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  #21  
Old 10-18-2011
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default HEC (High Elbow Catch)

I've seen a lot of swimmers (and coaches) who dismiss HEC as unattainable for mere mortals. It can be done by anybody. Really. It's a question of timing- if you're trying to move into that position without the assistance of the hips or striking arm, you're missing a big piece. The HEC is possible for most people when they initiate rotation using something besides pulling early, and many TI devotees still haven't truly weaned themselves off of pulling themselves onto the next side (even though they have done it correctly in drills).

To respond to Lawrence, the question is not just how good the grip is, but also how long someone uses that grip for propulsion and what muscles are accessed. My high elbow catch starts its perpendicular access near the front of my head, and increases in effectiveness as the arm comes down and through. By going with the diamond position, you've eliminated the least effective part of the HEC, but it still is quite an effective part.
A true high elbow catch is based much more in the lats and connected core muscles, and many people are unable to find this catch because they try to twist the shoulder to attain it. The videos I just shot with Shinji should help some people in getting more understanding on how rotation should trigger it.
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  #22  
Old 10-18-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Ok, there we go again ;-)

Can't refrain from giving some comments, sorry in advance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
...
I don't agree with the first. In an extreme case, the elbow could be at the surface and the forearm pointing to the side wall, at 90 degrees to the direction of travel. The swiping arm would then hit you in the head as you performed the catch. Even if the forearm pointed slightly lower, intuition suggests the catch would be weak (your stroke would be a sort of paddle steamer action). So I think the direction in which the forearm points is significant. ...
Yes, the position the forearm is pointing to is important for the stroke itself - but not for the propulsion, strictly speaking. For propulsion the only thing that matters is a position perpendicular to the swimming direction. In practice of course you cannot really separate those two, but this is academic anyway, isn't it?

I basically agree with what you say, Lawrence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
Haschu, I don't agree with the mirror exercise or that an "elbow-forward-of-shoulder-forearm-parallel-to-aft-wall catch" (efosfptoawc?) is bad for mere mortals. It should not hurt or put any strain on the shoulder. If it hurts, you're doing it wrong and you should stop.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDave View Post
I've seen a lot of swimmers (and coaches) who dismiss HEC as unattainable for mere mortals. It can be done by anybody. Really. ...
Ok, this HEC or EVF is relative.

Let me elaborate on the mirror example: Stand in front of the mirror. Rotate until you are in a 45 degree position to the mirror, right side closer to the mirror. Stick your right arm straight up in the air. Now, don't think about swimming, EVF, HEC,..., just move your forearm down as if you have a hinge in your elbow. Your hand probably lands on your head or on your nose. That's an easy movement. But not what we want in freestyle. Now try to stick the elbow up up in the air, and move the forearm - in that 90 degree position - so that it points directly to the mirror. Still keep the elbow as much up as possible. What happens? You have to do an internal rotation of the upper arm (=shoulder) and you bring your shoulder in a rather strange position. That's what I mean. I bet you cannot keep your upper arm straight in the air and let your forarm point to the mirror, all that somewhere way above your head. Or in other words if we shot videos of ourselves we do not look like Grant Hackett or Ian Thorpe in their catch position. That's all what I mean. Of course we can come as close as we can.

BTW, KK, I started to check my arm position very early in my get-the-crazy-idea-to-learn-freestyle-at-advanced-age (GTCITLFAAA) process, and amongst all those flaws I have in my stroke my HEC is not too bad. And it doesn't hurt, otherwise I would stop it immediately, there is no doubt about that. But I am unable to bring my arm in a position like Grant Hacket, Ian Thorpe et al are able to. Don't forget KPN (Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen) she's got the most extreme EVF position I have ever seen, almost frightening.
And also, BTW, that eleven year old has a shoulder flexibility than I don't have - maybe you, I don't know - and check her out again when she's seventeen: she will have already lost some of it.

This here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
There is NO WAY I could have learned it without a coach.
THERE IS NO ONE INTERESTED IN SUCH REMARKS HERE!
I DON'T HAVE A COACH AND HAVE TO DO ALL BY MYSELF BUUUUUUU컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴HHHHHHHHHHHH :-((((


PS. For the records, peace and pancakes: The last sentence was not serious and just the frustrated outcry of an uncoached unnoticed lonesome pool wall clinger. Call me Lucky Luke.


Thanks for having compassion with me ... ;-)


PS the second: the PS the first was also not serious except the statement that the last sentences was not serious.


