Originally Posted by Talvi
Then the problem is what to ask them to focus on as I'm not sure what it is that's wrong at the moment. But it is a nice idea to ponder. I'll try to figure out what to ask of them. It'll have to be simple, like: flat unbending body position, amount of shoulder out of water on each side, hand entry point, feet at the surface ... how do those sound?
A lot of stuff, like head psotion, is much more subtle than can easily be communicated: how low is too low, how high is too high, and more!
As you did with the drawings, we believe we see what is there and yet we actually see what we believe to be there. When we've seen an exemplar, and have the ahah moment, our eyes open and then it's so obvious we can't believe we didn't see it all along!
Hey Talvi, All excellent questions. It's difficult for the casual observer or even long time swimmer to notice arching of the back, how much shoulder above the surface, stacking, position of feet, etc. But I'll give you what I observe each time I go to the pool and study the crowd of lap swimmers. These observations I believe most anyone can recognize whether swimmer, non swimmer, coach or not:
1. Head position: Can I read the logo or words on the cap? Can I see the cap at all; is it buried below the surface? Or is cap just crowning surface? Does head remain still, or bob up and down on each stroke?
2. Recovery arm: Does recovery arm lay flat and splash, or does recovery arm slice in fingertips first, wrist, then elbow? Does recovery arm enter in front of head or in line with shoulders, i.e. 10 & 2 o'clock where head is center of clock?
3. Hips and body-line: Are hips crowning surface on each body rotation? Do I see a straight spine or lateral spine twisting with head and hips consistently out of alignment on each stroke?
4. Economy of movement: Is the stroke busy or not? Does swimmer have lots of movements or fewer movements? Is there a lot of effort/strokes or ease of movement?
You don't have to be a coach or even a swimmer to recognize and give feed back on 1 - 4 above. #4 is more subjective, but each will be perceptions, so having more folks observe will help separate reality from perceived reality. Understanding where the source of the problem is a whole different process of course and requires trained eyes. But use the feedback to your advantage to help you identify the source of the problem and experiment with measures to correct and refine.