting was on my mind when I got up five hours later. Gull80 was hoping to get my goat? Mission Accomplished.

SolarEnergy
September 26th, 2006, 07:54 AM
so it guess having big feet would also be a good thing? if you have floppy, big feet then it's like wearing fins! You got it.

That is because it allows for a better foot's angle of attack (relative to the surface of the water).

SolarEnergy
September 26th, 2006, 07:56 AM
What happened each time I immobilized my legs with a rubber band was:
1) they began to drag, and
2) I went much slower, because
3) my arms had to do all the work, with little contribution from core muscle, thus fatiguing rapidly.
That basically confirms that the leg kick action also contributes to keep the lower body at the surface.


Actually that's not a hypothetical experiment at all, but one I estimate I performed well over a hundred times back in the days when I believed, as most do, that swimming propulsion is produced by the "arms department" and "legs department" working somewhat independently of each other -- each therefore needing to be strengthened with "pulling sets" and "kicking sets." That wasn't my main purpose in talking about this drill, but the band around the ankles exercise is a drill to improve one's potential to improve balance without the kick. That is not a pulling exercise. It is aimed at raising the swimmer's awareness level. Same principle as the swim with fists drill for instance.

gull
September 26th, 2006, 10:51 AM
Most people would say I shouldn't take the bait, but my patience has worn thin with comments that are not only snarky and smartass, but, increasingly offensive.

In the first place, I did not specifically refer to you or your books in my post, although that's certainly a reasonable assumption on your part. My point was that the "one size fits all" approach (which is by no means restricted to swimming books) is flawed, in my opinion, but does lend itself to mass market appeal.

Secondly, when you openly criticize mainstream coaching philosphy on this forum (not to mention in your books and on your website), you can expect to be challenged.

Finally, you never responded to my critique (which was neither snarky nor smartass) of your original post.

SolarEnergy
September 26th, 2006, 10:57 AM
Secondly, when you openly criticize mainstream coaching philosphy on this forum (not to mention in your books and on your website), you can expect to be challenged.. Newton's third law of motion if I'm not mistaken : "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. "

geochuck
September 26th, 2006, 11:18 AM
Terry we respect what you say but we do have the right to dispute anything you say. Just wondering as you say you sold more books then those other 2guys so everyone has to follow your words exactly. I certainly did not follow Ernie or Doc's everyword i even believe they made a few errors.

You have contributed a lot. There are good things in your stuff but I think you have it wrong when you say Councilman inherited all of his swimmers. Because when you inherit swimmers some are pretty bad and have had very poor instruction/coaches. I think there are some pretty knowledgeble people on this site and I will listen and use whatever I think is good.

George Breen used a 2 beat kick and his stroke looked helter skelter but he sure moved through the water.

Even though I am 73 years old I am still learning and you should still be learning.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 11:39 AM
That basically confirms that the leg kick action also contributes to keep the lower body at the surface.

I wouldn't dispute that. My position is that one doesn't want to rely exclusively or even heavily on the legs for that purpose, since so much less energy is consumed by using weight redistribution -- no heartbeats required to reposition the head and redirect the extension of the lead arm in freestyle for instance.

The overall dynamic of well-coordinated leg action is energy efficient and can do much more if the legs are not fully occupied correcting poor body position.

When immobilizing my legs with a rubber band I sensed that the cause of my legs dropping was far more from the elimination of rotation than from inability to kick. A rotated body puts both the hip and knee joints in a position -- rotated to the side -- where they are no longer subject to gravity. When the body has been immobilized in a flat position, both joints become subject to gravity.

This supposition was confirmed last winter when I taught a paraplegic triathlete in the Endless Pools in our Swim Studio. At the beginning of the lesson, he wasn't kicking, he wasn't rotating, and his toes were dragging on the pool floor as he attempted freestyle

At the end of the lesson (which was heavily modified from the means we use to teach fully-able athletes) he was still unable to kick, but in what seemed miraculous, his legs moved to a balanced, horizontal position aligned nicely behind his hips. There was even a suggestion of an involuntary 2-beat kick. All of this lower body action, in someone who was paralyzed below mid-abdomen, was produced by rotation initiated in the arms and shoulders, where he was quite powerful, by spearing each arm forward strongly to a "target" which we had imprinted earlier.

If I had immobilized his legs with a rubber band - inhibiting them from whipping semi-independently with each rotation - I don't think we would have seen that occur.

quicksilver
September 26th, 2006, 11:46 AM
You have contributed a lot. There are good things in your stuff but I think you have it wrong when you say Councilman inherited all of his swimmers.




In my humble opinion coaches indeed inherit gifted swimmers. You can coach and train the snot out of mediocre kids, and still not bring them up to world class levels. Superstar athletes have raw talent. A coach know when he's been given the gift of such an athlete.

geochuck
September 26th, 2006, 11:51 AM
Oh so true I know of coaches at university level who have received gifted swimmers and those gifted swimmers have become worse swimmers. Never again to attain what they did as age groupers. It takes a skilled coach to advance even gifted swimmers.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 11:51 AM
[QUOTE=gull80;63659]In the first place, I did not specifically refer to you or your books in my post, <snip>
Secondly, when you openly criticize mainstream coaching philosphy on this forum (not to mention in your books and on your website), you can expect to be challenged.QUOTE]

I beg your pardon- this >>totalswimm is arguing that the kick is neither for propulsion nor balance but rather for rotation.>> not only does refer to me but misstates what I said.

What I wrote was that the kick is inefficient as a means of balance and negligible as a contributor to speed -- in which I referred to Doc Counsilman's research for support.

I have no objection to being challenged and have never objected to it. Any idea that cannot stand up to critical examination. does not deserve support.

Inferring that my motivation in contributing to this forum is to sell books -- as has occurred in repeated posts -- is not a challenge to any ideas I promote. It suggests intellectual dishonesty. Does it naturally follow that because someone writes a book their motives are therefore suspect?

quicksilver
September 26th, 2006, 11:59 AM
It takes a skilled coach to advance even gifted swimmers.

How right you are.

scyfreestyler
September 26th, 2006, 12:11 PM
In the few years I have been around here it has been rather apparent that non traditional methods of swim training (TI, SwimSmooth, Etc.) are not well respected among most of the competitive members. I still stand by my statement that there is no single method of swimming that suits all people well and I honestly believe that good results can come from more than one method. I started with a TI four strokes DVD but once I became semi-proficient I quit the drills and started working in whole stroke swimming and created my own workouts. My path has not been the most productive for speed but I am still doing it over 2 years later and I feel good to boot.

