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  #1  
Old 09-16-2016
cc311206
 
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Default How to improve?

59 years old, started swimming last year. Self taught. Breast stroke. Decided to learn freestyle this May after reading breast stroke may aggravate keen pain.

I was fortunate to stumble across some TI videos on Youtube and was fascinated with the approach. I watched so many TI videos (Terry, Shinji,...), read up on materials and books, and progressed, self taught, from some one who knew nothing about FS, balance, stroke, streamline, .... to where i am today. In the last several months, few days i left the pool excited feeling i had accomplished something, but there were many more days when frustration filled me. Despite that i continued to come back the following days for more beating (smile).

This is how i do today.

https://youtu.be/XCLZAfjDNsg

TI doesn't seem to be popular here in HK, local TI coaches or swimmers are nowhere to be found, so i can't really get feedback from anyone around.

Appreciate coaches and long times TI swimmers on this forum to give me some pointers on what i am doing right most importantly wrong so i can progress onto my goal of perpetual swimming.

I love TI. it has been pushing me to go to the pool almost EVERY day!

CK
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2016
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Welcome to the TI forum!

Very nice relaxation in the water. Good balance for starters.

I think you can work on taking the pause out of your stroke. When your hand is finished with the underwater stroke, it pauses. Try to keep it moving. If there is any pause it can be when it is fully extended in front of you. You can hold that lead hand as long as possible. As long as you like. But try to keep the stroking hand moving all the way through.

Keep up the good work. It looks like you really enjoy the feeling of the water!
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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I agree with Tomoy. You have a good starting point to add the details to.
Balance good.Legs seem te be driven from the center and not from the knee.
Basic kicktiming good.
There is a solid base emerging where you can refine your shoulder and arm movement on, but dont rush it, because the foundation looks still fragile.
I hope you sense you have a smooth body roll going sometimes, where the arm action sometimes disturbes this smooth continuous movement somewhat.
Tomoy already mentions the start at the exit of the arms, I am more interested in the underwater arm action, and there you are ripping the arm a bit too much with the famous dropped elbow and pulling too much with the hand.
I like to see all the movements nice and smooth. like in a slowmotion. Its OK to extend and hold for a fraction of a second, but dont let it stall the total movement. If your body rolls smooth and slow through the water, your arms also should move smooth and slow through the complete cyle.
Think of moving like a big whale.
Dont think too much about the arm movement if thats hurting your basic main vessel continuous movement, but try to find some awareness of what the arms are doing exactly if you have some free processing space in your brain.
When you are at the max of rotation, feel where the extended arm is relative to your center of gravity.
Is the extended arm outside of your centerline, or inside?
You want the extended arm always outside the centerline, so if you would press on it, it would turn you to a lower roll angle. Your lower arm has a solid connection with the rest of the body. like the keel on a boat. The upper arm is loose and free to move on top of the boat. Running to the bow to dive in, while the rest of the boat continuous its forward movement without distraction from whats happening on deck.
Try to manouvre your outstretched arm about a handwith further to the outside before you start your arm anchoring in the water and imagine you dont have a hand, but only work with pressure under the forearm.
Now your arm goes backward too much under the centerline, the whole action from entry to back should take place more at the outside of the body.

Take your time and dont rush improvements. The current floating rolling base is always your most important starting point.
Fit in the arm action in such a way that it only enhances, and not distract from this base.
You are on your way to a nice looking stroke.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-16-2016 at 10:31 AM.
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  #4  
Old 09-16-2016
cc311206
 
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thanks to both of your feedback.

The reference to a "fragile foundation" is spot on. like yesterday i had an extremely good session: flow was nice, smooth, breathing rotation was steady and easy (over rotated nevertheless which i shall aim to minimize later on), leading arm relaxed, ... everything was in sync and i felt floating and at ease. i even managed to do two lengths without panting for breath.

