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Thread: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

  1. #1
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, FORUMITES!

    One of my goals for the new year (as it is for every year) is to improve all four of my strokes. I have posted videos on The Breaststroke Lane, The Backstroke Lane, and The Butterfly Lane, in hopes of receiving some feedback on those strokes. Please feel free to check those out and offer any constructive criticism you may have.

    Here are three freestyle videos of my current stroke. I have been working to eliminate flaws that were previously pointed out: Head bounce on the non-breathing stroke, a lazy right hand exit at the end of the stroke, and splashy hands on entry. Whether I succeeded or not is open for discussion. And, in the process, I hope I didn't pick up any other bad habits!






    Thanks!
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Your stroke looks pretty good. A couple things I noticed: you could be tighter in your streamline. Make sure your arms are pressed right up against your ears. Second, you aren't keeping a high enough elbow. Your arm is very straight during your pull. You'll get more from your stroke if you employ an EVF style stroke.

    For comparison watch your stroke vs. Michael Phelps' here
    BORKED

    Keep up the good work!

  3. #3
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    Your stroke looks pretty good. A couple things I noticed: you could be tighter in your streamline. Make sure your arms are pressed right up against your ears. Second, you aren't keeping a high enough elbow. Your arm is very straight during your pull. You'll get more from your stroke if you employ an EVF style stroke.

    For comparison watch your stroke vs. Michael Phelps' here
    BORKED

    Keep up the good work!
    Thanks, Kirk! Yep; a tighter streamline is my biggest challenge in all of the strokes, because of my past shoulder surgery. So, it is a stroke flaw caused by my physical limitation that prevents me from having ideal form. In breaststroke, since I can't get my shoulders any narrower, I'm working on at least trying to keep my elbows straight.

    As for EVF, I'll get right on it- thanks! And, thanks for the awesome video link; I especially like the end of it where the camera captures Phelps above and below the surface, simultaneously.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    I notice that you only breath on your left side during freestyle. Have you tried bilateral breathing? I made the switch last Feb after hurting my elbow and all I could do was easy freestyle. After 37 years out of the water I made myself learn 3,5,7 stroke breathing.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Bilateral breathing is OK for some people and a good skill to have,but there are almost no elite swimmers using it.I don't think there is any utility in 5 or 7 breathing except for variety in a workout.If one wants to work on breath control doing more SDK off the turn would be more useful.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    I thought elite swimmers usually breathe in races one-sided but do train bilateral

  7. #7
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    I don't have the opportunity to watch elite swimmers train,but I thought the mantra was "train like you race".
    I do know from other threads that Elaine can breath to both sides.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    Bilateral breathing is OK for some people and a good skill to have,but there are almost no elite swimmers using it.I don't think there is any utility in 5 or 7 breathing except for variety in a workout.If one wants to work on breath control doing more SDK off the turn would be more useful.
    5-7 bilateral breathing in a race is rarely done but there are plenty of cases where I have seen bilateral breathing. Usually it is in the form of 2 on one side 2 on the other. 1 on one side 1 or 2 on another side. Or a quick breath to the opposite side before the turn. Bilateral breathing does not have to be just every three strokes.

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    Active Member habu987's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post

    Here are three freestyle videos of my current stroke. I have been working to eliminate flaws that were previously pointed out: Head bounce on the non-breathing stroke, a lazy right hand exit at the end of the stroke, and splashy hands on entry. Whether I succeeded or not is open for discussion. And, in the process, I hope I didn't pick up any other bad habits!
    Hey Elaine, don't have time to do a detailed critique, but I've noticed something that knelson didn't mention--you pull your hands pretty wide out to the sides when you pull back. If you pull closer to your body, you should be able to engage your core muscles more and get a more powerful pull. With your hands pulling that far out to your sides, you're not engaging all the muscles you can, or engaging them in the optimal fashion. As far as I'm concerned, you generally want your hands in the general vicinity of an imaginary line that goes through your shoulders and goes down towards your feet at the catch and start of the pull, then sweep in towards your center line. That will engage a lot of the muscles from your abs up to the little muscles in your arms and shoulders and also help you develop a healthy roll. Take a look at where Phelps initiates his pull in that video--pretty much in line with his shoulders, then he sweeps in under his chest and stomach. You're starting your pull much further out to the sides than he is.

  10. #10
    Active Member determinedtri's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    I don't have the opportunity to watch elite swimmers train,but I thought the mantra was "train like you race".
    I do have the opportunity to watch elite swimmers train - my Swimming Australia club includes a 2012 Olympian and 3 people who competed at World Short Course Champs in Instanbul (silver medal relay, 2 individual finalists + 9th). If people would like, I can closely watch our the High Performance Squad in training and see how much bilateral breathing goes on.