Many a swimmer has seen success with TI and many a swimmer has seen success with Counsilman and company. I would say that both have earned a place in swimming instruction based upon their results.

geochuck
September 26th, 2006, 12:16 PM
I also taught handicapped swimmers and the arm actions can actually control the leg position and each one is an individual and what works for one does not work for everyone we had alittle over 1000 in this group.

I had a contract with the federal government and trained water therapists to work with physically and mentally challenged. We had in the group from profoundly hadicapped to almost any level. Even the profoundly handicapped could show their enjoyement of being in the water.

All we have to do with this group is modify and modify it is not one thing that works.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 12:27 PM
once I became semi-proficient I quit the drills and started working in whole stroke swimming

It's a common misperception of TI that we advocate drill, drill, drill. The approach you have used is that one I have pursued personally and recommend. Drills are most effective when you have deeply ingrained habits that are resistant to change when you swim the whole stroke.

Drills provide a way to break a complex action and/or error down to manageable smaller problems and solutions. They also provide a workaround when the whole-stroke is resistant to change, bcz the CNS doesn't "recognize" the drill as a habit pattern.

However, once one has stored those new movements in long-term memory and can begin working on assemblage or coordination of the parts, it's often better to do polishing with whole-skill practice as that's how one achieves better integration.

Doesn't mean one is necessarily "finished" with drills at that point but that they have their place.

I do very little freestyle drilling at this point. I do a pretty fair amount of drilling in the other strokes as my opportunities for improvement are more basic and my skills less advanced/polished.

scyfreestyler
September 26th, 2006, 12:36 PM
It's a common misperception of TI that we advocate drill, drill, drill. The approach you have used is that one I have pursued personally and recommend. Drills are most effective when you have deeply ingrained habits that are resistant to change when you swim the whole stroke.

Drills provide a way to break a complex action and/or error down to manageable smaller problems and solutions. They also provide a workaround when the whole-stroke is resistant to change, bcz the CNS doesn't "recognize" the drill as a habit pattern.

However, once one has stored those new movements in long-term memory and can begin working on assemblage or coordination of the parts, it's often better to do polishing with whole-skill practice as that's how one achieves better integration.

Doesn't mean one is necessarily "finished" with drills at that point but that they have their place.

I do very little freestyle drilling at this point. I do a pretty fair amount of drilling in the other strokes as my opportunities for improvement are more basic and my skills less advanced/polished.

Gotcha. I think I recall something in your DVD about awareness swimming in which you swim full stroke free but concentrate on a particular portion of the stroke...for instance, a high elbow pull.

Another DVD I bought was from GoSwim with Erik Vendt and Kaitlin Sandeno. I refined my stroke a bit by watching them swim underwater. In the past few years I have taken bits and pieces from several sources to improve my stroke. My point? I enjoy taking bits and pieces from many different swimmers and coaches to improve my overall swimming.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 12:50 PM
as you say you sold more books then those other 2guys so everyone has to follow your words exactly.

I think you have it wrong when you say Councilman inherited all of his swimmers.

George, please try to be more accurate in "quoting" me.

In saying my books have sold better, my point is that what I've written has apparently been found more relevant or helpful by a larger number of people.

Nowhere do I suggest that "everyone has to follow my words exactly." In writing I report what I've observed in teaching lots of people who don't find swimming very easy and the lessons that may be drawn from our experience in teaching them. Take it or leave it. I'm not insulted by anyone who chooses to leave it. It already takes more time than I have to focus onthose who take it.

There is also an ever-present suggestion in these quarters that we advocate a "cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach." Those who take the time to approach TI without an agenda come to understand that we explain the natural forces that impact on a human body in the water, and that those forces explain the considerable difficulty "average" people experience in trying to attain mastery that seems to come spontaneously to gifted swimmers. To those who are experiencing this sort of difficulty -- the great majority of the human race (and indeed of the 50,000 registered Masters in the US and Canada) -- we advocate the practice of swimming as an "examined" activity or puzzle, rather than a "get-in-shape" workout.
Doing so means using pool time purposefully to explore and understand, first hand, how your body behaves in the water, and to learn how to operate more effectively in a highly uncooperative medium.
Pulling sets, kicking sets, rote repeats on intervals, etc. doesn't offer sufficient opportunity for increasing one's self-awareness. Drills, stroke counting, focal points, swim golf, etc. offer far more opportunity for meaningful feedback.
So exactly what is "cookie cutter" about that?

And finally, nowhere did I suggest that Doc was simply lucky or other than deserving of his success. What I said was that his writing was informed by the indisputable fact that from the early 60s to the mid 70s, he virtually always had one or more world class athletes in the pool, and everyone on his teams was a highly accomplished swimmer. Naturally he reported on how such people moved through the water. As did Ernie.

My coaching experience -- at least since 1989 - has been overwhelmingly with people who find mastery to be an incredibly elusive proposition. Naturally my writing has focused on reporting what happens when we distill the lessons of great swimmers into a form that can be applied by those who are ordinary. And that content has evidently been found more desirable by more people than what has otherwise been available on the swimming bookshelf at B&N or Amazon.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 12:51 PM
My point? I enjoy taking bits and pieces from many different swimmers and coaches to improve my overall swimming.

I commend you on that innate curiosity and on the optimism and aspiration it suggests.

gull
September 26th, 2006, 01:04 PM
My response to this:


As is with most things regarding people there is no cookie cutter, one size fits all answer or solution.

was: "Couldn't agree more, unless you're trying to sell books, of course."

I was not referring specifically to totalswimm in this post. This is a common approach which appeals to a lot of people and does sell a lot of books (self help, weight loss, sports, parenting, you name it).

But neither was I excluding totalswimm.

As for this: "Inferring that my motivation in contributing to this forum is to sell books...", I don't recall posting anything to that effect. However, I think it's safe to assume that totalswimm may see this forum as an opportunity to promote TI among Masters swimmers. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

quicksilver
September 26th, 2006, 01:42 PM
Kudos to you Mr. Park on your admirable contributions to physically challenged youth. On that note, Mr. Laughlin's contribution to the sport is very well deserved. Swimming long and smooth translates brilliantly to any distance.

Veterans work on technique no matter how high their achievements.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 01:43 PM
totalswimm may see this forum as an opportunity to promote TI among Masters swimmers.

I take explicit care to avoid mentioning TI in my posts...doing so only in response to others who've chosen to make it part of the discussion.

What I try to contribute is well reasoned, practical swimming advice, supported by empirical examples. Sometimes that advice departs from the prevailing paradigms, which prompts some to repeat cliched criticisms of TI. At that point the thread is no longer about the original subject, but is now about TI instead. Precisely what happened here.

