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  #1  
Old 12-24-2012
tsumrall tsumrall is offline
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tsumrall
Default ugly, wasteful scissor kick, please help...

I have attached videos samples of different tempo trainer paces...fast @ .62 seconds/stroke, half-speed @ 1.30 seconds/stroke and slow @ 1.70 seconds/stroke.

There is an ugly kick that I've been trying to overcome almost all year. I wondered if my kick was fine and it was just the camera angle, but I think it is a real symptom of a big problem. There is no telling how much time is sapped from what is causing this ugly kick.

With all the experience on this board, I'm confident that I can gather some drills and practices that will get me past this really fast.

1. I can see that I still have real balance issues. That's what is causing this, I'm sure.
2. I can see that my right arm spear pulls me off laser line many times.

However, what I can't tell is that I am doing this, I can't feel it. I need a way to feel it. I really need a way to fix it because I can't stand to see another video like this.

In case Terry gets a look at this...remember I am the same poster that recently started the thread about sprinting and Joe Novak.

Finally, I look forward to joining a workshop or having a coaching session this year with a TI Coach. Please give feedback about what kind of coaching or workshop I would benefit from the most.

I want to have this kicking symptom cured before the workshop.

.62 seconds/stroke...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYBGgHnNFF4

1.30 seconds/stroke...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE9nZ3_9Xk0

1.70 seconds/stroke...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmhX9zMm2A4
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  #2  
Old 12-25-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Some random observations and thoughts

since you are a sprinter then learn from bolt and the cheetah. The head stays totally still, or at least straight in line with the shoulders, you tip yours towards your spearing hands a bit.

http://vimeo.com/53914149 the cheetah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QrlPmK4B94 bolt

do a lot more laps of 1.7 until it feels as balanced as your 0.6

if its good enough for phelps?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zJSI0aoRfU

but remember the slow tempos are stroke 'rehearsal' for your sprinting so don't lengthen your stroke or engage different muscles just fine tune the precision.

In slow motion, think of positioning the legs into a perfect position each stroke rather than using them as a propulsive force.

that's all I have to offer for now. Keep up the great swimming in 2013
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  #3  
Old 12-25-2012
tsumrall tsumrall is offline
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Thank you Andy, I hope you're enjoying the last few days of 2012. I look forward to both of us sharing new personal best times this year...
kind of funny to think of all the days and hours and minutes that are in a year and yet some of us swimmers live all that time just to swim a certain distance a tenth or one-hundredth of a second faster. Funny contrast or perspective.

Anyway, thanks for your reply. I agree that head position and control is a big area of opportunity to take away from my videos. I just don't look very comfortable.

I've tried all kinds of tricks to improve that kick, from banding my legs together to "pressing the chest" and nothing has worked. That's because all of those things just treat the symptom, not the cause. I really think that there is something I am feeling, that I am equating with "swimming", some feeling that makes me think that I'm doing it right. I think that maybe to get that feeling, I am exaggerating rotation or something and consequently my brain is compensating the imbalance message by producing a wild kick. An example of this from the Easy Freestyle Manual...
"But when the brain senses imbalance (and particularly when it thinks
you’re sinking) over 90 percent of its energy is consumed with trying to fix that.
Until you fix ‘that sinking feeling,’ you have no chance of becoming comfortable or efficient.
And forget about trying to ‘tough it out’ as I heard one triathlete say: To learn even the
simplest skill, the brain must sense that the body is supported and stable. Swimming skills
are complex and counter-intuitive. Learning them requires calm, even analytical, focus. And
that takes balance."

I think I'm just going to re-arrange my practices to go back to the basics and just proceed step by step through the EF Manual, with lots of video sessions of the drills, until I find myself doing the movements that I expect.

Thanks for the video links. I've been watching Cheetah daily since Terry posted it and I use that as my vision sometimes when I swim. I want video of me swimming when I'm using that as my visual. Never seen the Bolt video, thanks for posting it. The Phelps video is a little comforting because it appears that his hips and legs are pretty deep in the water compared to his other videos; I guess it is natural at those speeds.
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  #4  
Old 12-25-2012
grandall grandall is offline
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Hi Tisumrall,

Nice stroke!

A few observations..I'm not a coach..but an advid TI enthusiasts


It's looks like you didn't take a breath on your .06 tempo swim video?


On video two @ a tempo of 1.30 video-counter .023, .027 -.028 your leading arm is already back before your recovery hand enters the water.(not streamlined). You want to have a patient relaxed leading hand/arm( don't rush it). Remember the key to swimming fast is having good streamlining skills.

Also your recovery arm looks like its extended to much out in front as it enters the water. Try having your relaxed hand enter the water (mail slot) sooner. You want to get the full benift of the weight shift to move you forward.