  11. #11
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by oldmodelt View Post
    I notice that you only breath on your left side during freestyle. Have you tried bilateral breathing? I made the switch last Feb after hurting my elbow and all I could do was easy freestyle. After 37 years out of the water I made myself learn 3,5,7 stroke breathing.
    Actually, what I typically do is breathe to the left going down the pool and breathe to the right coming back. I don't get enough air bilateral breathing, so this is how I stay balanced. But, even though I am a natural left breather, one of my stroke flaws I have been trying to correct (my head bouncing on the non-breathing stroke) happens mainly when I breathe to the left. So, I had video shot of only breathing to the left.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  12. #12
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by habu987 View Post
    Hey Elaine, don't have time to do a detailed critique, but I've noticed something that knelson didn't mention--you pull your hands pretty wide out to the sides when you pull back. If you pull closer to your body, you should be able to engage your core muscles more and get a more powerful pull. With your hands pulling that far out to your sides, you're not engaging all the muscles you can, or engaging them in the optimal fashion. As far as I'm concerned, you generally want your hands in the general vicinity of an imaginary line that goes through your shoulders and goes down towards your feet at the catch and start of the pull, then sweep in towards your center line. That will engage a lot of the muscles from your abs up to the little muscles in your arms and shoulders and also help you develop a healthy roll. Take a look at where Phelps initiates his pull in that video--pretty much in line with his shoulders, then he sweeps in under his chest and stomach. You're starting your pull much further out to the sides than he is.
    Thanks for the suggestion, habu! I had my husband shoot some underwater video of my freestyle today, so I'll check it out (and post it on this thread), to see how bad it is...
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by oldmodelt View Post
    5-7 bilateral breathing in a race is rarely done but there are plenty of cases where I have seen bilateral breathing. Usually it is in the form of 2 on one side 2 on the other. 1 on one side 1 or 2 on another side. Or a quick breath to the opposite side before the turn. Bilateral breathing does not have to be just every three strokes.
    Sorry,I may have been a bit abrupt.I have heard too many "old school" coaches who wanted to "toughen" their swimmers with the 3,5,7 drill and I got a button pushed.Knowing how to breath bilaterally is certainly a valuable tool.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

  14. #14
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by habu987 View Post
    you pull your hands pretty wide out to the sides when you pull back.
    Your observation was spot-on, habu! Here are the videos:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb995kGh1D0&feature=youtu.be
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ps9rO1Hf2NE&feature=youtu.be

    My only concern would be how changing my stroke would affect my shoulders. Would pulling more under my body put more of a strain on them? Given my past medical issues, I need to avoid that; especially since I swim so much freestyle in training. For butterfly, I have worked on pulling more under my body, but I don't train or compete in enough fly for it to become a problem.

    Comments from the Peanut Gallery? By the way, no fair on commenting on the gaping neckline in my suit.
    I am not wearing my beloved aging Speedo Endurance, as it took a dump when our pool chemical balance went south. And, when I tried to get a decent deal on suits, I had to settle on some Sporti close-outs, as Speedo (and Tyr) were out of my size. A word to the ladies out there: If you're built like me, the top half of Sporti suits fit lousy!
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

  15. #15
    Very Active Member ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by habu987 View Post
    ...you pull your hands pretty wide out to the sides when you pull back. If you pull closer to your body, you should be able to engage your core muscles more and get a more powerful pull. With your hands pulling that far out to your sides, you're not engaging all the muscles you can, or engaging them in the optimal fashion. As far as I'm concerned, you generally want your hands in the general vicinity of an imaginary line that goes through your shoulders and goes down towards your feet at the catch and start of the pull, then sweep in towards your center line. That will engage a lot of the muscles from your abs up to the little muscles in your arms and shoulders and also help you develop a healthy roll.
    I tried it today; no can do over any distance. And, when I asked my coach/training partner about it, he reminded me of a previous discussion we had about the path of my hands and why I should NOT change it. Based on what he knows about my previous injury/surgery (thoracic outlet syndrome/ first rib resection), he felt that I should keep my pull wide, utilizing more of my upper back muscles, rather than shoulder muscles. When I tried it today, it validated what he had previously told me; it puts the strain on the wrong part of my previously carved-up anatomy. Same goes for fly, however, I feel like I can maintain closer hands on the pull for the relatively small amount I train fly, compared to freestyle.
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    Sorry, I may have been a bit abrupt.I have heard too many "old school" coaches who wanted to "toughen" their swimmers with the 3,5,7 drill and I got a button pushed.Knowing how to breath bilaterally is certainly a valuable tool.
    No sweat. I should have been more clear also. But my typing skills are rudimentary at best. So I tend to shorten my thoughts. You are correct that 5 & 7 strokes in competition is probably never used except in the short sprints, 50's. And that in the elite class, Olympics, National etc., they generally breath every 2 strokes. But they have worked long and hard (with the talent to go with) to perfect their strokes. But I do see the 2-3-2 or 1-3-1 or 2-2-3-2-2 technique used quite often in the age group meets when I referee. As I consider myself an aspiring age grouper(pun intended) I'm going to try it at the next meet and see how it goes. Other wise I found that by only breathing to my left makes me do the swimmer lunge. At this point, just experimenting with stuff after getting back into the sport some 37 years later can't hurt. I think I've got my turns down after I creamed my ankles at the 50 during the 2012 State meet at UIC last April in the 100 Free.

    A video that I saw that I do about once a month.


    And one with Bob Bowman.
    Last edited by oldmodelt; January 7th, 2013 at 12:48 AM.

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    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Stroke rate has alot to do with the breathing pattern. As swimmers get older, taller, bigger, their stroke rates start to come down and they usually need to abondon every three and go to breathing to one side to get enough air. I'm sure they do assigned sets breathing every 3,5,7,9. It balances the stroke. When you get to open water it really pays to be comfortable on both sides.

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    Re: Freestyle- Constructive criticism requested, please!

    Just watched the women's 4 x 200freestyle relay again from 2012 Olympics. And the 3rd leg was swum by ShannonVreeland and she did bilateral breathing the whole way. Not the norm for the big guns but many do still do the 3 count here and there.


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