SolarEnergy
September 26th, 2006, 01:49 PM
This supposition was confirmed last winter when I taught a paraplegic triathlete in the Endless Pools in our Swim Studio. At the beginning of the lesson, he wasn't kicking, he wasn't rotating, and his toes were dragging on the pool floor as he attempted freestyle

At the end of the lesson (which was heavily modified from the means we use to teach fully-able athletes) he was still unable to kick, but in what seemed miraculous, his legs moved to a balanced, horizontal position aligned nicely behind his hips. There was even a suggestion of an involuntary 2-beat kick. All of this lower body action, in someone who was paralyzed below mid-abdomen, was produced by rotation initiated in the arms and shoulders, where he was quite powerful, by spearing each arm forward strongly to a "target" which we had imprinted earlier. Congratulations for this.


If I had immobilized his legs with a rubber band - inhibiting them from whipping semi-independently with each rotation - I don't think we would have seen that occur. If you immobilize anyone's legs with a rubber band, part of the reason why their legs sink is this limitating effect on rotation. I agree. The other part being of course the fact that the *actions* taking place at the upper body level have a strong *opposite reaction* on at the lowerbody level. Head position (too high), head movement (breathing too high), downward forces applied during the catch, pull through phase done with extened arms as well as other factors contribute to lower body sinking when doing this drill with the band.

By letting the swimmer struggling for a while, he may (in fact I have noticed that they always do) find ways to naturally improve balance, by modifying some of these bad behaviours. And as you may guess, the real magical touch is when we remove the band and ask them to give an other try to this 'light 2beat kick'. The 'victory kind of' smile on their face as they reach the other end of the pool makes me keep faith on this misunderstood drill.

Thanks for the chat Terry, from the reputation that you have, I am surprised to discover someone with whom it seems to be very pleasant to chat with.

I own a copy of your book (the yellow one about free style for newbies). Though I can't agree with all of its content, I can only recommend it and I do it on a regular basis.

Bests, Charles

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 02:27 PM
The other part being of course the fact that the *actions* taking place at the upper body level have a strong *opposite reaction* on at the lowerbody level. Head position (too high), head movement (breathing too high), downward forces applied during the catch, pull through phase done with extened arms as well as other factors contribute to lower body sinking when doing this drill with the band.
<snip>
Thanks for the chat Terry, from the reputation that you have, I am surprised to discover someone with whom it seems to be very pleasant to chat with.


Charles
It seems we're in agreement on the idea that whole-stroke swimming is a complex dynamic in which all body parts influence the behavior of all other body parts. This is particularly pronounced in the water, because we lack the ability we have on land to damp, neutralize, or stabilize errant (or un-noticed) movements. Thus a great deal of energy goes unintentionally (and unnoticed) into correcting all kinds of wobbles and misdirection -- not even considering the energy it takes to push water out of the way.

It's why I advocate more practice of integrated than isolated movement. And varied teaching experience has been invaluable in helping me understand this. Teaching a paraplegic triathlete revealed some things I could not have known otherwise.

My reputation on some forums is one that those who have spent time with me in person would not recognize, as a result of frequent mischaracterizations of what I write or we teach.
Cheers.

Peter Cruise
September 26th, 2006, 03:47 PM
I have been impressed by Terry's conduct (and patience) in these forums; both in not 'pushing' his very successful product and showing a lively desire to exchange information and opinions relating to improvements in our shared passion: swimming. To me, these forums are perfect for this kind of exchange and within the context of free debate have rarely been abused (& he is gone).

Recently I sold a copy (before I closed the doors forever) of Terry's book to a swim instructor at the local pool (teaching adults) and watched her employ the book to turn a bunch of thrashers into smooth, economical, hip-rotating prospects for Masters in a very short time- I was impressed. I have watched similar classes many times over the years show little progress.

Basically, I think what Terry (& others) advocates on this forum seems to boil down to this: inform yourself, apply yourself, improve yourself- keep repeating the process.

geochuck
September 26th, 2006, 04:52 PM
Peter, Terry is a gentleman for sure after we try to put words in his mouth that he really did not say. I would love to go to one of his courses and would probably accept his instruction, I even toyed with the idea of teaching with the TI plan but it seemed to me to not fall into my actually signinig up as it was too much telling about me. I am open minded and feel he is doing a good thing.

I must have read his posts wrong, eg selling more books than the 2 mentioned and my impression of his way or no way. Sorry Terry I did even start to make the plan to join with you but the wrong kind of emails came back to me.

I may have been one of your exponents but it did not work out that way.

KaizenSwimmer
September 26th, 2006, 05:34 PM
I'm about to be overcome by kindnesses from Canadians. Of course, one must factor in that when we've done workshops there, I've found them, to be typically the most patient, generous and sweet-tempered of people, matched in the US only by workshoppers in the Midwest.

To be truthful, nothing on this forum comes close to my experiences on Slowtwitch.com, a triathlon forum where I was literally called a fraud for being insufficiently fast in my first Manhattan Island Marathon, though I explicitly said I'd swum that one as a "tourist" not as a race, and my time and placement in MIMS improved dramatically this year when I did swim it as a race. What kind of bizarro world is it where you get raked over the coals for completing a 28.5-mile swim in under 9 hours (albeit factoring in some current assist)?

In what I hope will come as welcome news for those north of the border an autonomous TI operation for Canada, based in Vancouver, will launch in early 2007. I'm excited about this development and hope to attend the first locally organized TI workshop there (I've led workshops in Vancouver and Toronto since the early 90s -- and I led one in Calgary in 2004 -- but organized from New York) when it happens.

Also I'm in the early planning stages with Chris Smith, the president of MSC (and TI workshop alum) of what I hope will be a collaborative effort to grow the membership of MSC.

Chris attended the recent USMS Convention in Dearborn and remarked that USMS was the organization that all national governing bodies around the world sought to emulate, in the strength of the many capable volunteers who work to make it better.

geochuck
September 26th, 2006, 05:51 PM
Just wanted to add never swim unless you intend to win.

When I raced the Marathon circuit I did not always win but except for 3 races I finished in the money, and I was always in contention to win money which I needed to supprt my wife and six kids. I sometimes even swam only for the prize but I did have sponsors to pay most of the bills and to help me make a profit. I never did an individual swim like Councillman's long swim or like several others, I only entered races that had prize money.

gull
September 26th, 2006, 05:57 PM
Sometimes that advice departs from the prevailing paradigms, which prompts some to repeat cliched criticisms of TI.

