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Syd
October 10th, 2007, 02:27 AM
I remember when my friend taught me how to water ski. He told me to stand feet together and then he pushed me. Instinctively my left foot shot out to steady myself. He said that is the foot that should be in front on the slalom ski.

What is the thinking on the starting block position? Which foot should be in front?

Syd

cathlaur
October 10th, 2007, 07:23 AM
Syd

I think it would be what leg you feel stronger with. I am right handed so naturally would put my right foot forward. It is just what comes natural to me

Does that make sense?

Katie

thewookiee
October 10th, 2007, 07:58 AM
Put your feet where you are most comfortable. If you left foot is more comfortable in front, put it there or vice versa. There is no right/wrong with this, as it is different for each person.

Blackbeard's Peg
October 10th, 2007, 08:33 AM
You have three options for feet placement:
1 - both feet forward
2 - left foot forward
3 - right foot forward

Most folks will tell you that #1 gives you the slowest reaction time, but the force of the two-feet will essentially negate any of that once you hit the water.

#2 and #3 are by comfort level. You probably want to put your stronger leg as the forward leg. I am right handed, and 51% right footed, but it is the left leg that is forward for me. I think this is because of basketball. In a layup, if you're going up for a layup, your inner leg is the one you jump off. Since I am righty, I spent more time going off my left leg, therefore making it the stronger leg.

Try 10 starts w/ your left leg forward; then 10 with your right. See which gives you the faster start and the better breakout. Pick that one.

tjburk
October 10th, 2007, 10:14 AM
The going in position from this coaches point of view is:

Strongest "Leg" forward as that is the leg that will be doing the majority of the launch......the rear leg does not do a whole lot besides stabilizing your body.

I myself use the 2 footed start....I can usually....not always.....but usually beat the kids that I coach to the 15 meter point even though I might not be the first off the blocks....it's all in the entry and the streamline.

But the biggest thing to take away from this is that it varies a whole lot from swimmer to swimmer....Just my:2cents: of course.....

The Fortress
October 10th, 2007, 10:39 AM
Put your feet where you are most comfortable. If you left foot is more comfortable in front, put it there or vice versa. There is no right/wrong with this, as it is different for each person.

I switched from the grab start to the track start early on. Now I lean back a bit and try to spring forward, launching with my strong foot. I'm a righty, but I put my left foot forward. Although right handed, when it comes to sports, I am left side dominant. Left hand, left foot, etc. (Probably why all my sports injuries are on my left side? Hmm....) I even have to have my left hand under the right hand while in my superman streamline or I just don't feel comfortable. Do what is best for you!

fanstone
October 10th, 2007, 11:10 AM
"Strengh" and "equilibrium" are in different legs. The kicking leg, as in soccer, in right handed people is the right leg, but the leg used in slalom skiing or the dominant leg when snow skiing would be the left leg. That said, I do the old style entry, basically a belly flop. But if I were going to do the track start, I would have the left leg up front. Try and stand on one foot only and figure out the dominant (equilibrium) leg is.

quicksilver
October 10th, 2007, 12:40 PM
Just as people are right or left handed...so they will be with their feet. But not necessarily with the same dominance.

That said...the lead foot may feel most comfortable taking the forward position on the starting block. For those who have never skateboarded, surfed or been on a water ski, they may have a different enlightenment on which one is best suited to take the lead on the track start.

As you said Syd...your left foot felt better taking the lead on the ski. Same should hold true on the block.





(In the surfing world...the left foot first is known as regular foot...and the right foot first is called goofy foot.)
Oddly enough there appear to be more regular foot riders than goofy footers.
http://www.ehow.com/how_2574_determine-regular-goofy.html

Syd
October 10th, 2007, 08:18 PM
Thanks for your input, everyone. My left leg is definitely my 'equilibrium' leg. I'll start with that one first and then switch to the right to see what feels the most comfortable. I guess it is just a question of practicing to find out which position is the most effective. The pool I train at, unfortunately, doesn't have starting blocks. I will have to find some soon as I have a meet on the 20th/21st of this month (my first in 24 years) and haven't practiced them for the same period of time! Starts were always my weak point, too!

Syd

rtodd
October 10th, 2007, 08:18 PM
stronger leg forward. That's how it is in track anyway.

Also, don't lean back on set. It takes to long to react and pull your body forward with the arms. Better off leaning forward with loose arms to clear the platform fastest. This is my opinion, but I would like to hear from others.

The Fortress
October 10th, 2007, 08:22 PM
stronger leg forward. That's how it is in track anyway.

Also, don't lean back on set. It takes to long to react and pull your body forward with the arms. Better off leaning forward with loose arms to clear the platform fastest. This is my opinion, but I would like to hear from others.