Today i went back to the pool thinking i had a good foundation to build on, broke thru the panting barrier, and was expecting an even better session. Boy was i disappointed! i fought to stay balance, control body rotation, spear deeper to lift the legs,... and ended up all tensed up and panting for breath after not more than 8 strokes.

As you said i must practice more to get the proper activities imprinted in my memory.

i also find controlling exhale is a major issue for me. my brain power is almost totally dedicated to control exhale and inhale. If i don't do that, my timing is all wrong. Either i rotated to air but couldn't take in enough fresh air (cos i hadn't exhale enough), or i had trouble blowing out continuously while head submerged, in which as my breathing pattern would be interrupted and had to be resumed consciously. But once in a while i could have suddenly relaxed and everything just went on all by itself. Like yestereday when i did tow lengths without panting!! Oh how i wish i could hang on to that, by choice!

I was beaten down today. but i will go back again tomorrow.

Thanks,
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  #5  
Old 09-17-2016
cc311206
 
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Tomoy... before your pointing it out i hardly noticed my recovery arm paused upon exit. Now that i relook the video with that in mind, i clearly see that. Thank you for making me aware. That shouldn't be too hard to correct, i think. (smile)

Zenturtle... some clarifications please:

1. "... in the underwater arm action, and there you are ripping the arm a bit too much with the famous dropped elbow and pulling too much with the hand." Are you saying my underwater arm starts to move into catch too early before the leading arm gets extended?

2. "your arm goes backward too much under the centerline, the whole action from entry to back should take place more at the outside of the body." Do you mean the path of my underwater arm is too close to the body?

thanks
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Quote:
1. "... in the underwater arm action, and there you are ripping the arm a bit too much with the famous dropped elbow and pulling too much with the hand." Are you saying my underwater arm starts to move into catch too early before the leading arm gets extended?
If you wait too long in extension you have to move your arm to the extended position to the catch position in a very short available time frame.
You go to rotation and want the arm in a good anchor position.
If that arm is still in extended position, the bus is leaving without you.
You try to get the arm in anchor positon during that rotation, but then its too late.
Tomoy says you can extend the arm in front time as long as you like, but than this happens ususally
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bK5O67IuPYw
(look at the first 2 boys, and at 3min 53 you see an extremely exagerated example of this problematic kneekick-pull action)
Very patient catch, body slows down, suddenly they rember to pull, and they pull with the hand, and give a kneekick at the same time. The arms slips through the water like its air. There is no traction with this technique and that alters your swimming perception deeply. Its the opposite of what you want to achieve.(is locking the arm and move your body as much as possible from that anchor)
You are doing better than this at the moment, but your arm action is dangerously close to this action.
Once you go this route its difficult to snap out of it.

You now have a good floating long foundation and fairly smooth stroke going with some hickup at the back where Tomoy is talking about, together with a small hickup at the front where my concern lies.
It takes only a relative small step to lessen these hickups at the front and rear to move to a very nice relaxed stroke from where you are now.
Move your arm into an anchoring position gradually right after your extension. So its not extend....wait....wait.... wait..Oh Damn, I have to anchor now. hurry , hurry, hurry to anchor postion,
but.... extend ...move slowly a bit down and out with hand and wrist....hold the elbow a bit out and high...move slowly further down following the pinky reaching over a ball of water....feel yourself moving into a good anchor with that underwater arm..spear and roll to the other side while you move your body forward from that good anchor at the same time.
So something like this, instead of the other example
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KILRRbCzwUE
So you are going earlier to catch , but without force, only with precise and gentle movements. Not by waiting and ripping.

this TI guy has in general some good TI stuff. You can look for other ``secrets`` on his channel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS_3Hg_hezg
The whole timing has a lot to do with it too.

In my view (and others) the first 2 guys in the first link I posted lack rhythm, and thats an important thing in swimming.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-eluWpuh2o
In some parts of your footage you look pretty smooth, close to a relaxed swimming machine almost, so you know how to do it. Give it some more time and with the right focus it can move in the right direction.