Hang on in there...
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  #23  
Old 10-19-2011
aerogramma aerogramma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDave View Post
The videos I just shot with Shinji should help some people in getting more understanding on how rotation should trigger it.
thanks for the freebie dave, much appreciated
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  #24  
Old 10-19-2011
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
Ok, there we go again ;-)

THERE IS NO ONE INTERESTED IN SUCH REMARKS HERE!
I DON'T HAVE A COACH AND HAVE TO DO ALL BY MYSELF BUUUUUUU컴컴컴컴컴컴컴컴HHHHHHHHHHHH :-((((

PS. For the records, peace and pancakes: The last sentence was not serious and just the frustrated outcry of an uncoached unnoticed lonesome pool wall clinger. Call me Lucky Luke.

Thanks for having compassion with me ... ;-)

PS the second: the PS the first was also not serious except the statement that the last sentences was not serious.

Hang on in there...
Good point. Maybe you could find a makeshift coach (I'll get to that shortly).

Here's why I said I couldn't have learned this without a coach. I'm trying to hold my arm at an unnatural 3D angle. While at the same time rotating my hips, moving my other arm, kicking, and turning my head. In a weightless environment. With no mirror. While my body is already at a strange angle (horizontal on one plane, at a 45-degree angle in another).

The most articulate, best swimmer on earth would never be able to explain that to me in a way that I could absorb. I've done myself *plenty* of harm trying to follow written instructions for simpler aspects of swimming.

As long as I'm *trying* to do it, I think I'm doing it right. So I need a video of myself to convince that stubborn, subconscious part of my brain that I need to change. And, I need someone to watch me and correct me.

For a makeshift coach, maybe you could find a friend at the pool who is doing it right and is willing to help you. If you find a video you like (the one Dave mentioned sounds promising), you can look for someone whose catch looks similar.

A friend from my Masters team took that video I mentioned. I took one of him on the same day. He was *very* surprised to see that his elbow was dropping. The next day, he was trying to practice keeping it high, but it was still dropping exactly the same way. So, I swam next to him and pushed his elbow into place a few times. I'm (obviously) not a coach or even a great swimmer. But, that still helped him.
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  #25  
Old 10-19-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDave View Post
I've seen a lot of swimmers (and coaches) who dismiss HEC as unattainable for mere mortals. It can be done by anybody. Really. It's a question of timing- if you're trying to move into that position without the assistance of the hips or striking arm, you're missing a big piece. The HEC is possible for most people when they initiate rotation using something besides pulling early, and many TI devotees still haven't truly weaned themselves off of pulling themselves onto the next side (even though they have done it correctly in drills).

To respond to Lawrence, the question is not just how good the grip is, but also how long someone uses that grip for propulsion and what muscles are accessed. My high elbow catch starts its perpendicular access near the front of my head, and increases in effectiveness as the arm comes down and through. By going with the diamond position, you've eliminated the least effective part of the HEC, but it still is quite an effective part.
A true high elbow catch is based much more in the lats and connected core muscles, and many people are unable to find this catch because they try to twist the shoulder to attain it. The videos I just shot with Shinji should help some people in getting more understanding on how rotation should trigger it.
Dave, that all sounds sensible to me and I'm not sure we're disagreeing. What you say about using something other than pulling early to initiate a HEC is something I have expressed as 'forgetting about the lead arm' in looking for a good catch, and focusing instead on reaching fully forwards with the other (recovering) arm. That's how I get a consistently effective 'hold' or 'passive pull' on the water rather than an active, painful and slipping pull on it.

If there's any difference between us I suspect it's that I don't think keeping the elbow at the surface is easy for most, although it sounds from what you say as if you don't think that's where the action is.

Is the video you mention available for viewing?
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  #26  
Old 10-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Is the video you mention available for viewing?
http://distancedave.com/
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  #27  
Old 10-19-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Thanks, KK, for your explanations. And the effort to try to get me coached, I appreciate, I think it's kind of sweet.

Anyway. I think it is perfectly ok to have a coach, to learn from it, to write about it and do such kind of remarks. The other side of the coin is that it might not be particulaurly inspiring if you have no access to a coach yourself. But that is not really your concern. Normally swimming is not the center of my universe, but if I put on that slightly egocentric and claustrophobic 'I-want-to-be-agreat-swimmer' hat, I can run into some frustration at times. But that is my frustration, and it has nothing to do with you. That's why I joked around with it a bit. Just my way to deal with it.
In short I don't want you to worry about what you write in this forum or not. Don't refrain from posting, please. Even if bad people like me try to make jokes with it.

