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  #1  
Old 10-15-2009
vol vol is offline
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Default How to make a good starting stroke?

How can one establish a high hip and buoyant body during the first stroke? If I sink in the beginning then the rest of the lap is spoiled. I would sink even though I kick off the wall in completely horizontal position.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2009
upside-down upside-down is offline
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I'd recommend hand-lead and skating drills.
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  #3  
Old 10-19-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
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When you push off are you sure your head and neck are and aligned and relaxed along with the rest of the body ? What happens when you do superman glide ?


Dave
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  #4  
Old 10-20-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vol View Post
If I sink in the beginning then the rest of the lap is spoiled.
Is it...perfectionism? O.o

I've heard a few different suggestions. Don't breathe on the first stroke or three. Stroke with the arm that is lowest first. Don't surface at a steep angle.

Jason Lezak seems to sink every other stroke and he does well. hehe
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  #5  
Old 10-20-2009
vol vol is offline
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Yes my body is perfectly aligned and relaxed during the kick off. The problem begins when I start leaving that position, starting to pull: I would not know how to properly use the muscles of each part of my body (legs, shoulders, core, etc.) to move forward in a balanced way while keeping great momentum for the next stroke. The arm-leg coordination would be totally messed up and I would swim in a twisted way, my body like a spiral, if you can imagine that :(. About half times I start well, the other half totally messed up. I haven't figured out the exact reason why sometimes I do well and sometimes not. Thinking about this too consciously results in more bad starts. :(

Edit: Just saw your reply, shuumai :) It seems the root of the issue is not how to move this or that, but how to use the muscles, how to use the force. It's not enough to just kick off in a perfectly streamlined and relaxed position: if you don't use the muscles in the right way, the whole stroke turns out to be very lame, lifeless, without momentum or a clear tendency.

Last edited by vol : 10-20-2009 at 03:26 AM.
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  #6  
Old 10-20-2009
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Hi vol,

That sounds to me that you don't have a problem with starting but with your strokes. And it is a balance problem. And you can - maybe - maintain good strokes if you happen to be in a balanced and streamlined position, but not regain the balance once you lost it.
I think being perfectly aligned and relaxed during kick off is good for streamlining but doesn't necessarily mean good balance. If I do Superman-glides and if my balance happens to be very good - which it is not always the case - then my feet do not sink even when the glide comes to a full stop. This doesn't come on it's own, it needs to be trained.

I think, you have more experience in swimming than me, so my humble advice is this: go back to drills. I believe it is difficult to correct some errors in strokes while doing the strokes. Too much to focus on at the same time. And the more often you do it 'wrong', you imprint a 'wrong' pattern which needs to be corrected later. Balance problems are kind of basic problems that undermine everything that follows.

And I think to have the 'Easy Freestyle' DVD is indispensable. I followed those drills step by step without leaving out on any and that always brings me to correct strokes. And I always look for a good balanced position while I am drilling. Even if my speed in drilling becomes very slow, so that I am just hovering above the tiles, I still try to maintain the balance. Which is possible. And I am drilling from that balanced position only.
What I mean is the drills in the 'Easy Freestyle' DVD are such, that if I follow them I inevitably end up doing correct strokes that have their basic movement in hip driven rotation. After drilling, when I do full strokes, I do not have to look for 'correct' strokes, I do them correctly automatically, and I am balanced. I then have to look for rhythm, integrate breathing, continuous movements etc.

So, going back to drills, run through all of them, is what I do when full strokes don't work out.

I don't know if this was helpful, hope it is...
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  #7  
Old 10-20-2009
madvet madvet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vol View Post
How can one establish a high hip and buoyant body during the first stroke? If I sink in the beginning then the rest of the lap is spoiled. I would sink even though I kick off the wall in completely horizontal position.
You might be waiting too long to take that first stroke. Do it before you lose your momentum.

If you are too deep in the water when that happens, you need to practice rising to the surface sooner without losing your streamline.
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  #8  
Old 10-20-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Do you flutter kick into your first stroke?
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  #9  
Old 10-20-2009
vol vol is offline
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Thank you so much for the replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
it is a balance problem. And you can - maybe - maintain good strokes if you happen to be in a balanced and streamlined position, but not regain the balance once you lost it.
Yes, your are probably right. I usually don't lose balance in the middle of a lap. Once I have started well, then it's pretty much guaranteed a good lap. But if the start went wrong, I can't get back the good balance. For example, after a bad start, and I kick earlier than supposed to; then I try to hold on the kick to wait for the right moment to kick, but it doesn't work! It seems the waves created by the (failed) initial stroke has its own inertia and that brings my body along against my will :(

I'll do more drills as you suggest and hope they will help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
You might be waiting too long to take that first stroke. Do it before you lose your momentum.

If you are too deep in the water when that happens, you need to practice rising to the surface sooner without losing your streamline.
Yes, the two points you are pointing out--waiting too long and started too deep in the water--are indeed two of my problems. Interesting thing is that my backstroke start is much better, so sometimes I compare and try to learn from that, ha ha. I think most people do it the other way round ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by shuumai View Post
Do you flutter kick into your first stroke?
No, I don't kick at all. As I mentioned in another thread, after getting used to 2 beat kick, I've lost my skills to 6 beat kick or flutter kick, my legs are kind of slower ;) Do you mean I should or should not flutter kick into the first stroke?

I seem to see another reason for my start-gone-wrong: When I start the first stroke, I pull my right hand. At this moment I think it's important that the left hand and legs and torso keep as still as possible, but I would often engage various muscles in such a way that they don't work in harmony with my right hand's pull, so the result: after the kick off and initial nice glide, as soon as I start the pull, the body immediately slows down and different parts of the body work against each other. So I think, although I am relaxed during the kick off and glide, I tensed up when beginning to pull.

I'll work on all your suggestions and report any progress :) Thanks again!

Last edited by vol : 10-20-2009 at 09:03 PM.
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  #10  
Old 10-21-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vol View Post
Yes, the two points you are pointing out--waiting too long and started too deep in the water--are indeed two of my problems.

No, I don't kick at all.
Based on being too deep, waiting too long, and not kicking at all, I'd suggest coming off the wall with a flutter kick. Once you reach the surface, switch to the 2-beat kick.

What I seem to do is push off the wall with a slight downward angle. Then I try to use a slight upward angle along with buoyancy and a kick to propel me up into the first stroke.
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