Two Beat Kick or Not Two Beat Kick. That is the Question.
For several days now I have observed various questions on the two beat kick. Most concerned timing and difficulty of learning. I had convince myself that if I had not mastered the purist two beat kick, that at least I practiced an acceptable subtitute.
When observing TI swimming royalty like Shinji, I was aware that his two beat kick was a mere flick of the leg as or just before he pulls. I have read a number of other TI'ers write about learning this move and timing. My own version of the kick was based on similar timing but really was flutter. That is when I kick one leg goes down and the other goes up followed by a return to position move involving the down foot coming back up and the up foot coming back down (I don't mean to overcomplicate this. Its a simple move).
I feel like this kick gives me propulsion but have become concerned that if its not the correct two beat kick, it may be actually costing me. Here's a list of my concerns:
1. It takes more energy than it should. In theory the one legged flick should be more efficient.
2. Depending on what arm the down stroke of my kick is on, it could be inhibiting my move to streamline. Most efficienados of the move talk about how it puts them into streamline.
3. The force of my kick might be supplying drag at the same time it supplies propulsion. When I think about how my recovery /hand entry was costing me because I was being too forceful, I could envision the same thing going on with my feet. Being long legged, could the flick keep me more balanced by not supplying such a large downward pulling force. I can't picture that it would give me as much propulsion but I might be better off overall.
Besides getting the timing and coordination right, my other concern is that the flick seems to be hamstring intensive. I have been known to have balky hamstrings from running (I wear compression shorts all the time). Is this a concern? Is my version of the two beat kick holding me back?
ATR, the one-foot flick in the 2BR works because of the propulsion, rotation, drive that it provides to the hip & eventually the shoulder (of the spearing hand). This is done in a cross or diagonal posture.
A couple of TI practitioner cited, that doing your kind, because they've experimented (or similarly, they started the 2BK this way) with the form that you do, negated the overall effect desired that they were unable to develop the propulsive force that would move/rotate/drive the hips.
When I do my 2BK version with the one-foot flick, I noted that the other foot, though drafting along was moving up-down, providing a sort of counter-balance with the foot-flicking foot, if you get what I am trying to convey. Couldn't you be doing the same?
I knew that the 2BK - with foot-flick (I initially described it as foot-driver, in my earlier threads) - was working the way it should (for me at least) was because of the following:
a. it produced the propulsion to initiate the hip-drive
b. it produced the glide to be able to spear entry the hand quite "gracefully" (if you know what I mean)
c. it produced a sense of ease, satisfaction, to be able to be moving forward, with seemingly effortless manner (can't seem to pin down the right word)
Combined with the energy savings from the marionette hands, relaxed head position, patient hands (though I still have to do more focus on this), I felt that I still had enough "gas" to go on and on.
The breakthrough for me was as Vol described it when I exaggerated and used the scissors kick, focussing on just the foot driver.
Also, I noted doing the superman with gentle flutter before doing the 2BK whole stroke, helps.
Am still in the stage of fine tuning my foot-flick's amplitude, the spear entry noise level still has to be reduced (I need to look for the correct angle of attack at different speeds), oh, so many other focal points to iron out.
But we'll get there someday - developing endurance, being able to do the right stroke repeatedly - as CEO TL said, it may take time before we feel that we're there.
ATReides, try and try, experiment, focus...
ATR, the kick is driven, for me initially, by the upper leg. Though part of the propulsion of the 2BK allows you to "turn off" the tension and any movement in the kicking foot. This (the luxury of drafting or turning off of the energy) is due to the force created by the kick.
Eventually, the flick, a single kick, with just the right amount of force (this one has to find out for one-self) was driven from the lower torso (no longer the upper leg) or maybe a combination of both - from the gut and from the leg. Let me get back to you on this ATR.
On the whole, I don't think that there is danger of injury to your hamstring with the 2BK foot-flick. With the new 2BK foot-flick, I have not experienced muscle twinges, cramping, or pain.
I'll update you on developments (you do, too, please).
I think I remember Rhoda saying that you should start off in a superman glide. So I did. Flicking each foot independently felt weird. Probaly a commentary on the sad state my coordinative abilities are in these days. But nevertheless easy enough. But I quicky realized that that wouldn't buy me anything unless I could flick and pull at the same time. Not wanting to venture into whole stroke, I decide that my version of a zipperswitch might be the trick. Uh oh. This isn't as easy as Shinji makes it look. But so long as I don't breathe, it seems to be working. Let's try it with breathing. Oops. I'm on the wrong leg. Pulling right, flicking left. This continued for the rest of the session. I tried whole stroke and my EV form seem to be shot to hell. What's happening to me. My right shoulder is sore. Even my old two legged flutter doesn't seem satisfactory. This has been a disaster. time to lift weights.
As I threw a few weights around, I thought about what had gone wrong. When my shoulder hurts, its because I'm trying to do high elbow without wide tracks. I realized that my SPL had skyrocked because I was so focused on timing the flick. Let's go back to the pool and see if I can fix some of this stuff.
