PDA

View Full Version : Swimming help?



concept
September 27th, 2006, 03:26 PM
Hello USMS, I need some help and pointers.

A little history: 4 years ago I took a beginning swimming lesson with a coach for 2 weeks. At first he tried to teached me front crawl but no matter how hard, I couldn't propel myself foward. Sometime later, he told me that my feet couldn't arch enough to do the kick. So with that, he went ahead and taught me breaststroke. After the lessons, I swam for fun for a few months than I stopped.

Now 4 years later, I am beginning to get back at it. I have been watching videos and reading stroke technique regarding the breaststroke and I am getting much better but I still need to get faster.

Now I have 2 questions for you guys
1. Advice me on stroke technique and drills to strengthen and fasten my breaststroke

2. Are there anyway I can make my feet arch enough so I do the front crawl kick?

Thanks

gull
September 27th, 2006, 05:44 PM
Check out Total Immersion:

http://www.totalimmersion.net/

scyfreestyler
September 27th, 2006, 05:53 PM
I second that suggestion. TotalImmersion is how I got started.

Allen Stark
September 27th, 2006, 09:50 PM
Total Immersion is a fine way to start,but if your feet are built for breaststroke you don'tneed to change your feet. Go to www.breaststroke.info and get tips in swimming the best stroke.

KaizenSwimmer
September 27th, 2006, 09:57 PM
1. Advice me on stroke technique and drills to strengthen and fasten my breaststroke

2. Are there anyway I can make my feet arch enough so I do the front crawl kick?

Thanks

For Breaststroke try the following:
1) Keep your head stable. Imagine you're wearing a neck brace as you're swimming and never look forward. Always look down slightly at the water.
2) Hold a streamline for a count of two-one-thousand between strokes.
3) Keep both your pull and your kick smaller than you think they should be.

For front crawl, don't worry about pointing your toes. That's a trivial issue compared to how you position your body to improve balance and reduce drag. To do that try the following:
1) “Hang” Your Head
 Release your head’s weight to find its most natural position; never hold it up.
 Look directly down, not forward.

2) Lengthen Your Body
 Focus on using your arms to lengthen your body line, rather than pushing water back -- that will happen, just don't focus on it too much.
 Slip your hand and forearm into the water as if sliding it into a mail slot.

3): Move like Water
Why: Water rewards fluent movement and penalizes rough or rushed movement.
 Pierce the water; slip through the smallest possible hole.
 Swim as quietly as possible.

Please post back here after you try these and let us know how you're doing.

KaizenSwimmer
September 28th, 2006, 08:19 AM
Hello USMS, I need some help and pointers.

A little history: 4 years ago I took a beginning swimming lesson with a coach for 2 weeks. At first he tried to teached me front crawl but no matter how hard, I couldn't propel myself foward. Sometime later, he told me that my feet couldn't arch enough to do the kick. So with that, he went ahead and taught me breaststroke.
Now 4 years later, I am beginning to get back at it.

This is similar to experiences that have been reported to me by many would-be swimmers. They've sought instruction in swimming, but then "failed" the instruction because they couldn't kick well, sometimes for structural reasons (i.e. not good at pointing toes -- very common among middle-aged people who have taken up swimming later in life).

Many instructors/coaches seem to believe that kicking well is the non-negotiable starting point for learning to swim. When they have a student whose primary impediment is poor balance (sinking hips/legs) they hand them a kickboard and instruct them to work at it until they can kick more effectively. Student gamely tries but, despite their best efforts, go backward or nowhere on the board. They are then judged -- or conclude themselves -- to lack the aptitude for swimming.

I have rather poor ankle flexibiity myself. While swimming the 1650 at the NYS Masters Championships in March, my counter told me that another swimmer stood by him watching for a 100 or so then pronounced that my prospects were limited because my feet weren't pointed - ignoring the fact that everything else was working sufficiently well that I was repeating 37 second 50s with the lowest stroke count in the the heat. I went 20:15 to win my age group by over two minutes.

concept
January 29th, 2007, 10:19 AM
Update.

Well, not really. I have been swimming inconsistently for the past few months but I am planning on changing that. I've been still trying to get down the basics of freestyle but it's ever elusive! I bought a pair of zoomers to help with my kick but as soon as I try to add arm strokes, it just fell apart!

I have a few more questions:

1. I have read from TI that the point of kicking isn't to produce propulsion, but rather maintain a bodyroll. How true does that apply?

2. Are there any stretches that can help my ankle flexibility?

3. Can I still be a successful swimmer even though my body wasn't built for it?

Thanks!

SwimStud
January 29th, 2007, 11:00 AM
3. Can I still be a successful swimmer even though my body wasn't built for it?

Thanks!

Define success.
If you mean being in the top 10, then there are likely some physical and genetic aspects that will be needed in addition to training. Yes, some of us ARE more naturally adept to certain things.
Do you mean being able to swim a mile, or compete in a 200 or 100 yard race.

I think the latter is all on the table for you in time.

Who says your body wasn't built for swimming though?--Scratch that thought or you'll never swim well. (My body wasn't built for certain things that I still did--albeit not to the zenith level but still performed them).