Quote:
2. "your arm goes backward too much under the centerline, the whole action from entry to back should take place more at the outside of the body." Do you mean the path of my underwater arm is too close to the body?
Its hard to see from above water, but it looks your whole arm action can move towards wider tracks. The entry looks about right in front of the shoulder. Then you seem to pull too much with the hand and it all looks a bit too compact and narrow.

Your recovery could also be more elbow lead, so you got the elbow position muscle memory already there before extension and go back to this memory under water.
You could do the painting a line in the water drill some more.(drag the hand through the water in a line towards the entry point during recovery)

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-17-2016 at 11:02 AM.
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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I think an anatomical explanation of what a "dropped elbow" is might help here. Extend your left arm over your head with your palm facing forward. Now bend your arm so that the forearm remains vertical and the palm continues to face forward. That is what is called a "dropped elbow" because, if you do it when you lie horizontally in the water, your elbow will go down. Now extend your left arm again over your head with the palm facing forward. This time, try to rotate the arm so the the palm faces outward. When you do this, don't just rotate the hand at the wrist; rather rotate the entire arm, so that the arm is turning in your shoulder. As you do this, you'll notice that the point of your elbow also rotates so that it is facing outward. Now bend your elbow again. If the elbow is rotated outward when you bend the arm, you should find that your elbow doesn't drop, but instead moves somewhat to the side.

The dropped elbow is a standard stroke error, because it results in your hand and forearm pushing water down instead of back. The second position I just described probably feels more difficult to execute and you might feel as if it is straining your shoulder somewhat. Even so, this position allows you to push water backwards instead of downwards when you bend your arm. The problem with this position is that it strains your shoulder, and this is why a lot of swimmers develop shoulder problems. In order to avoid straining your shoulder, you must rotate your torso so that your your left shoulder and shoulder blade are moving back at the same time as you are bending your arm. This will enable you to push water back without dropping your shoulder or straining the joint. However, doing this correctly now involves a coordinated body motion of your torso, shoulder and arm, and this is why it is more difficult to learn.

This is one example of why you hear people saying over and over that swimming freestyle should be a "whole body" motion.

If you go back to your video and look carefully, I think you will see some signs that your elbow is dropping at the beginning of your stroke. I suggest looking at this video, which illustrates all of this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDmQiHQ8mW8
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  #8  
Old 09-18-2016
cc311206
 
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Armed with the new knowledge of "dropped elbow" , i went for my pool session.

Keeping that elbow high is indeed as you said very tough. i noticed i had to trigger an earlier rotation of my torso, as i shaped my lead arm for anchoring, to raise (or keep) the elbow high as i pull.

i must have overexerted myself in the process, and had to cut short my pool session feeling something wrong with the right shoulder!

Sad our body gets so fragile as we age (sigh).
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  #9  
Old 09-18-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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take it easy. Dont pull or push back until the arm is about shoulder height.
(patient catch)
Taking the catch late relative to bodyroll is safer for your shoulders.
Dont focus too much on the perfect execution, just be aware of hickups in your arm movement and keep everything a tad wider.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-18-2016 at 01:14 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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I'm feeling bad that the advice I gave you messed up your shoulder! ZT's advice is good. Experiment some with waiting for your body to rotate before starting your catch, and start these experiments intentionally waiting longer than you think is necessary. Then you can slowly back off, if necessary.

If you are a young competitive swimmer, there is a narrow window between waiting too long (called a catch-up stroke) and pushing the limits of your shoulder, which is why so many young swimmers get in trouble. For us old people, who aren't swimming competitively, the catch-up stroke is a great way to get a feel for this. The idea is to wait until the opposing arm is actually up front before you start your stroking arm back, so there is a period when both arms are up front. This gives you time to rotate your shoulder into a good position, and it should feel EXTREMELY comfortable. If you are feeling any discomfort at all in that shoulder, I wouldn't pursue what you are doing. Good swim technique should be possible without straining the shoulder at all.

Good luck!
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