Earlier in this thread you posted (in part):

"The kick really shouldn't be used for balance as redistributing weight and mass above the waist is a far more efficient way to accomplish that. In short sprints it may contribute something to propulsion, but that is probably neglible."

You also used the analogy of a car with front and rear wheels turning at different speeds. My response was:

"There is a problem with this analogy. The wheels of the car are turning at a constant speed, but a swimmer has periods of acceleration and deceleration during each stroke cycle.

Clearly there are many swimmers with a very propulsive kick, Popov being a good example (able to kick 50m in 28 seconds). As for distance swimmers, Bill Rose has stated that a six beat kick was an essential part of Lars Jensen's success in the 1500 in Athens.

Many coaches (Maglischo among them) believe that the primary function of a nonpropulsive kick is to provide balance. Supporting this view is the example of a swimmer with a relatively weak kick who is faster with a pull buoy than full stroke swimming. Presumably hip rotation is no better (and possibly worse) with a pull buoy than without.

I have heard it said (Rick DeMont?) that you should build your stroke around your strengths; specifically, if you have a propulsive kick, by all means build the stroke around it."

No criticism of TI here, so perhaps you would care to address these points?

Peter Cruise
September 26th, 2006, 05:59 PM
George and I are very polite people; of course we're both quick to deal out a quick right cross to the chops where it is deserved. Luckily, that has not been necessary in the forums since San Diego seceded.
Good to hear that news re Canada workshops, but beware- don't forget your passport 'cause Uncle Sam is getting sticky Jan 1st. re returning Americans (by plane).

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 07:51 AM
Clearly there are many swimmers with a very propulsive kick, Popov being a good example (able to kick 50m in 28 seconds). As for distance swimmers, Bill Rose has stated that a six beat kick was an essential part of Lars Jensen's success in the 1500 in Athens.

Many coaches (Maglischo among them) believe that the primary function of a nonpropulsive kick is to provide balance. Supporting this view is the example of a swimmer with a relatively weak kick who is faster with a pull buoy than full stroke swimming. Presumably hip rotation is no better (and possibly worse) with a pull buoy than without.

I have heard it said (Rick DeMont?) that you should build your stroke around your strengths; specifically, if you have a propulsive kick, by all means build the stroke around it."

I'll start with the last first. I'm not sure I understand what Rick means by this. Does that mean ignore weaknesses, or even elide them? When he sees a weakness in one of his swimmers, how does he respond? My approach, with my own swimming and those I coach has been to focus on eliminating or minimizing weaknesses. It's worked well for me so far.

With regard to Jensen's 6-beat, while watching him swim the 1500 at the NCAA Championships on Long Island a couple of years ago, it was evident to me that he had taken the goal of building on a supposed strength too far. He was clearly overkicking, it hurt his rhythm (which is essential in the 1500) and he fell badly behind Peter Vanderkaay, Ous Mellouli and Robert Margalis. Jensen was taking 12spl, depending far too much on his kick to maintain that SL, while the others were swimming with much better rhythm and far less overt kicks, at 13 spl. He might have been with them if he'd increased his spl to 13 and tuned his kick better to the rest of his stroke.

Turning to my own experience I WAS faster with a pull buoy, much faster, in college. And the ease with which I could swim fast (a very relative term in my case) was seductive so I wanted to do as much training as possible with the buoy. Unfortunately it never translated into similar success when I couldn't wear the buoy - i.e. in races. So focusing on that supposed strength clearly limited me.
I became very successful in races only when I began to focus on what I didn't do well, and have continued ever since. From very ordinary beginnings, this summer I broke both USMS Long Distance records (1-Mile and 2-Mile Cable swims) for the 55-59 age group and finished 1st, 1st and 2nd in the three LD championships I swam, explicitly as a result of finally correcting two aspects of my stroke that have frustrated me for years: (1) poor coordination between my 2-beat and my upper body and (2) slippage in my catch when I breathed to the left at racing speed. With the kids on the swim team we coach in New Paltz, we constantly inventory the weak points in their technique and focus attention on them virtually every day.

Reading reports of what Popov, Jensen, Hackett et al. are able to do, or what the coaches of elites do with their athletes is always seductive to us lesser mortals. We reason "If I just do like they do, I'll swim faster." Rick Demont, for instance, is undoubtedly a great coach, but he works by and large with athletes who come from a race of superhumans unlike you and I.

Most of us have no idea how utterly different great talents are from the rest of us. I've twice taught stroke clinics to the Auburn teams -- in 2000, while Dave Marsh was at the Olympics and in 1998 and have also had the privilege on two occasions to work with Eddie Reese's UT swimmers, including one memorable instance coaching a group that included Brendan Hansen, Aaron Peirsol, Ian Crocker and Neil Walker one afternoon in Feb 2004. When you watch them train (or even just walk around on the pool deck) close up it's absolutely stunning to see how different they are from the people at your pool both as physical specimens and as aquatic creatures. And the non World Record holders on those teams were just as impressive.

Having coached an estimated 1000 different swimmers on teams since 1972 (a half dozen of whom were world-ranked and one of whom set American records in the 200-400 IM and was 2nd to Tomas Darnyi in the 200 IM in Barcelona 92) and possibly 10,000 in workshops since 1989, I've been able to form pretty well-developed impressions of the capabilities and relative deficiencies - or challenges - of average swimmers, compared to elites. Even when I was coaching a somewhat rarefied and select group - e.g the Army sprinters from 96-99 - while they were FAR more efficient than most of those I see at Masters workouts and meets, even the best of them, a guy who improved his 50- and 100-yd Free from 21.9 and 49.1 to 20.0 and 44.1 in two seasons with me, had marked physical deficits compared to Neil Walker, for instance.

So most of us are just not going to have the kinds of strengths to build upon that Demont may have been inferring. We are far more likely to be able to make great improvement by focusing on our weaknesses and deficiencies. Even after 40 years I've barely made a dent in mine.

LindsayNB
September 27th, 2006, 09:47 AM
Turning to my own experience I WAS faster with a pull buoy, much faster, in college. And the ease with which I could swim fast (a very relative term in my case) was seductive so I wanted to do as much training as possible with the buoy. Unfortunately it never translated into similar success when I couldn't wear the buoy - i.e. in races. So focusing on that supposed strength clearly limited me.

I have a friend who is struggling with this at the moment, lately he has been doing very well in pull sets and not very well in full-stroke sets. Any suggestions on the likely cause and cure?

geochuck
September 27th, 2006, 09:52 AM
To kick or not to kick that is the question?