True, you may not be headed to the olympics (but who knows how well you can do until you try?), but with the right approach you should still get yourself into aposition to swim distances that many others do. It starts in belief though--think you'll fail, you probably will. Think you can do it...you may still fail but you'll be closer and it will help you to go and fix the points that need fixing.

The fact you're here and trying obviously means you want this. That's the best thing. Ignore the "you can't do it" brigade.
hopefully the "techs" wil help you on Q 1, I can only offer my support and encouragement for you to keep plugging away!

Ankle stretches I can help you with. Circle ankles slowly inwards and outwards to warm them a bit. Maybe a minute of this. Then, point toes down. Do not curl your toes over like you're gripping that isn't what you want. Feel the stretch from ankle to the bottom toe "knuckle" let the actual toe relax. Hold for a beat, then flex foot so toes point up. Repeat this for 20 to 30 seconds: Count "Down-two, Up-two" etc etc. you can do this while seated and having your leg out. Get your heel off the floor though. DON"T use weights to stretch this area just yet though. If you are strong enough you can proceed to sitting on the floor with your legs staight in front and doing the same exercises...this is beneficial as it brings all the leg muscles into play and get's them used to the stretch.

These are dance's stretches...you can progress in time to knuckling your toes under...but I am not sure you need that sort of motion or strength built into your toes. I'd reccomend any type of real dance class, if you like that sort of thing, as a cross train for flexibility.

Rich

Muppet
January 29th, 2007, 11:01 AM
Update.

Well, not really. I have been swimming inconsistently for the past few months but I am planning on changing that. I've been still trying to get down the basics of freestyle but it's ever elusive! I bought a pair of zoomers to help with my kick but as soon as I try to add arm strokes, it just fell apart!

I have a few more questions:

1. I have read from TI that the point of kicking isn't to produce propulsion, but rather maintain a bodyroll. How true does that apply?

2. Are there any stretches that can help my ankle flexibility?

3. Can I still be a successful swimmer even though my body wasn't built for it?

Thanks!

2 - Make the ABCs with your foot. Try to keep your lower leg still. I don't think it matters if you do capital letters or lowercase, but the point is that in all 26 letters, you are stretching out your ankle pretty good. Make sure you do both feet.

3 - Yes. A lot of practice, hard work, dedication and drive can go a long way.

:banana:

KaizenSwimmer
January 29th, 2007, 01:18 PM
1. I have read from TI that the point of kicking isn't to produce propulsion, but rather maintain a bodyroll. How true does that apply?

2. Are there any stretches that can help my ankle flexibility?

3. Can I still be a successful swimmer even though my body wasn't built for it?

If you are aiming at longer events, your focus should be economy. From the perspective of your kick this means:
1) Keeping your feet/legs within the "slipstream" of your body - it takes good balance to do this because your legs often become "outriggers" to compensate when your balance is poor.
2) Integrating your kick seamlessly with your body action so it does assist -- and does not interfere with -- your power-producing and drag-reducing body rolls.
3) Keeping your legs as relaxed as possible while you do all that.

The stretching suggestions you've been given can be helpful toward #1, but "remodeling" your ankle joint may take time. As that proceeds you can gain some more immediate payback from paying attention to how far apart your feet are at any time.

The suggestion to define success is good. Keeping success as an open definition may be most helpful. My definition is to maintain my passion for swimming and to use that to improve continuously.

blainesapprentice
January 29th, 2007, 01:32 PM
2 - Make the ABCs with your foot. Try to keep your lower leg still. I don't think it matters if you do capital letters or lowercase, but the point is that in all 26 letters, you are stretching out your ankle pretty good. Make sure you do both feet.
:banana:


woohoo muppet! super idea, never even thought of that before...when I was younger they'd tell me to sit in front of the tv, on my ankles, bending them...but I never really did that regularly, because it just isn't natural lol! But, while I was reading through ppl's responses I tried this and well now my ankles definately are feeling the burn of a good stretch! Awesome! Thanks!

SwimStud
January 29th, 2007, 01:34 PM
woohoo muppet! super idea, never even thought of that before...when I was younger they'd tell me to sit in front of the tv, on my ankles, bending them...but I never really did that regularly, because it just isn't natural lol! But, while I was reading through ppl's responses I tried this and well now my ankles definately are feeling the burn of a good stretch! Awesome! Thanks!

You have to sing out loud while you do this otherwise it doesn't work...

Muppet
January 29th, 2007, 02:07 PM
woohoo muppet! super idea, never even thought of that before...when I was younger they'd tell me to sit in front of the tv, on my ankles, bending them...but I never really did that regularly, because it just isn't natural lol! But, while I was reading through ppl's responses I tried this and well now my ankles definately are feeling the burn of a good stretch! Awesome! Thanks!

Yeah, works pretty good, eh? Knowing that, some doctor will get on here and ream me out for promoting something that isn't good.
I usually do some ankle stretches along with my regular wake-up stretches, but those are mostly 15 wax on's, 15 wax off's.
:banana: