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  #1  
Old 11-09-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Default 6 elements of the stroke cycle

This is just me thinking out loud and hoping to create some comment or discussion.

Thought no.1 - If my arms are following a stroke cycle that is split into six equal parts (by time) then by gaining consistency in the timing of these parts my stroke will get smoother?

Thought no.2 - By splitting the cycle into 6 I get a symmetrical relationship between my two arms which encourages my brain to imprint consistency,
because I will only have 3 pairs of positions to concern myself with?

This is how I see the 6 positions (graphics attached borrowed from virtual-swim)

1. Spearing hand is fully extended and straight
2. The elbow has cocked to allow the catch movement to take place
3. The lower arm is in optimum catch position ready to strike
4. the pull phase has happened
5. the hand clears the water in recovery
6. the end of the recovery just before the hand re-enters the water.

Now why I like the pairs that result

1 and 4. The spearing hand reaches maximum extension just as the pulling hand is about to leave the water creating an excellent streamlined position. both arms are in their straightest postition throughout the whole cycle.

2 and 5. the spearing arm makes a subtle movement so that the arm takes on a more bowed shape at the same time the recovering arm is making a similar movement in the first stage of the recovery

3 and 6 again a nice pair, both arms have a relaxed 'marionette' quality, one in the water and the other at the end of recovery.

Until recently, and probably because I think this is against classic TI technique I have not been giving stage 2, the elbow pop prior to catch enough time or thought of it as a separate phase, preferring to merge it in with stage 3.



I have a feeling that this can be a cause of stroke breakdown over either distance or higher stroke rate as my outstretched spearing arm gets too comfy that it resists forming the catch movement if the elbow isn't preprepared?

position 6 is the same as position 3, no more attachments allowed:(
Attached Images
File Type: jpg position 1.jpg (5.9 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg position 2.jpg (6.4 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg position 3.jpg (5.1 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg position 4.jpg (4.4 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg position 5.jpg (7.4 KB, 15 views)
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I like the thought process and the pairing ,but beign overly focused on hitting stage 1 can be counterintuitively harmful for overall stroke .

Spearing to a straight arm is indeed the most streamlined, but hte next movement of forming and initiating the catch from a straight arm position creates opportunities to strain the shoulder and push down ont he water, UNLESS you are an elite level swimmer with 12 year old girl flexibility or a lifetime of swim training flexibility in the shoulder & scapula.

But like I said, aside from that, I like thse ideas. I would blend stages 1-3 into more of a chunked stroke thought to the point I try to spear straight to hte relaxed draped catch position intitially.

Because my tendency is to spear to positoin #1 (because it feels right), trying to hit position #3 doesnt happen in reality, but by visualiing that that's where I'm going, I actually get a much stronger catch and hold more water when propelling...while giving up nothing in streamlining because I maintain momentum better.

Another counter-intutive miracle of TI!
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Great thoughts, and nice input from Coach Suzanne.

As far as I'm concerned, and it won't be a surprise I guess, I tend to time the stroke cycle in relation to body rotation, and in relation to body rotation alone. That's because as you now know, I really teach inside-out, starting from isolated body rotation, adding an arm, etc...

So for me it's

1. Whilst body side goes down, enter/spear
2. When the body side reaches its lowest point, catch must be taken
3. When the body side goes backup, it's mandatory that the hand begins its active pulling
4. At some point, that hand will exit and recover, but the brain focus will already be on the other hand which has just speared. So no mental focus on arm recovery

I guess I only have 3 phases then...

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 11-09-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2012
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
I try to spear straight to the relaxed draped catch position intitially.
Ditto here. In fact, after spending several years focused on spearing to #1 (the X/Y coordinates as we sometimes say) in the last year or two I've focused more on:
Ear Hop
Mail Slot
Drop into 'draped arm' position.

While I spent lots of time practicing these as discrete Focal Points, my aim is to blend them -- or chunk them -- into a single motion that feels seamless.

In fact, at times I strive to get into the Draped Arm position as my arm exits the water at the end of one stroke, and already be set up for the optimal catch position -- maintaining that throughout recovery.

Having said that, I think there's an important caveat. The 'doubly-chunked' skill I've just described is a very advanced one. It probably takes 100s of hours of laser-focused FP practice to master. I'm not sure I could have gotten to it if I'd not spent some years -- 100s of hours -- focused on Andy's Position #1.