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 09:55 AM
How nice that you're thinking of your friend. Just like a Canuck, eh?

Suggest that he go cold turkey. Kick the buoy. I know it may require patience and forbearance, but since you can't use a buoy in competition, what's the sense in continuing to use it as a crutch in training?
I'm familiar with the pattern. The Masters team I swim with includes several who suffer from what Emmett Hines terms the "styro-virus."

They'll swim for a while, but as soon as they feel a little tired, they grab the buoy. Or they'll swim shorter repeats, but not longer sets.

Those who suffer from the styro-virus are usually people whose balance is poor. The buoy fixes it, albeit temporarily. As soon as you remove it you have sinking, tired legs again. As long as you keep using that crutch you never fix the underlying problem -- which comes back to bite you when you race.

Balance drills, balance-focused whole stroke, patience, committment. In six months, he'll wonder what all the fuss was about.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 09:56 AM
To kick or not to kick that is the question?

Not kicking's not an option. The question is how.

geochuck
September 27th, 2006, 10:14 AM
Intensity of the kick, I found that to over kick is worse than underkicking, and I do not mean the beats per stroke. The quotes of the master coaches are not going to help nor are drills. He has to swim and work on how he introduces his 2 beat, 4 beat, 6 beat or 8 beat kick in to his swim stroke. I found after a long lay off nothing worked for me it was my preperation to swim in the Pan American Games. I had to let the legs do what they wanted but made my body streamlined the legs performed well in what I call no kick. It was actually a six beat kick controlled by the arm movement. The arms control what the legs do the legs will be on the top of the water no matter whether the legs kick or not if your arms are used properly. When others do pull bouys I can stay with them when I have a rubber band on my ankles. I should add the second wave pushes the legs to the surface the water that fills the void left by the body moving forward which adds to propulsion.

gull
September 27th, 2006, 10:36 AM
I have a friend who is struggling with this at the moment, lately he has been doing very well in pull sets and not very well in full-stroke sets. Any suggestions on the likely cause and cure?

I had that problem when I joined Masters three years ago. I "cured" it by improving my conditioning--sets of 200s (no buoy), then 300s, 400s, ladders, etc. I did try a four-beat kick (after a lifetime of two-beat kicking), and had a coach watch my stroke to determine whether I was rotating enough or letting my hips sink. In the end, the key for me was better conditioning. I switch between a two- and four-beat kick now.

If the original question was the role of the freestyle kick, I don't think you can say unequivocally that it's not propulsive--at the very least providing some propulsion during the deceleration phase of the stroke cycle (that's where the car analogy comes up short). Clearly there is an important role in balance--which is why it's easier to swim with a pull buoy. The energy cost of kicking is higher, thus requiring better condioning. It is my understanding that Jensen worked very hard on his kick. While he didn't beat Hackett, his silver medal swim in Athens was phenomonal. He nailed his splits, which incidentally were written on his kick board in practice.

thewookiee
September 27th, 2006, 11:02 AM
This past spring, I had the great honor of sitting next to Peter Daland at the NCAA's in Atlanta.
Mr. Daland and I were watching the finals of the 1650, during the race, he told me his nickname for Larsen. He said he calls him "Mr. Kick" Mr. Daland said that Lar's kick is impressive but he thinks Jensen would be better suited to turn down the kick and increase his spl.
That coming from Peter Daland.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 11:42 AM
The energy cost of kicking is higher, thus requiring better condioning. It is my understanding that Jensen worked very hard on his kick. While he didn't beat Hackett, his silver medal swim in Athens was phenomonal. He nailed his splits, which incidentally were written on his kick board in practice.

It remains an open question whether he could have been closer to Hackett if he'd swum as Peter Daland thought he should - a more moderate kick, higher SR and SPL.

When you're already training 20k/day or more, as Jensen did, how practical is it to improve your conditioning? Same question applies to many Masters who are squeezing in their workouts to full lives.

It's always easier and faster to reduce the energy cost of an activity (bcz even elite swimmers are only 9% mechanically efficient) than it is to increase the energy supply. That takes months. In many cases energy cost can be reduced in a matter of hours.

By moderating his kick, Jensen would not only open the possibility of increasing his rate and spl, but reduce the energy cost since leg muscles burn more O2 than upper body muscles.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 11:59 AM
I had to let the legs do what they wanted but made my body streamlined the legs performed well in what I call no kick. It was actually a six beat kick controlled by the arm movement.

As a gifted swimmer you had the benefit of sound instincts. Many people try to kick harder to swim harder.
What you called "no kick" as you recognized was actually a better-tuned 6-beat. I've seen a similar response from countless people who I advised to let their kick be passive - or non-overt. When they did, in many cases, they were able to find their "natural" kicking pattern. For you that was a relaxed, steady, 6-beat. An overemphasized 6-beat didn't feel as good, as you found out.

My experience was similar, but with the 2-beat. For some 30 years I was frustrated with what I felt was an ineffectual 2-beat, one that I could sense was not contributing to the full stroke. And when I tried to swim top speed with it, it became horribly uncoordinated -- working harder, swimming slower. I'm sure many of us have had the experience.

Many times over the course of three decades I thought the fix would involve learning to 6-beat. I really, really worked on it. I did all of the following to try to remodel my kick:
- "8-beat" swimming -- slow, easy strokes with an overkick.
- 25s with an extended pushoffs and an extra-strong flutter, then hold it when I surfaced to whole-stroke
- 6-beat on most of my 25s and 50s
- shift to 6-beat on the final 25 of longer repeats.
- etc. etc. etc. I tried everything imaginable to teach my muscle memory a new pattern.

After countless hours of this, in the end, I could manage a "serviceable" 6-beat, but it never felt natural. Always too labored. Hard to find a rhythm. When I watched Jensen swim the overkicking 1500 at NCAA's I thought "He looks like I felt."

In my 50s I finally conceded that I was a 2-beat swimmer and I needed to learn how to do it well. It took me several years, but once I learned to coordinate leg-drive with opposite-hand-spear (seemingly by accident in July 2004 while swimming LC) it literally changed my life. I couldn't believe the amount of "effortless" power available when I connected all the muscle tissue and body mass between one hand and the opposite foot -- i.e. pretty much every motor unit in my body -- to each stroke.

Since then I've continued to try to make that better coordinated, more consistent and capable of operating at a high level at SRs between 1.3 sec/stroke and .9 sec/stroke. (Hackett was .7 sec/stroke for 32SPL when he broke the WR in 1500.) It's still a work in progress.

scyfreestyler
September 27th, 2006, 12:02 PM
Who is Peter Daland?