I'll go to the outside pool. Water always seems to be a little "thinner" and its a 25 yd pool as opposed the 25 meter pool inside. This time I tried whole stroke but consciously slowed my stoke rate down. I gave myself time to "time" the flick. And it worked. I made several lengths with only a few mistakes. But I felt slower. I wonder if this is what Naj is talking about.
After my run on the treadmill, I decided to try a few more lengths. The coordinational problems showed up right away. But I decided, I could correct them on the fly. I went back to wide tracks and just swam. I made a lot of mistakes but on a couple of lengths, I was error free. And the feeling was spectacular. I seem to be flatter now. It could be my imagination but I thought there was definitely less drag. And my speed might have been a smidge better than the old way. And another byproduct of this little execise is that I don't worry about breathing as much. Okay, I'm sold. I wonder how long it will take before I'm not thinking about right/right and left/left. I think that I may not be rotating as much so I better keep that in mind. But as of now, I'm pretty satisfied with this little adventure.
First, the thread title is an instant inductee in my forum-thread Hall of Fame. Nice.
Your description of your 2BK (with the recovery movement after the propulsive flick) sounds just right. It sounds like you are bringing the feet back together and into streamline after the working beat -- great. What makes it two-, four- or six-beat is the number of propulsive downbeats per stroke cycle. If I understand your description, you are doing a 2BK.
On the hammy thing, you might try to get that recovering upsweep accomplished with hip muscle (glute, working in hip extension mode), just like you want to initiate the downbeat mostly with the opposing muscle group (hip flexors). As long as you are not doing a leg-curl type affair on the upbeat, you are good to go. Skating drills are a good occasion to pay attention to which muscles are driving the leg movement and feel the differences.
2-Beat Kick ...
Shinji had me start with the Superman Glide to get the general feel of the 2-Beat Kick without having to time it with anything. Once I got the hang of it he had me introduce a bit of a roll when I kicked. As I had tried it before without much luck as the timing was totally off, that helped me get a sense of how to judge when to kick and with which leg. Still don't have it mastered by any means but its starting to work for me now with Underswitch and Zipperswitch ...
I consider the 2BK to be virtually an essential and fundamental aspect of "Perpetual Motion Propulsion" since it improves streamline, reduces creation of turbulence, reduces energy cost, and uses "naturally occurring forces" (i.e. we don't have to produce them energetically) of gravity and body mass to initiate the action. When swimming longer distances and focusing on tireless paceholding, I focus mainly in streamlining and taking advantage of the natural movement produced by weight shift. When aiming to increase tempo or power for shorter, faster paces, I add a more active intention i.e. leg drive.
But coordination underlies all of it and that coordination may require patience, persistence and intense focus. For me it's been a multi-year project, but one that has produced hours of satisfying "flow state" experiences and a "tactical weapon" to deploy in races that has made a significant difference.
Starting with SG is a good idea, but rather than go from SG to foot flicking, instead go from SG to stroking using this sequence:
1) Try to keep ankles close together. Legs may drag. Let 'em. This will develop a sense of the upper body stability that is the foundation of being able to control and coordinate the action of your legs.
2) Allow your feet to move the slightest amount, trying to discern how they want to respond naturally to your weight shift. Your goal is a mini-kick in which ankles separate by only a few inches. Left foot should drop as right hip does.
3) When you feel that action happening naturally, accentuate it slightly -- i.e. with a toe flick.
After SG just take 4 to 6 strokes, without breathing. This will concentrate your attention to what's happening.
Always emphasize streamlining over activity. Feel the legs streamline in SG. That becomes an active streamline as you begin stroking.
Terry, thanks so much for the practice tips!
I started a few days ago with the drills suggested in this article, but was having trouble getting the kick and hip drive in sync. I think I also found I had been developing a flutter kick during hip drives to compensate for balance issues, so it took a LOT OF CONCENTRATION to stop the flutter kick.
This morning I tried your tips from your post with the following progression, always starting a length with a Superman Glide: (1) first, do 1-2 lengths of freestyle strokes while focusing on keeping ankles together to improve balance and streamlining; (2) next few lengths, while stroking with ankles together, focus on the foot that is on the same side as the extended arm to develop awareness of syncing that foot with the body; and (3) when ready, gently raise and flick the toes to initiate (anchor) the hip drive.
My impressions: TI is all about freedom through balance. In this case, ankles together improved balance, which freed the legs to remain quiet. Thinking about the feet (while quiet) helped develop an awareness relative to the hips. A small flick of the toes is all that is needed to start imprinting the muscle memory.
I also got the impression that this may help my speed issue, as the kick helps to anchor the hip, providing more forward drive than just the hips and arms.
This truly will take a lifetime to master - what a great way to enjoy life :-)
|All times are GMT. The time now is 12:01 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.