Elite athletes, in contrast, seem able to Just Do It, without all those highly intentional intermediate steps. I honestly feel I'm more fortunate in having to acquire that skill via arduous, and very scripted, learning. It's given me countless hours of Flow states and an enormous sense of satisfaction one only gets from hard-won gains.

There's a great quote from Abraham Lincoln (the greatest aphorism-generator of all US Presidents) that goes like this "I learn slowly but well. I wouldn't have it any other way." That's the sense of it, not an exact quote. I love it.
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Last edited by terry : 11-09-2012 at 11:33 PM.
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2012
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
I guess I only have 3 phases then...
The fewer phases the better. But it seems we need to start with more and boil them down to fewer via arduous practice.
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2012
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Default Six Degress of Shinji

Slightly out of this context, but maybe interesting for some ...

Six Frames of Shinji
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  #7  
Old 11-10-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Great thoughts, and nice input from Coach Suzanne.

As far as I'm concerned, and it won't be a surprise I guess, I tend to time the stroke cycle in relation to body rotation, and in relation to body rotation alone. That's because as you now know, I really teach inside-out, starting from isolated body rotation, adding an arm, etc...

So for me it's

1. Whilst body side goes down, enter/spear
2. When the body side reaches its lowest point, catch must be taken
3. When the body side goes backup, it's mandatory that the hand begins its active pulling
4. At some point, that hand will exit and recover, but the brain focus will already be on the other hand which has just speared. So no mental focus on arm recovery

I guess I only have 3 phases then...
Elegant, Charles!
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
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

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  #8  
Old 11-10-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post

Having said that, I think there's an important caveat. The 'doubly-chunked' skill I've just described is a very advanced one. It probably takes 100s of hours of laser-focused FP practice to master. I'm not sure I could have gotten to it if I'd not spent some years -- 100s of hours -- focused on Andy's Position #1.
Nice to hear you say that Terry...because I was very proud of my "position #1" having finally figured out how to get there. Now that I know how to get there, Getting to the next step requires more arduous focus, lol.

Sometime with you in the past 6 months (I forget which workshop), I did the 'swimming treadmill' while you did the helping hands. You consistenly grabbed both wrists of mine and pointed them what felt like aggressively downward and I realized just how "position #1" I'd become accustomed to.

Then in Windsor, Mat gave some focal points on the final day (you were on your way to the airport) and pointed out that when he formed the right catch shape , he felt resistance on the front of his hand and forearm which felt "wrong", yet it resulted in 1 less stroke per length at the same effort level...counter-intuitively improving his DPS.

The third whammy came from me when I was in Tracey's endless pool, with Mat coaching me. Tracey gave me a focal point of "Over the bonnet". I was swimming freestyle, looking down at hte mirror on the bottom so #1 I could see my catch and #2, I could see mat's hand at the surface giving me a target for entry. That was the coolest part. I couldn't see mat but due to the mirror was able to see where he wanted me to enter, which allowed me to create the catch...and I spent less effort..actually backed off...in order to stay in the same spot in the pool.
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
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

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  #9  
Old 11-10-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Elegant, Charles!
I'm glad you like.

These days I've been struck by a few occurrences of some of my athletes really making a major leap after been told the thing I'm dying to get them to do, explained differently by someone else. So I'm always open to other classifications.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
While I spent lots of time practicing these as discrete Focal Points, my aim is to blend them -- or chunk them -- into a single motion that feels seamless.

In fact, at times I strive to get into the Draped Arm position as my arm exits the water at the end of one stroke, and already be set up for the optimal catch position -- maintaining that throughout recovery.
Certainly the best way to allow for more flexible stroke, one that won't fall apart as rate increase becomes necessary.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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This is all helping, thanks.

Charles - to echo your own thoughts its good to see the same thing expressed a different way. You have 3 phases on each side so its the same as my 6 but with the 'trigger' coming from a different part of the body. I also agree that 4, 5 and 6 (that which happens behind the head) just happen so we can keep our focus on the front.

Suzanne - agree blending the stroke is the goal but I needed to deconstruct the elements in order to try to iron out the my own kink (catch initiating on breathing)

The rub with swimming is its too interesting - its having a detrimental effect on the other triathlon disciplines as I keep opting for the pool instead of the bike or treadmill.
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