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Thread: Question on Fly and hands..

  1. #1
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    Question on Fly and hands..

    Hey all- I'm a relatively new swimmer and am still getting used to the fly (I know, I know- some will say they're 40 years in and still getting used to it )

    I recently had a minor breakthrough but want to refine it some more.

    For reference, I'm going to call the arms forward position 0, and the arms fully back 100, to explain what stage I'm roughly talking about.

    When I first started, I would keep my hands flat against the water all the way from 0 to about 80- i.e., trying to get as much resistance as I could to loft myself back up. This was absolutely killing me, endurance-wise.

    My breakthrough came recently when I realized only to push against the water when I needed it, i.e., just at 0, and then again at around 60 when I needed to loft myself up. Put another way, I only "turned on" hand power when my feet were ready for the second kick. This made me much quicker and easier-going. So my hands would slap down at 0, then turn fairly loose till about 60 when my feet were ready for the up-moving kick, then they would help out and push me up.

    My question is, after watching a video, I didn't realize that moving your hands into a knife-like position was actually desired at some stages of some strokes. By knife I mean sideways so you are cutting, not pushing, the water. I had always thought you want to be pushing against the water always to push yourself forward the most, but it's now becoming apparent you only want to "turn on" your hands at certain points. Is this true? And most importantly, how does it apply to fly? When are you "pushing" and when are you "knifing"? And is this really what the "s" motion I keep hearing about is getting at?

    I know this is beginner stuff, but hey, so am I at this point

    Thanks!
    Last edited by BigBrother; March 12th, 2009 at 11:17 AM.

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    Active Member magyarjuli's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    I would also like to hear an answer to this question. I have been back at swimming and love the IM but the fly is brutal. It seems like my arms are in good position the first lap but by the second I am dead and my arms stay very shallow when they should be more at my hips.

    As to your question though I am sorry but I don't have an answer. If any one has a video on it I would love to see it.

  3. #3
    Active Member magyarjuli's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    I found this video which actually shows her arms really well.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmiyhPop6GI"]YouTube - Swimming Butterfly Stroke[/ame]

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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    Beautiful example of the "s" motion with the arms.

    It the head involved and you can master this stroke.
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    Active Member magyarjuli's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    Ok I have an even better one. It is in Japanese so I have no idea what they are saying but mid way through she shows you the arm movements out of the water.

    Hope this helps.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTkezlTjigg&NR=1"]YouTube - Butterfly - Hagiwara Tocomo[/ame]

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    Active Member abc's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBrother View Post
    My breakthrough came recently when I realized only to push against the water when I needed it, i.e., just at 0, and then again at around 60 when I needed to loft myself up. Put another way, I only "turned on" hand power when my feet were ready for the second kick.
    Thanks!
    For me, there is always some force on my hands; in other words, I'm not turning power on and off. Sometimes I use less force in different aspects of my stroke--but there's always pressure being applied. The actual pull motion is shown well in the video. I would also avoid thinking of it as "lofting yourself up." Ideally, you want to think in terms of a flatter stroke that moves you forward. Sure, you'll need to breathe, but you don't want wasted effort moving up and down, you want optimized effort moving forward.
    Last edited by abc; March 13th, 2009 at 09:54 AM.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    I think of fly as a 2 hand freestyle. It helps me think about keeping drag down & pull - push at the correct time.

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    Very Active Member smontanaro's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    I love freestyle. I find one-hand fly easy. I can't seem to breathe on fly. My head comes out of the water, but no air goes in. If I throw in a third kick I seem to do a bit better. It must be something about flattening back out before I breathe.

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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    So first off, thanks for the links and advice.

    I was in the water today and was trying to go for more of the "s" pattern. It still doesn't make sense to me for a simple reason....

    Why do people go so wide with their arms on this? By people I mean pretty much anyone I see- these vids, olympic guys, etc. Here's why I don't get it. Imagine doing the fly right now. The way I discovered that made it easy was to plant my hands at roughly shoulder width apart, then pull straight down and back- you can almost simulate this by putting your hands straight up, then sweeping them straight down to point at your toes.

    What I'm getting at is, it seems by putting your arms at a 45 degree angle in front of you like in all these vids, you have a lot of makeup work to do and need to employ the 'S'. But if you keep everything linear- arms out in front, bring em down, sweep back, it seems simpler (?)

    Help me understand this- I in no way am claiming to have discovered a better fly here , but am merely trying to understand why it's done in what *appears* to me to be a more difficult fashion?

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    Very Active Member smontanaro's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    I think it's perhaps easier to get your arms into the early vertical forearm setup (elbows high).

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    Very Active Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    Quote Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
    I love freestyle. I find one-hand fly easy. I can't seem to breathe on fly. My head comes out of the water, but no air goes in. If I throw in a third kick I seem to do a bit better. It must be something about flattening back out before I breathe.
    I found it very hard to get air using "old butterfly" where the back was arched, neck was hyperextended and the chin jutted forward. I get plenty of air now that I keep my chin in the water and my neck straight with less undulation in the stroke.

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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    I teach kids how to do the butterfly in swim lessons. (Not for swim team, just to have the basics)

    On dry land, with just your legs moving together, is like dancing. Back and fourth dolphin motion. So once you have this motion going, if you add your arms, you have to go with the beat, and the arms naturally follow a "s" motion, rather than the straight up and down motion. Try it..., going with your body's natural rhyme or beat.

    That might make it easier to do what comes natural to your body.

    Good luck.
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    Re: Question on Fly and hands..

    Quote Originally Posted by greenpeas View Post
    I teach kids how to do the butterfly in swim lessons. (Not for swim team, just to have the basics)

    On dry land, with just your legs moving together, is like dancing. Back and fourth dolphin motion. So once you have this motion going, if you add your arms, you have to go with the beat, and the arms naturally follow a "s" motion, rather than the straight up and down motion. Try it..., going with your body's natural rhyme or beat.

    That might make it easier to do what comes natural to your body.

    Good luck.
    Interesting stuff. Thank you!

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