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  #1  
Old 12-12-2008
rjsteadman rjsteadman is offline
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Default Advice from a non-TI coach

Morning all, (well it's morning here! :) )

I recently had some advice from a non-TI coach for the first time and thought it might be interesting to see if anyone has any comments to make.

Just to give some background Ė Iíve never been much of a swimmer (and certainly not freestyle), although quite a keen runner for a number of years. Discovered TI last Feb (through Chirunning) and got rather hooked. Iíve worked mainly from the books and videos but also went on a workshop weekend and have had 3 sessions this year with a TI coach in the UK. Iím a big fan of TI now and a bit annoyed that I had so many Ďtraditionalí swim lessons as a child which taught me nothing!

Anyway as a result of some problems with my new gym they offered me some goodwill freebies and I chose a couple of swim coach sessions. The guy obviously wasnít the ďTI - styleĒ and I didnít mention it, just let him offer his tips. Some were very helpful but others Iím a bit unsure about still:

1) Fingers together. Iíve always let my fingers separate a bit on the stroke as I hadnít noticed it makes any difference to the catch. However he was adamant that fingers together is better, which seems to make the hand more tense to me.
2) He wasnít impressed at all with my 2-beat kick! He got me doing a constant 6-beat flutter kick and said all triathletes would do the same.
3) Stroke directly under the body Ė he noticed that my stroking arm passes out a bit wide and would be better going directly underneath. Think heís right about that, although watching some of the TI videos it does seem to be fairly wide.
4) Breathing. Iíve got the habit of breathing every 2 strokes at the moment. Iím told that this is unnecessary and inefficient and to breathe every 4 or 3 strokes. Iím working on this but tend to get breathless after a couple of lengths at the moment.
Any thoughts anyone?
Thanks,
Robert.
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  #2  
Old 12-12-2008
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjsteadman View Post
Morning all, (well it's morning here! :) )

I recently had some advice from a non-TI coach for the first time and thought it might be interesting to see if anyone has any comments to make...
1) Fingers together. Iíve always let my fingers separate a bit on the stroke as I hadnít noticed it makes any difference to the catch. However he was adamant that fingers together is better, which seems to make the hand more tense to me.
2) He wasnít impressed at all with my 2-beat kick! He got me doing a constant 6-beat flutter kick and said all triathletes would do the same.
3) Stroke directly under the body Ė he noticed that my stroking arm passes out a bit wide and would be better going directly underneath. Think heís right about that, although watching some of the TI videos it does seem to be fairly wide.
4) Breathing. Iíve got the habit of breathing every 2 strokes at the moment. Iím told that this is unnecessary and inefficient and to breathe every 4 or 3 strokes. Iím working on this but tend to get breathless after a couple of lengths at the moment.
Any thoughts anyone?
Thanks,
Robert.
Fingers together - yes, your instincts are correct, this will tense the muscles in your hand.

6-beat kick - good for sprinting up to 100 meters. Or for warming up in the first 5 minutes of a cold open water swim For triathlon, where you are going to be doing two other sports afterwards, a two beat kick will save you a huge amount of energy. Laure Manadou does it for her longer races. enough said.

Stroke under the body - seems to me you have to scrunch your shoulders inwards to do that, which could lead to impingement. You want your arm at a natural angle. It will *seem* to be under the body as you roll, which may be where this coach got the idea of doing it deliberatly.

Breathing every 3-4 strokes - it's a good idea to learn to breath to both sides, but really, you need to get air when you need to get air. Now having said that, last week at T.I. practice, our coach had us go very slowly for as many strokes as we could before taking a breath. The object wasn't "hypoxic" training, but to make ourselves be so relaxed, and stay so long in streamline that we didn't feel the need. We could only do one length (25m) at a time this way, and only with a lot of rest between, but it was useful for practicing total relaxation.

It's good that you got some helpful information from this coach. Last week I watched a coached session in a rented lane as I was leaving the pool and saw two people with foam pull buoys clamped between the knees. One was looking up and straight ahead every time he breathed, which of course meant his legs sank straight down - gee, I wonder why he was using the pull buoy?? The other was kicking frantically from the knees, which sort of negated the whole purpose of using one. I'd like to hope that the coach running the session did more than just have them do more pull buoy, but I'm not taking bets on it.
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  #3  
Old 12-12-2008
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjsteadman View Post
Iím a big fan of TI now and a bit annoyed that I had so many Ďtraditionalí swim lessons [in the UK] as a child which taught me nothing!

1) Fingers together. Iíve always let my fingers separate a bit on the stroke as I hadnít noticed it makes any difference to the catch. However he was adamant that fingers together is better, which seems to make the hand more tense to me.

2) He wasnít impressed at all with my 2-beat kick! He got me doing a constant 6-beat flutter kick and said all triathletes would do the same.
1. On a day that isn't freezing cold, stick your hand out of the window of a moving car and test the finger positions. Fingers together, fingers relaxed, fingers wide apart. I'm sure you will find that relaxed fingers produce the greatest drag.

2. Learn both kicks. The 2-beat kick is especially cool. heh

I took my only adult lessons while in England. I thought they were quite good. It was different from the way children are taught at the YMCA in America. (I'm not sure how they teach adults.) I'd say the lessons in England were semi-TI style while the YMCA lessons are pretty much anti-TI.