As Andy mentioned when practicing at slower tempos is a great way to use the time between strokes to deeply focus on your stroke while your swimming.

I would recommend the following:
practicing drills (include 1-3 focal points) to whole stroke

SG/SG w/2bk
Skate
Under/over switches w/2bk

Your whole body should always feel weightless with legs relaxed and drafting behind you . It's instinctive for many swimmers to overkick to compensate for poor balance and stability issues leading to poor effiency( energy waste).The 2bk takes alot of time, patience and deliberate practice to master.

Not sure if you have the 10 step DVD..here is the link.

http://www.totalimmersion.net/store/...0-lessons.html

Your doing a great job!..keep up with your kaizen
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George
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last edited by grandall : 12-26-2012 at 12:54 AM.
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  #5  
Old 12-25-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Hi, I've watched your videos dozens of times...it's hard with just the one angle to work on. I agree with most of what's said above, except for not lengthening the stroke at 1.70. Work on lengthenign and streamlining as much as possible because THIS will be your feeldback that you are doing things right. You'll learn to feel what moves you forward if you learn what reduced drag feels like..>So lengthen the stroke at 1.30 and 1.7. AT 1.3, you are taking 17 strokes...you're creating more drag than you need to somewhere and as you speed up, taht drag is still there, you just overpower it with the pull.

1.7 may be to slow for you, i'd really like to see what you look like at 1.0...not a sprint and not something that looks deliberately slow.

What I really like watching is your apparent shoulder flexibility...but wondering do they ever hurt you at any time? What makes me do a little body english is what looks like over extension prior to entry. From that point as you rotate your body the stroke begins immediately with little/few streamlining moments. There is a constant pressure on your upper arm, even as the stroke starts.

On the right, your stroke starts with a WIDE sweep to the right, especially at the 1.7 video and it looks like your body from the waist up is hyper flexed to the right...just really unstable and uncomfortable looking. This is one part where the kick comes in...there's over-rotation of the upper body, wide sweeping to the right, "leaning back" from the waist up and a bent knee.

Just practice right sided skating, possible with small (very small) fins and a slow kick to find relaxation in this position rather than strain. Have it videod from this angle...you want everything to be in a straight line.

A Random question for you...do you do a lot of pullups? If and when you do it, do you lean away from the pull up bar or are you able to keep your torso vertical?

One thing I see with people trying to swim fast is pulling too hard on the water as if they are doing a pullup...but they end up "leaning away" from the water which sinks the hips and pulls the upper back adn head out...this creates more drag. And as they do this they are usually losing traction on the water.

With just this angle it's really hard to tell though. A side underwater shot would be very helpful.


A few other small areas of improvement, each of which will add up to better swimming, better streamlining, etc.

Flexibility:
Shoulders/lats- Can you do this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG4q6jmrmkA

Hip flexors...the look like they are not extending past 0 degrees
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLORcsiYny0 (when I do this test my extended leg is off the table a few inches!

Ankles...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m271f0CTms

Spend time working on each one in and out of the pool and feeling it in your swimming
__________________
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Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle


Last edited by CoachSuzanne : 12-25-2012 at 04:29 PM.
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  #6  
Old 12-25-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsumrall View Post
In case Terry gets a look at this...remember I am the same poster that recently started the thread about sprinting and Joe Novak.
Oh yeah, the smart and very kind sprinter :)

Your problem is quite simple, I'd say you could see what it is, in your opinion, what was I about to say about it? Think action/reaction. Other clue? Coach Sue mentioned it ;-)

The good news is that this shouldn't be that difficult to fix.
- - - - - - - -

Now the bad news is that in spite of missing underwater view, you seem to suffer from a severe case of dropped elbow, both whilst skating and whilst catching.

These two issues are probably interrelated (at least to some extent)

Slightly off topic. Your swim at 1.3 is a total miss. You were on tempo for maybe 3-4 strokes out of roughly 36. Other than that, you were way over 1.3, as if you couldn't manage to stick to the beep. This probably explains the abnormally high stroke count given the rate (ie, you were focusing on trying to get to the beep instead of on maintaining good technique.... I donno). In fact, and I'm sorry for this really, but your swim at .62 was completely off as well. You were more or less holding .68 there.

Not sure if this difficulty to hold a specific pace has to do with difficulty to hear the beep, to follow it, or something else. One thing is sure, the concept of major vs minor kicking in a 6bk context tends to fade away as the rate increase (ie, as you get closer to your sprint swim mechanics). Could it be that by wanting to 'mark' these 2 major kicks you're actually preventing yourself from achieving high rates? That I donno.

