OK, I better make sure my own description is clear!!!
I will try to distinguish Feelings from Intentions...
Assuming I have just speared with my left hand, so am on my left 'rail' in patient catch position...
I 'sense' it is time to take my next stroke based on a mixture of -
- my "internal clock"
- how fast/slow the pool tiles are passing underneath me
- a sense of my momentum coming from skin, inner-ear or whatever. I just feel my speed.
My right hand recovers from hip or thigh to in front of my head.
At the same time I allow my left foot to drift/float slightly up and sideways to the "catch" position I have learnt by trial and error(!) When I sense it is in place I kick...
I feel a kind of jolt like a mini detonation as my foot 'bites' against the resistance of the water.
Through repitition my body is learning to time a number of things together. (This is something your CNS just does, you can't intellectualise it.) As the foot jolts, I
- rotate (nudge) my right hip down.
- spear with my right hand
- pull with my left arm.
To an outsider it might look like a ripple of cause and effect from foot to spear. But it doesn't feel like I passively allow a ripple to pass through my body. It feels like all these things happen actively exactly when the foot bites.
I feel my right arm slide into the water like into a sleeve. You can actually feel the surface run up your arm if you pay attention!
I feel my right shoulder drop, stretch and drive behind my arm
Sometimes I feel my chin touch my right shoulder. (A little check to avoid spearing too low, or raising my head)
I feel stretched out and powerful
If I am taking a breath on this stroke, I also feel the bow-wave. And I feel the air around my mouth when I breathe.
These are the things that matter, but I know a lot of people are worrying about the 'pulling' arm. So...
I am dimly aware of my left arm pulling. This is not my focus - my focus is spearing. The left arm automatically pulls as the right arm spears. I sense some water pressure on my left palm & forearm - but it is no big deal, certainly no strain. I don't really think about the route my arm takes to my hip or thigh. It seems to do a wiggle when it is half-way there (same as Terry does). This is not a conscious decision - my hand seems to like doing this, so it can feel the water a bit longer. So I allow it to.
At the very end of the stroke I think my hand 'pushes off' the last bit of water it is gripping. But my attention (intention) is not on this arm; it is reaching forward for the next rung of the invisible underwater ladder. I pull myself forward over my anchored arm; I never feel like I am pulling water back towards me.
Something I do NOT feel is any obvious sense of 'propulsion' from the kick. It is not like a flutter kick designed to move me forward. It just provides something very solid to brace against for a split second.
Things I feel when it goes wrong: One or more of -
My foot break the surface, and fail to kick properly.
My foot flick feebly through the water because I got the position or timing wrong and it didn't bite.
My elbow or upper arm slap the surface when I spear wrongly. Also I hear it splash. Normally I only hear my nose bubbles.
I think the two most important things are
1. Foot jolt
2. Intent to pull yourslf along a ladder, not grab water.
Hope this helps someone out there!
Last edited by Nicodemus : 08-17-2009 at 02:22 PM.