Originally Posted by terry
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 tips. I've been using TI for 14 months now (couldn't swim before) and I literally just started this week learning the diagonal 2Bk this week as an attempt to improve my speed for sprint triathlons (my pace for last week's race was 2:47/100yds. over 750m).
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 :-)