On the good side though, your 6bk is perfectly timed, which is kind of rare.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 12-25-2012 at 06:18 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-25-2012
craig.arnold@gmail.com craig.arnold@gmail.com is offline
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As Suz says, and I think Charles is alluding to...

Your right hand especially spears VERY wide, and then you pull to where it speared in. So you are zig-zagging down the pool. It's not just resulting in a scissor kick, but your whole torso is torqueing. I can tell you probably don't have back problems because that would probably hurt a lot.

You want to spear to a point directly in front of each shoulder, not in line with your head as most people do, but rather straight in front. You are one of the very few people I have seen who spears as much wider to the outside as some people do to the inside.

If you speared that far off straight towards the mid-line you'd end up on your back a lot of the time.

Stand up. Put your hands above your head. Look in the mirror. Get your hands above your shoulders. Raise one hand at a time. Don't go over your head, don't go wider than your shoulder. Try to get a feeling for what that feels like. Use a visual aid of a line on the pool floor if you can.

Last edited by craig.arnold@gmail.com : 12-25-2012 at 07:26 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-25-2012
tsumrall tsumrall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grandall View Post
...Nice stroke!...It's looks like you didn't take a breath on your .06 tempo swim video?...

your leading arm is already back before your recovery hand enters the water.(not streamlined). You want to have a patient relaxed leading hand/arm. ... recovery arm looks like its extended to much out in front as it enters the water. Try having your relaxed hand enter the water (mail slot) sooner. You want to get the full benift of the weight shift...
I would recommend the following:
practicing drills (include 1-3 focal points) to whole stroke

SG/SG w/2bk
Skate
Under/over switches w/2bk

It's instinctive for many swimmers to overkick to compensate for poor balance and stability issues leading to poor effiency( energy waste).

Your doing a great job!..keep up with your kaizen
George, thank you for the encouragement and feedback. I'm glad you pointed out the early pull because that completely escaped me. I will practice those drills. I expect they will help if I am more consistent with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
1.7 may be to slow for you, i'd really like to see what you look like at 1.0...not a sprint and not something that looks deliberately slow.
Will try to post that tomorrow.

Quote:
What I really like watching is your apparent shoulder flexibility...but wondering do they ever hurt you at any time? What makes me do a little body english is what looks like over extension prior to entry. From that point as you rotate your body the stroke begins immediately with little/few streamlining moments. There is a constant pressure on your upper arm, even as the stroke starts.
I haven't really worked on shoulder flexibility for fear of creating instability, but I will begin that soon. In May of this year, after one year of swimming with no pain, I started to get pain. Immediately, I backed off. After resuming and still having pain, I had MRI's and they said that my pain was very light arthritis, tendonitis and bursitis. However, the doctor and I looked at the films and compared to pictures of healthy shoulders and he said mine looked great, that he could not see what they (MRI doctors?) were looking at. Anyway, I developed a comprehensive shoulder workout plan in June and headed to the weight room-no problems at all since late June. They feel a little reluctant or tired at about 100 yards continuous while warming up. Then no problems.

Thank you for your feedback. Very valuable. I have noticed the pressure on the upper arm. If my only stroke-thought is to relax the arm and be patient, then I can find the place where there is no pressure. Obviously, that was not on my mind as I was doing this video.

Quote:
On the right, your stroke starts with a WIDE sweep to the right, especially at the 1.7 video and it looks like your body from the waist up is hyper flexed to the right...just really unstable and uncomfortable looking. This is one part where the kick comes in...there's over-rotation of the upper body, wide sweeping to the right, "leaning back" from the waist up and a bent knee.
Yes, I don't feel that hyper-flexion when I do it, however, it's making me crazy to watch it. I really suspect that your comment about "leaning back" from the waist up is the big problem. I think that my hips and thighs are prone to sink too fast due to fundamental balance problems, but I suspect I make that problem worse in whole stroke for some reason. But why?

Quote:
A Random question for you...do you do a lot of pullups? If and when you do it, do you lean away from the pull up bar or are you able to keep your torso vertical?
Yes, I do them twice a week. Monday and Thursday. Warm up with 5 each of 3 different grips. Then do 1 or 2 with 50lbs weight hanging from my waist, then 1 more with 50 lbs. after 1:30 rest. On Thursday, I will usually add 3 more sets to burn-out on the assisted pull up machine with 55-85 lbs of assistance.
My wife and I suspect I lean away however, we are thinking of the one with the weight hanging. I probably am leaning slightly, but closer to vertical, on the regular. I will test it tomorrow.

I think you are on to something...could you explain more?