About the makeshift coach, when I decided to learn freestyle about two yoears ago I looked around for information and ended at TI. Simply because the TI concept made sense. From the very beginning I never had any doubt that it would work out. What I saw in the pools where I was swimming did not make sense, and at a very early stage I decided not to seek any advice from those swimmers around me. This hasn't changed. Usually when I see a swimmer with a good stroke I find the usual hardwareshop of paddles, pull-buoy, etc at the brim of the pool. And I never tried to incorperate anything into my swimming what I read about, I always relied on videos. The only part that I did not adopted from TI is exactly this EVF/HEC business, since there was no information about it from TI. I even opened a thread about it. Also I have only limited time, and I have difficulties with regular appointments. So I am left with my feeling which usually deceives me (as a matter of fact it is not the feeling itself but my interpretation of it, but even that improves) and a quick video shot from the start block since I have no waterproof camera. Which is always shocking and enlightening at the same time. I am absolutely fine with swimming alone, I like to be alone - not lonesome, just alone. Which is a nice state. I think - in fact I think particularly when swimming for longer distances and particularly in OW - you are kind of alone anyway when you are swimming, even when you swim with friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
...trying to follow written [instructions] for simpler aspects of swimming. ...
Got you. I am unable to follow this written [description]:

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
... I'm trying to hold my arm at an unnatural 3D angle. ... While my body is already at a strange angle (horizontal on one plane, at a 45-degree angle in another).
( Not that I plan to try that, still...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
I'm (obviously) not ... a great swimmer.
Yes, yes, there is some understatement here. I don't know of course whether you are a great swimmer or not, but you sure are quite a swimmer.
I told you before, you will become famous.
9 minutes off the 1500 time - that is huge!

Never mind, thanks again, and hang on in there ...

Last edited by haschu33 : 10-20-2011 at 10:04 AM.
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  #28  
Old 10-20-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Pursuit of EVF/HEC was worthwhile for me but it's not the grail

I'm obviously joining this discussion after it's been pretty well sorted out (I've been traveling from New Paltz to Istanbul or sightseeing/recovering from travel/sleeping for the last 36 hrs) but for what it's worth one of the more encouraging things I observed in video of Sun Yang setting his 1500m world record of historic stroke efficiency (he advanced the efficiency standard by 13 percent while advancing the time standard by a fraction of 1 percent) with a relatively 'ordinary' HEC or EVF. At least ordinary by comparison to others like Ous Mellouli and Grant Hackett.
The great attention long paid to this aspect of the stroke - starting with Counsilman's user-friendly and kinesthetic phrase "over the barrel" and progressing to the more-technical (and thus slightly off-putting IMHO) EVF and associated acronyms is due to the fact that, as far back as Johnny Weismuller and the Japanese swimmers who dominated the longer freestyles in the 1930s, world-class freestylers had been observed to maintain higher elbow positions -- leading to more-vertical forearms, for more of the stroke than is common among lesser swimmers.
The benefit is fairly obvious - better purchase earlier in the stroke, and more water pressure directed toward the rear - rather than diverted in any other direction.

The caveat is that most of those observed doing this were simply examples of natural selection. For most of us, swimming this way is about as natural or likely as dunking a basketball (if we're not unusually tall) or riding in the Kentucky Derby (if we're not unusually short).

For those of us who are more ordinary in our physical makeup, the question becomes "Is there sufficient benefit or upside to working on this to justify the time and effort?" The answer is
1) Yes, if the Kaizen opportunity promises some moments/hours/years of satisfying engagement -- and you've exploited most of the more fundamental Kaizen opportunities in Balance, Stability, Streamlining.
2) Yes. If you're an achievement-oriented swimmer and feel that this particular technique may be critical to a level of performance you might not achieve otherwise. Video of my stroke still shows my EVF to be very much in the ordinary range, but muscle-sense and water-sense tell me I've made a significant improvement in the past 6 years, and I'm convinced the 55-59 age records I set in 1-mile and 2-mile cable swims would have been beyond my reach without improving my catch from what it had been for the previous 40 years. AND the unblinking attention it took me to make this improvement has always been deeply satisfying.

What we learn from Sun Yang is that Balance and Streamlining are still far more important than Propulsion.
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  #29  
Old 10-20-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post

What we learn from Sun Yang is that Balance and Streamlining are still far more important than Propulsion.
And when Sun Yang breaks the world record for the 200m and the 10,000 metre the rest of the world may learn that too :)
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  #30  
Old 10-20-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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I read that Sun Yang will be swimming the 200m at London 2012 as well as his more usual longer distances. You can't help suspecting Lochte and Phelps are looking over their shoulders.
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