Check out Ian Crocker's starts. He leans back. George can post a link. I remember some of his starts were awesome at SCY Nationals.

When leaning forward, I tend to go more down than out. But I could do it either way. I'm experimenting with this new way for more forward torque.

shark
October 10th, 2007, 08:36 PM
Which foot should be in front?

Syd

Doesn't it depend on the hemisphere you are in? Now my question is this, North, South, East or West?

Me, I teach it with both feet forward. Might as well, might as well explode forward as one single mass. Why separate all that potential energy? Two units? Not for me. I have a hard time keeping all my masses together I guess.

rtodd
October 10th, 2007, 08:44 PM
Maybe leaning back is faster, but I felt like I got left behind the last time. I still need to work on what is best. I do know I like the track start.

Starts are hard to analyze. If you lean back you may not get off the platform as quick, but you will have more forward momentum. There does seem to be a mix of leaning back and not leaning as far back.

Donna
October 10th, 2007, 08:49 PM
Stand with your feet together and have someone push you backward, which ever foot goes back for you to gain your balance, that is the one that should be back.

Paul Smith
October 10th, 2007, 10:56 PM
The going in position from this coaches point of view is:

Strongest "Leg" forward as that is the leg that will be doing the majority of the launch......the rear leg does not do a whole lot besides stabilizing your body.

I myself use the 2 footed start....I can usually....not always.....but usually beat the kids that I coach to the 15 meter point even though I might not be the first off the blocks....it's all in the entry and the streamline.

But the biggest thing to take away from this is that it varies a whole lot from swimmer to swimmer....Just my:2cents: of course.....

One thing we should all take away from these types of discussions is there is no "one way" to do something. The key to grow and succeed is to take in a variety of viewpoints, try them all, and adapt to what works best for you.

In my case the two footed grab start as TJ still works best for me for exactly the reasons described.

My wife is still experimenting, she tried and lean back grad start 3 years ago and ended up with a 95% tear of her rotator cuff....which leads to my last bit of "wisdom".....practice starts 2-3x a week during the season.....not the last 2 weeks of a taper!

Allen Stark
October 10th, 2007, 11:09 PM
One coach I had said the starting block was the most important piece of equipment for practice.If you practice starts all year it is much easier to get comfortable and to experiment than if you wait until a little before a meet.(I know many places won't let you use the blocks or even dive from the side.I don't have a solution for that.:()

geochuck
October 10th, 2007, 11:16 PM
I do not do the grab start to far for me to reach down. Both feet at the front of the block toes over thedge slightly pidgeon toed. I still do the hands out front start then sweep the hands up and and over to get the body to follow through momentum.

Videos of track start here go down the list of videos find the two great videos http://www.swimmingcyclingrunning.com/SwimVids.asp

The Fortress
October 10th, 2007, 11:40 PM
My wife is still experimenting, she tried and lean back grad start 3 years ago and ended up with a 95% tear of her rotator cuff....which leads to my last bit of "wisdom".....practice starts 2-3x a week during the season.....not the last 2 weeks of a taper!

Oh great. 1x a week max on practice for me. I really don't want a Nick Brunelli type start rip ... Thanks for cheering me up. You owe me vino for that!

Syd
October 11th, 2007, 01:07 AM
So many options! And only a week to go. I hear what you are saying Allen: you should practice them all the time. It is just that the pool I train at doesn't even allow diving off the side (although I sneak one in every now and then) let alone diving off blocks.

This time I think I might just go for both feet in front, arms hanging loose and concentrate on entering the water in one hole. It is the best I can do in such a short space of time. Then, after the meet, start trying out everyones' suggestions.

George, thanks for those video clips. I downloaded them all. It seemed like the majority of swimmers had their right foots forward. Significant?

As an aside check out Michael Klim's flip turn video (at the link George provided). It is quite awesome. He SDKs on his back off the wall, then on his side and then on his tummy. It looked like one of those drill videos. He was still SDKing and the other swimmers had already taken 4 strokes.

Syd

islandsox
October 12th, 2007, 07:59 PM
You have three options for feet placement:
1 - both feet forward
2 - left foot forward
3 - right foot forward

Most folks will tell you that #1 gives you the slowest reaction time, but the force of the two-feet will essentially negate any of that once you hit the water.

#2 and #3 are by comfort level. You probably want to put your stronger leg as the forward leg. I am right handed, and 51% right footed, but it is the left leg that is forward for me. I think this is because of basketball. In a layup, if you're going up for a layup, your inner leg is the one you jump off. Since I am righty, I spent more time going off my left leg, therefore making it the stronger leg.

Try 10 starts w/ your left leg forward; then 10 with your right. See which gives you the faster start and the better breakout. Pick that one.