Quote:
One thing I see with people trying to swim fast is pulling too hard on the water as if they are doing a pullup...but they end up "leaning away" from the water which sinks the hips and pulls the upper back and head out...this creates more drag. And as they do this they are usually losing traction on the water.
I am sure I do this. How can I find the elusive silky magic you refer to? You also refer to the water as a wall that you place the underside of your forearm against and catapult your body over. How do I get that feeling? I'm doing alot of sculling now. I think there is a big speed gain opportunity here. I'm 6'3 and don't go nearly far enough per stroke for my height. Please help, me...your attention will not be over-looked.

I can even see my hips sink, upper back emerge and head move upward in some of my strokes on that video. I know its happening. I even have a sense of that feeling as I lay here typing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Oh yeah, the smart and very kind sprinter :)

Your problem is quite simple, I'd say you could see what it is, in your opinion, what was I about to say about it? Think action/reaction. Other clue? Coach Sue mentioned it ;-)

The good news is that this shouldn't be that difficult to fix.
Ahhh, I was waiting for your response Charles. Delighted by your comments...always fun to read.
Ok, I would guess that you say over-rotation but it could be any of the following which might all be connected, so let me take a stab at this...
spearing hand is above the water too long and misses the point at which gravity is greatest, meanwhile underwater hand begins a pull without a firm grip on water which leads to slipping which makes the shoulder that *should* be going *UP* actually resist going up, then the rotation is delayed, which further reduces any power that could have been had in the push, so I over compensate the weight shift and the spearing arm, while remaining wide, goes too wide and far, while the back arm comes flying free from the water pushing my balance further in the opposite direction when I should be preparing to rotate back the other way...meanwhile, the poor legs, which I can't feel for all of this flailing are just trying to get in the game and help me get balanced. All the while I'm trying to be like Nathan Adrian or James Magnussen when I should be thinking balance like Shinji or a Cheetah or even Charles ;-). I dunno...please put the problem in your words, I can't wait to hear.
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  #9  
Old 12-25-2012
tsumrall tsumrall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post

Flexibility:
Shoulders/lats- Can you do this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WG4q6jmrmkA

Hip flexors...the look like they are not extending past 0 degrees
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLORcsiYny0 (when I do this test my extended leg is off the table a few inches!

Ankles...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m271f0CTms

Spend time working on each one in and out of the pool and feeling it in your swimming
First, Suzanne, isn't that Charles in the first video? Well, I was going to say *of course* I can do it, but know that it's Charles, I will just say I think I can do something like that. Hahaha. Yes, I can manage it, with a few weeks of practice I think I could do almost replicate it exactly. But for now, I'm close enough to say Yes.

I've been wondering about the hip flexors and I just think there is a problem spot for me because from my lower back down, I've always been a bit stiff and I think I have nearly corrected a slight anterior pelvic tilt that I had about a year ago.

Been working on the ankles for about 8 months, but the last couple of months I've not been as consistent. Thanks for all of those videos.
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  #10  
Old 12-25-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Your mission as a swimmer is to swim on a rail, with nothing in the stroke that comes in the way of this mission.

Your skating seems to throw your body off this rail, legs open wider (as a consequence) to try and avoid falling down the rail.

I read in your original post that you thought the problem was a balance one. Well in FS you have lower body upper body balance, and obviously lateral balance (which is dynamic as you keep switching from side to side). Your issue (that one) is a lateral balance one. You almost fall off the rail on every right hand stroke.

I can not be of any help here unfortunately, and prefer to defer to TI resources. Skating is a big component of you guys' stroke, and your problem(s) pertain to how you skate etc... I'd bet my neighbor's house that you hyper extend (you're not the first, nor the last to 'not' feel this) and that as a consequence, you're dropping your elbow.

Maybe one theory I feel allowed to share with you, would be the 2 dimensional vs 3 dimensional way of pulling. 2 dimensions = entry/stretch then pull.

A third dimension then = entry/strech then down to setup for catch then pull.

Most people are missing this third dimension. I believe that it's a matter of tap your head rub your belly sort of stuff. It seems very difficult for most, to be gentle whilst setting up for catch, whilst pulling vigorously with the opposite arm. As a consequence, people glide/wait (ie, skate), then pull. It's impossible, in my opinion, to become a good swimmer this way. So learning to modulate your pull through is - I believe - a mandatory step.

TI has something particular in its list of characteristics (which I find kind of handy), it teaches deep skating position, which to some extent, is already better than plain 2 dimensional pulling. But I doubt that you're applying this deep skate characteristic though; seems to me that you're skating very close to the surface. Keep in mind that at any time during the skate/catch, your fingers must be lower than the wrist, wrist lower than the elbow, and elbow lower than the shoulder. It is very easy to conceive mentally, but not that easy to apply whilst swimming.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 12-25-2012 at 07:53 PM.
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