I can see how his commentary, as well as others who have said the same in this thread, about reducing the intensity of his kick would make him faster. Physiologically speaking the legs are comprised of more skeletal muscle than the arms/shoulders so they are going to require more ATP to perform. If a person can secure more propulsion through an extra stroke or two per length than with a more intense kick then the most efficient answer would be to use more SPL and abandon the overdriven kick. I think Larsen needs to head up to Club Wolverine and swim with the rest of the dream team up there. He and Erik Vendt can duke it out everyday in the pool...push each other to a new WR.

scyfreestyler
September 27th, 2006, 12:04 PM
It's good to see the bashing fade and the discussion return in this thread.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 12:11 PM
One more thing. I characterized the core-powered 2-beat as "effortless power." That's not strictly true.
The first time I made the connection, I immediately did 10 x 50 trying to just continue feeling that sensation. At the end I felt like I'd done a weight workout. I was simply not used to firing up that much muscle tissue with each stroke. I realized it would take a lot of training to accustom my body to the energy/power demands of swimming that way...even though it was far more mechanically efficient. I was conditioned to swim inefficiently - firing up much less tissue.

However 10 days later in the Adirondack LMSC Open Water Championship at Lake Placid I was the overall winner in the 2-Mile Cable Swim, the first time I'd won overall in an OW race in some 30 years. All I thought about the entire time was connecting leg drive to arm spear -- probably 2600 times.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 12:22 PM
Who is Peter Daland?

Hall of Fame coach. He was an assistant to Bob Kiputh at Yale in his 20s, then began Suburban Swim Club in Philly before becoming head coach at USC and LA Aquatic Club around 1960. Made USC one of the all-time great college teams, winning at one point 6 consecutive NCAA championships -- ending a string of five championships by Doc Counsilman and IU. Coached more WR holders and Olympic medalists than I could count. In quite a few Olympics if USC swimmers had constituted a country, they'd have been 3rd or 4th or 5th in swimming medal count.

A remarkable gentleman as well. In 1974 I attended the NCAA Championship at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach CA as a 2nd year small-college coach. I was working the meet as a timer. During the finals of the 3-meter dive on Saturday night, with meet (and the first of his string of NCAA titles) on the line and only the 400 Free Relay remaining, I summoned the courage to ask him a young-coach question. Amazingly he spent 5 minutes giving me his undivided attention.

I watched Vendt swim the 1650 at NCAA championships at UT in 2003. I was struck by the impression that he was doing the same thing as Jensen a year later, overkicking and understroking, especially considering the event.

Perhaps training with Vanderkaay at UM may rub off. Peter has about the best-tuned 2-beat I've ever seen from a male.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 12:25 PM
Physiologically speaking the legs are comprised of more skeletal muscle than the arms/shoulders so they are going to require more ATP to perform.

Are you an exercise physiologist?

gull
September 27th, 2006, 12:33 PM
When you're already training 20k/day or more, as Jensen did, how practical is it to improve your conditioning? Same question applies to many Masters who are squeezing in their workouts to full lives.



You've taken my remark about conditioning somewhat out of context--I was explaining why, in my opinion, it's easier to swim with a pull buoy. Because the energy cost of kicking is higher, full stroke swimming requires better conditioning, even if the kick is relatively nonpropulsive and mainly used for balance.

I used Jensen simply as an example of a distance swimmer with a propulsive kick. Personally I think it's hard to argue with the final result, regardless of whether he might have been faster with less kick.

My point was that a) the kick can be propulsive, b) if it is, by all means use it, and c) if it's not propulsive, it still plays an important role in balance.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 12:40 PM
My apologies for missing your point. It's clear that you're an inquistive and thoughtful swimmer. So we're more alike than different. The thoughts that occur to us about swimming seem different but the tendency to want to do things in an examined way is the same.

I agree that the energy cost of whole-stroke is greater. Which suggests that integrated training is a better use of limited time than dis-integrated training.

Now I have to disappear for a while. I'm trying to finish the last two chapters of a book and my layout person is waiting ever-less-patiently.

thewookiee
September 27th, 2006, 12:42 PM
"Who is Peter Daland"

Peter Daland is considered to be one of the best coaches to ever set foot on a pool deck. He lead USC for several decades and served as the Olympic head coach in either '68 or '72.
In a previous post, Terry mentioned that " Many people try to kick harder to swim harder," I have found that I have had this problem over the years, but mainly when it comes to sprinting freestyle. The last several months, I have made it a point to try not to think about my kick when sprinting, instead think about good rotation, clean entry, good catch on the water.
The darn thing is, after reading these posts the last few days, we did a sprint set this morning at practice and I was paying too much attention to driving my stroke with my legs, instead of driving with my body.
This provided a good lesson for me, no matter how fast I want to go, don't allow my legs or arms be what dictates my speed alone. Yes, a lesson I have known and preached to others for a long time but didn't use for myself.

geochuck
September 27th, 2006, 12:55 PM
We also have to agree that one glove does not fit all. We have all been brought up by different experiences and circumstances. Me originally a 400 1500m or 440 - 1 mile guy who had to change to sprints as I was not able to train hard enough (limited to 500 hard work a day) to do distance. Then sprints for years. Then in 1963 started to swim marathon swims but found it easyier to do a six beat kick then a 2 or 4 beat. Then to my amazement swimming in salt water which made my feet kick in the air so had to change my head position for salt water swims in order to kick in the water.

scyfreestyler
September 27th, 2006, 01:12 PM
Are you an exercise physiologist?

No, but I am very curious about the human body and it's inner workings. I took a human bio class at a local CC last year and I have always enjoyed reading books about the subject matter. Many of my friends and some family (My sister works in Level 2 ICU/CCU dealing with post op heart patients which intrigues me greatly) are in the nursing profession so I enjoy talking to them about their work. Additionally, I have JAMA in my IE Favorites so I can look up information about disease/treatment as my curiosity dictates. Should I ever become independently wealthy and not need to work anymore, I would go back to school and apply to some med schools.

Good luck with your book Terry.

Peter Cruise
September 27th, 2006, 02:05 PM
George, you just made me spray my monitor with tea as I envisioned your feet kicking away out of the water...

geochuck
September 27th, 2006, 02:23 PM
It was hard to believe but true I had to literally force the legs back into the water by lifting my head slightly. I am very high floater, Bob Kiputh could not believe my bouyancy when he was offering me a scholarship to swim for Yale.

Peter Cruise
September 27th, 2006, 03:01 PM
Think of the career in sychro you could have had, George...

geochuck
September 27th, 2006, 03:35 PM
In what I hope will come as welcome news for those north of the border an autonomous TI operation for Canada, based in Vancouver, will launch in early 2007. I'm excited about this development and hope to attend the first locally organized TI workshop there (I've led workshops in Vancouver and Toronto since the early 90s -- and I led one in Calgary in 2004 -- but organized from New York) when it happens.
It is welcome news I just hope your pool is not in the same complex. I am opening the new pool in Richmond BC. It will be opened early April http://swimdownhill.com/_wsn/page6.html it is similar to an Endless pool we are taking bookings now.

SolarEnergy
September 27th, 2006, 04:56 PM
I'm about to be overcome by kindnesses from Canadians. Thanks. I am a Canadian too.

geochuck
September 27th, 2006, 05:00 PM
Thanks. I am a Canadian too.
A Canadian with big feet me also size 13eee and close to size 14 I guess that is why we have a good Understanding

scyfreestyler
September 27th, 2006, 05:51 PM
I don't want to post this in the "swimming help" thread because I don't want to scare the original poster. Gull80 suggested totalimmersion.net to somebody looking for swimming help. I had to do a double take to make sure Gull actually made that post. For those who haven't seen it, go take a peek. This is a once in a lifetime event!

geochuck
September 27th, 2006, 05:56 PM
Wonders never cease here it is out of Gulls computer to a nearby thread http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=6728

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 10:00 PM
Swimmer recommendations are our most valued source of new students. We take seriously the responsibility to reward the referrer's faith by making them seem like paragons of wisdom.
Cheers, Gull.

gull
September 28th, 2006, 08:17 AM
I don't want to post this in the "swimming help" thread because I don't want to scare the original poster. Gull80 suggested totalimmersion.net to somebody looking for swimming help. I had to do a double take to make sure Gull actually made that post. For those who haven't seen it, go take a peek. This is a once in a lifetime event!

Resistance is futile.

Believe it or not, I bought one of Terry's books a few years ago (and read it cover to cover). Besides, he said I was a "thoughtful and inquisitive swimmer."

KaizenSwimmer
September 28th, 2006, 08:29 AM
Resistance is futile.
<snip>
Besides, he said I was a "thoughtful and inquisitive swimmer."

So honey does work better than vinegar.

I actually have joked at times about making "Resistance is futile" an ironic slogan for those occasions when we are described as threatening the very fabric of swimming culture.
And, to accompany that slogan with a new logo that is a play on AT&T's "death star."

geochuck
September 28th, 2006, 09:07 AM
From Controversy to a love in, Gull you have me almost convinced to buy the book. I think you have accussed me in the past of being a TI person. What an awful thing to wake up at 6 am before I have my coffee and read this mushy stuff.

gull
September 28th, 2006, 09:56 AM
Join us, George.

geochuck
September 28th, 2006, 10:00 AM
You will not believe this - I was working with a swimmer who had done the TI course, he told me I was more TI than TI. I am not sure whether it was a compliment or not???

Josh54
October 1st, 2006, 08:59 PM
What are the benefits of kicking with a board? I was watching a friend who is a marathon runner turned triathlete doing repeats of kicking with the board. He was actually lying on the board. His body position was so not applicable to a freestyle stroke.

KaizenSwimmer
October 1st, 2006, 09:39 PM
What are the benefits of kicking with a board?

IMO - none. Unless they offer a race that involves pushing a kickboard ahead of you. If they do and you want to win it, pushing a kickboard down the pool would be the ideal way to train for it.

I haven't done a kickboard set in 12 or more years. If I was to do one now, I'd be slow as molasses and fatigue quickly. But my kick contributes significant power to my whole stroke and my legs never tire.

Back when, in the days that I religiously trained my kickboard-pushing ability I could rip off fast (for me) repeats over and over.

The fly in the ointment is that my legs still felt well nigh useless while swimming whole stroke, and usually were toast at the end of a race.

I'm much happier with the present circumstance.

So who's willing to risk no kicking sets for a month, or three?

aquaFeisty
October 1st, 2006, 10:04 PM
Hi Terry,

What exactly consitutes a kicking set? I like to do 50's of streamlined dolphin kicking off the wall on my stomach, surface, flutterkick on my left side (left arm forward, right arm down - focussing on being as 'straight' as possible), then take one stroke, flip and repeat but on my right side. Is this a kick set? If so, I don't think I'm ready to give this one up. I think of this as more of a drill than a kick set though. And... I don't really 'like' to do this drill so much as I think it's useful.

Take a month or three off of kicking with a board? No problem!! I don't think there's any value at all in kicking with a board. It hurts my shoulders for flutterkick and it hurts my knees when I kick breast.

Thanks!
Carrie

geochuck
October 1st, 2006, 10:05 PM
I have had runners use the kickboard to help them change runners kick.

KaizenSwimmer
October 1st, 2006, 10:27 PM
What exactly consitutes a kicking set? I like to do 50's of streamlined dolphin kicking off the wall on my stomach, surface, flutterkick on my left side (left arm forward, right arm down - focussing on being as 'straight' as possible), then take one stroke, flip and repeat but on my right side. Is this a kick set? If so, I don't think I'm ready to give this one up. I think of this as more of a drill than a kick set though. And... I don't really 'like' to do this drill so much as I think it's useful.

Carrie
Excellent question: "What consitutes a kicking set?" could stand as a thread of its own.
I'll attempt an answer: A kicking set is one designed primarily to condition or strengthen the legs, guided by the belief that swimming uses a "legs department" to push and an "arms department" to pull the body down the pool. (credit to Howard Firby for the terms) Such a set seeks to strengthen the legs by isolating and overloading them, often with the use of a kickboard.

The set you describe is more holistic by virtue of including all of the following elements:
1) core involvement
2) kinesthetic awareness
3) alignment

I'm doing something similar lately. I have only learned to swim an efficient Fly at 55, after 40 years of unrewarded effort. Yet I'm still not quite satisfied with how my legs respond to upper-body undulation. I don't want to "kick" more; I want my legs to participate more in the whole body dynamic. In part I'm experimenting with sinking my chest more strongly as I land. But I'm also experimenting with supine dolphins, alternating 25 of that with 25 of whole stroke. When I do the supine dolphin I put more emphasis on the downbeat -- which becomes the upbeat when I resume whole-stroke. This is the weak part of my Fly leg action (I don't want to call it a "kick") so I use the supine dolphins to become better aware of what forces produce that action.

You might watch that and think "He's doing a kick set" but I'm doing it as a stroke-integration exercise.