If you are going to do the "track" start which is one of the feet forward, you will know which of your legs is the strongest for the push-off; that's the leg that's forward for most people. I am one of those with both feet even, not staggered, and even though people say it's not a fast start, I have to disagree here. I had one of the fastest freestyle starts in over 40 races; my response time was lightning speed and I don't think it was because of my foot placement; it was my body's reaction time to a gun sound, and with both legs driving off the blocks, I always was a half-body length ahead of everyone when we surfaced. But in my favorite stroke, backstroke, I had to struggle with that same situation; my response time was less and I never figured it out. Thus, I was usually a back-half swimmer who came from behind, over and over again.

Donna

Syd
October 12th, 2007, 08:21 PM
I had one of the fastest freestyle starts in over 40 races; my response time was lightning speed and I don't think it was because of my foot placement; it was my body's reaction time to a gun sound, and with both legs driving off the blocks, I always was a half-body length ahead of everyone when we surfaced.

I bet you were one of those kids that were good at arcade games! ;) Me, I never was. My reaction time was always clumsily slow. Even more worryingly I have to wear an earplug in my right ear because of ear problems and I wonder if that is not going to exacerbate the situation.


But in my favorite stroke, backstroke, I had to struggle with that same situation; my response time was less and I never figured it out. Thus, I was usually a back-half swimmer who came from behind, over and over again.

Donna

That is interesting and suggests something wrong with your technique, especially considering your reaction time in the block start is so good.

Syd

islandsox
October 13th, 2007, 08:35 PM
That is interesting and suggests something wrong with your technique, especially considering your reaction time in the block start is so good.

Syd

Thanks a lot Syd. But I have to say here that for some of us who are tall, being wrapped up in a tight ball and trying to explode off the blocks backwards doesn't work that well. Kinda like those people who flip turn and are in a tight ball; it can diminish movement. I swam backstroke for over 30 years and did pretty well race wise. Plus, since I mentioned the backstroke start being problematic from time-to-time, I probably am not the only one who suffered from feet slipping down the wall either since our toes could not be above the water line. At least I won more races than I lost even without a terrific back start; made up lots of time on turns and in the straight-aways.

Syd
October 13th, 2007, 09:42 PM
Thanks a lot Syd. But I have to say here that for some of us who are tall, being wrapped up in a tight ball and trying to explode off the blocks backwards doesn't work that well. Kinda like those people who flip turn and are in a tight ball; it can diminish movement. I swam backstroke for over 30 years and did pretty well race wise. Plus, since I mentioned the backstroke start being problematic from time-to-time, I probably am not the only one who suffered from feet slipping down the wall either since our toes could not be above the water line. At least I won more races than I lost even without a terrific back start; made up lots of time on turns and in the straight-aways.

Thankfully, I don't have to face any of these problems. Well, not yet anyway. I am in the habit of giving myself challenges so maybe I will be entering myself for the 100 back in the future! But, for the time being, backstroke remains my 'evilstroke'. Water gets up my nose and I am all thrashing limbs and sinking midsection. Trust me, it is not a pretty sight. Not to mention those turns. I live in fear of breaking my wrist on the wall.

So it seems the backstroke rule has changed then, because, as a kid, I remember curling my toes over the edge of the wall. Am I right?

Syd

pwolf66
October 13th, 2007, 09:44 PM
So it seems the backstroke rule has changed then, because, as a kid, I remember curling my toes over the edge of the wall. Am I right?

Syd

Yep, I remember the only requirement was that the heel of the foot had to be touching the water. That was all.

Paul

islandsox
October 14th, 2007, 08:06 PM
Don't remember when there was a rule change, obviously a long time ago (LOL). In the 90's, I could curl my toes over the gutter lip which improved my start immensely. I remember having the feet underwater when I was swimming AAU.

I have a thought: why can't ALL strokes just go off the blocks? It's all relative anyway. Like a freestyle start, dolphin kicking, no arms, flip over at 15 meters, and swim backstroke.

The Fortress
October 14th, 2007, 08:29 PM
I have a thought: why can't ALL strokes just go off the blocks? It's all relative anyway. Like a freestyle start, dolphin kicking, no arms, flip over at 15 meters, and swim backstroke.

What?! After all the work I've done on my backstroke starts? No way, I need an edge, sistah!

Sounds like you shoulda been a sprinter with that fast free start. :thhbbb:

ande
October 15th, 2007, 09:39 PM
which ever feels best
i put left forward


I remember when my friend taught me how to water ski. He told me to stand feet together and then he pushed me. Instinctively my left foot shot out to steady myself. He said that is the foot that should be in front on the slalom ski.

What is the thinking on the starting block position? Which foot should be in front?

Syd