By anti-TI I mean kicking hard with the head up. Some kids never seem to train themselves out of that habit. Which leads to the logical question; why teach that way to begin with?

Personally, I refuse to be bound by any one system, even TI.
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  #4  
Old 12-17-2008
mattcon mattcon is offline
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I took a water instruction course sponsored by the Red Cross to get certified to teach swimming at a pool, and it was horrendous. Among other things, I was told that when swimming freestyle you want the waterline just above the goggles because this will create an "air pocket" that allows you to breathe without turning your head as much. Just crazy.

Matt
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2008
rjsteadman rjsteadman is offline
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Thanks, it was interesting and it's made me think about a few things that I was doing at least. He did make the point that the problem he usually has with swimmers is their body position but that mine was good. However, when he went on to encourage kicking drills he suggested using a float rather than fish or skating style drills which of course are how I learned the body position in the first place!

Anyway I'm still working on the hand moving under the body. I think it was going out wide a bit - I've never really thought about it much before. But the more I pay attention the less I seem to know what the natural path should be!
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  #6  
Old 12-24-2008
RadSwim RadSwim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjsteadman View Post
Anyway I'm still working on the hand moving under the body. I think it was going out wide a bit - I've never really thought about it much before. But the more I pay attention the less I seem to know what the natural path should be!
RJ-

The advice to move your hand under your body is not likely to improve your swimming. You may find that the "under body experience" causes you to fish-tail in the water, or you may find that it is not an efficient technique. More importantly, you may develop shoulder pain, if you have vulnerable anatomy.

Most of us find that "crazy wide" (DallasBob Wiskera) is easier, faster, and more fun. Try keeping your arms shoulder width or a little wider. Indeed, over the past few days, I have been experimenting with "insanely wide" and like the results so far.

Stay wide,

RadSwim
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2008
rjsteadman rjsteadman is offline
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Thanks RadSwim, I'll do some more experimenting. The hand still finishes close to the hip though I assume?

The other thing that puzzles me a little is that a lot of swimmers seem to have a pronounced elbow bend during the stroke which brings the hand closer in. This doesn't really manifest in my stroke and I'm not sure if it's something I should try and encourage.

Regards,
Robert.
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  #8  
Old 12-24-2008
RadSwim RadSwim is offline
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Originally Posted by rjsteadman View Post
The hand still finishes close to the hip though I assume?

The other thing that puzzles me a little is that a lot of swimmers seem to have a pronounced elbow bend during the stroke which brings the hand closer in. This doesn't really manifest in my stroke and I'm not sure if it's something I should try and encourage.
Until a few weeks ago, I would say yes, the hand still finishes near the hip. However, I am currently modifying my stroke after seeing how my ultra-long stroke had multiple adverse effects -- too much body roll, driving my head too deep, too low a stroke rate which limits speed. I have ceased finishing near my thigh and now recover earlier, just below my waist. I have changed from 11-12 SPL to 14 - 16 SPL and swimming easier and faster than ever. So finishing near the hip may not be the right answer for you. Experiment.

The out-of-favor S-shaped pull has a bent elbow and puts the hand under the body for part of the pull. This technique is no longer recommended by most experts.

The modern bent elbow technique goes under the synonyms "high elbow catch" and "early vertical forearm." If you search on those terms, you will find a wealth of information on the subject.

The old TI forum had a great deal of information on the subject. Since that resource has disappeared, here are a few links:

http://www.h2oustonswims.org/article...ped_elbow.html

http://www.aquaticedge.org/shoulderShift.htm

http://knackofswimming.com/Documents...rterly%201.pdf

http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/V...37&ItemId=1690

If done properly, the bent elbow should keep the forearms arms wide and fingers pointing at the bottom of the pool. In my opinion, high elbow catch is a technique worth perfecting. It requires much more strength than straight elbow or dropped elbow technique. Give it time.

RadSwim

Last edited by RadSwim : 12-24-2008 at 11:33 AM.
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  #9  
Old 12-27-2008
Adam Adam is offline
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My suggestion is to either use FistGloves, or at least swim with closed fists and only have your index finger pointing. This will teach you to hold the water correctly far faster then trying to do certain movement.

I think ultimately the result will be a bent elbow. Also it's wise to release the pressure of the water near the end of the stroke, in order to reduce internal rotation in the shoulder when there's a lot of resistance to your movement. This means you end the stroke with your hand facing your hip.
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  #10  
Old 12-27-2008
ironteeth ironteeth is offline
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Hi Robert

Similar to yourself I started Ti swimming in August here in the UK coming from a running/cycling background. I swim 4x week but had to leave the local Tri Club swim sessions as it was impossible to work on tehnique. THe club swim coach was excellent if you already had perfect technique otherwise I got fitter in the middle lane but not faster or easier.
Most of the coaching tips offered still obsess about powerful 6 beat kicking and pushing hard with the stroking arm. Good for sprints. I liken it to wheelspinning a sports car- lots of energy not much forward motion. If you watch TopGear the Stig always advises a fast start on the celebrity circuit but not a wheelspin if a fast time is required ie max traction/hold, too much and the water slips sideways.
I always thank the coaches for the advice and add that since I am doing an Ironman Triathlon I need a maximally efficient stroke rather than a fast stroke hence the 2 beat kick and long glide.
My best coach at the moment is my video camera, then you can coach yourself using the online resources and DVD as guides.

Mark
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