Josh54
October 2nd, 2006, 12:45 AM
Hi Terry,

What exactly consitutes a kicking set? I like to do 50's of streamlined dolphin kicking off the wall on my stomach, surface, flutterkick on my left side (left arm forward, right arm down - focussing on being as 'straight' as possible), then take one stroke, flip and repeat but on my right side.

Thanks for the idea. Sounds like a great drill and I'll give it a try. Question: do you use fins?

Josh54
October 2nd, 2006, 12:47 AM
I have had runners use the kickboard to help them change runners kick.

That could explain why I see alot of new triathletes using the board. They all come from a running background.

geochuck
October 2nd, 2006, 01:08 AM
Terry's plan for kicking sets are fine, I also like having runners do vertical flutter kicking while treading and kicking with the hands behind the back holding the head above water. I also like lots of flutter kicking on the back. This type of kicking helps eliminate runners kick.

KaizenSwimmer
October 2nd, 2006, 07:07 AM
That could explain why I see alot of new triathletes using the board. They all come from a running background.

I don't think, in most cases, they're doing it to correct a "runner's kick" -- and it's a poor way to do so; they'd have much more success correcting that in a side-balanced position -- but because they've seen other swimmers doing such sets and concluded it's "what swimmers do."

It's the quintessence of a poor use of time for a novice wishing to become a better swimmer. Their major problems are with balance, streamlining-awareness, and fluent, coordinated whole-body movement.

KaizenSwimmer
October 2nd, 2006, 07:17 AM
I also like having runners do vertical flutter kicking while treading and kicking with the hands behind the back holding the head above water. I also like lots of flutter kicking on the back. This type of kicking helps eliminate runners kick.

I find that vertical kicking is particularly good for four skills:
1) Vertical dolphins with arms folded across chest to teach the high-frequency, low-amplitude movement (sometimes called a "shimmer") that works best in underwater dolphin. Watching the pace clock, try to complete 20 pulses in 10 seconds.
2) Vertical flutter kicking to develop the high-intensity, high frequency, low amplitude action that's preferable on pushoff and breakout
3) Vertical 2-beat kick with 1/4 body turns to teach integration of a 2-beat kick (I alternately call it a "whip") with body rotation.
4) Vertical BR kicking to emphasize quick feet and to finish the kick by "clapping" the feet, which one must really concentrate to do in a vertical position.

These are all examples of using a"kicking exercise" as, in reality, a body-integration exercise.

The purpose of them is less to strengthen or condition the kick than to begin creating a nervous system pathway for the desired skill, and initiate the development of kinesthetic awareness. So rather than spend, say, 5 or 10 minutes repeating the kicking drill, you'd prefer to do the kicking exercise for 5 to 30 seconds, then do the whole-body activity it's designed to promote for 5 (pushoff) to 60 seconds. Alternate them 5 to 10 times.

Rather than kicking on the back to correct a runner's kick (excessive knee bend, "pawing" with the lower leg) I've found that flutter kicking in a slightly rotated position -- the one we call "Sweet Spot" -- is a more effective fix. Rotate enough for one shoulder to barely clear the water. Do this rotated in both directions.
Reason: When flat on the back the "hip hinge" and "knee hinge" are both subject to gravity which can actually reinforce the pawing action. Even slight rotation removes the hips and knees from the influence of gravity. Also drag is reduced as soon as a shoulder is rotated clear of the water. Don't rotate more than 30 degrees though.

Give it a try George and let us know what you think.

aquaFeisty
October 2nd, 2006, 08:35 AM
Hi Terry,

Thanks for the reply. In that case, like I said, I have no problem whatsoever with no kicking sets, especially kicking sets with a board! Congrats on your improved butterfly. Mine is not yet to that point and it is definitely due to a poor connection between the dolphin and the arms. This upcoming season is dedicated to the 100 free, but I plan to work on my butterfly a bit too and plan to keep on dolphin kicking (more about this below).

Hi Josh,

No, I don't use fins... but I should say that I have a really REALLY bad flutterkick and when I first started kicking on my side it was very hard. I might have benefitted from fins just to figure out the way kicking on your side is supposed to feel. The reason I don't use fins is because you can't use fins in a race. Almost all the swimmers on my team do use fins, so when we do a kick set, I just go last and do the dolphin-side flutter drill I described.

I like this drill because it forces you to really work the 'down' leg and try to balance the right and left side of your body. My left leg is a much better flutterkicker than the right due to a broken right leg when I was 10 (didn't have any PT, the right ankle turns out more than the left and is less flexible). If I kick on my stomach, I find that my more floppy flexible left leg dominates and my right sometimes goes along for the ride.

Last season was the first time I added the dolphins to the side kicking. Our head coach is very big on dolphin kicking off our flipturns so I decided last season that I would do 2 dolphin kicks off every single flipturn - I was coming back after a 2 year layoff and a baby and needed something that even a chubby out-of-shape person could work on :-). I'm a worse dolphin kicker than flutterkicker, but after an entire season of 2 dolphins+tight streamline after each turn (and I mean every single turn - warmup, drills, sprinting, you name it) my underwater dolphins have improved such that I can catch up with the person wearing fins ahead of me off the wall. There is nothing more gratifying (especially if you're a bad kicker) than nearly tapping the toes of a fin-wearer in front of you. Then I surface and start to flutter and vroom vroom away the fin-wearer goes off into the distance!! :D

geochuck
October 2nd, 2006, 10:35 AM
Hey guys I don't waste a lot of time on kicking and have used almost every thing out there have done all of Terry's suggestions and even more. I don't usually spend a lot of time with drills of any type and very seldom suggest them. I teach full stroke not bits and pieces.

I do suggest drills if that is the name we want to put on bits and pieces if I cannot be there in person.

rockky
January 17th, 2009, 06:42 PM
Drills for one thing simply provide variety....varieties of ways of moving through the water....varieties of neural propulsive patterns...they don't have to have direct positive impact on whole stroke swimming, but they usually do.
I use tons of standard timed drill sets...eg: 5 descending 100's each equals 25kick 25 rt arm 25lft arm 25 catchup etc....
Plus... 'part-whole' (isolate-integrate) is an age old motorlearning teaching tactic...way more effective than just trying to change a reinforced pattern in the whole stroke.


Hey guys I don't waste a lot of time on kicking and have used almost every thing out there have done all of Terry's suggestions and even more. I don't usually spend a lot of time with drills of any type and very seldom suggest them. I teach full stroke not bits and pieces.

I do suggest drills if that is the name we want to put on bits and pieces if I cannot be there in person.