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  #1  
Old 12-26-2014
Josefish Josefish is offline
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Default The four strokes question

Hi guys,

Merry Christmas to all of you, little fishes ;)

I want to ask one question, mainly to coaches, but feel free to give your opinios:

Do you think that mastering the four strokes is good in order to improve your crawl ?
If so, why ?

Regards

Josefish
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  #2  
Old 12-26-2014
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josefish View Post
Hi guys,

Merry Christmas to all of you, little fishes ;)

I want to ask one question, mainly to coaches, but feel free to give your opinios:

Do you think that mastering the four strokes is good in order to improve your crawl ?
If so, why ?

Regards

Josefish
I'll put in my answer and that is, you don't need to master the other four strokes at all to be great at freestyle. That's not to say that you shouldn't learn the other four - there are very common elements to all 4, as well as stroke specific elements to each. If you are good at freestyle's details - balance, streamline especially - the other 3 will come a lot easier to you.

I learned the other 3 after I learned freestyle. However, in the past, i had poor balance and streamline and struggled through the other 3. But once I had better control of balance and streamline via freestyle, the other 3 came much more naturally because i was comfortable in the water - now i just had to move my body and limbs slightly differently to work each stroke.
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2014
Danny Danny is offline
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I'm an old guy, and I don't do all 4 of the basic strokes, but I had been fascinated with butterfly for a long time, so I started teaching myself a number of years ago. It has been a long haul, and my butterfly is still not as good as my freestyle, but I get an enormous amount of pleasure from it and I make a point of swimming several hundred yds butterfly (dispersed in 25 yd intervals) in every workout.

Does it help my freestlye? I guess one could turn the question around and ask if freestyle helps my butterfly. I would liken it to learning foreign languages. I think with each successive language you learn the task of learning them becomes easier, even though the direct connections between the languages are not always apparent.

There has been a number of times where younger folk on this forum have complained that they are so bogged down in learning freestyle technique that they feel they are at times sacrificing a good workout. When I suggest that they take up butterfly, an almost universal reaction seems to be "My back can't handle that." I think this is a serious misconception and most people can learn butterfly without any back problems, if they only apply the right technique. My favorite website for getting started on this is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QRElrG-NtQ
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  #4  
Old 12-27-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
I'm an old guy, and I don't do all 4 of the basic strokes, but I had been fascinated with butterfly for a long time, so I started teaching myself a number of years ago. It has been a long haul, and my butterfly is still not as good as my freestyle, but I get an enormous amount of pleasure from it and I make a point of swimming several hundred yds butterfly (dispersed in 25 yd intervals) in every workout.

Does it help my freestlye? I guess one could turn the question around and ask if freestyle helps my butterfly. I would liken it to learning foreign languages. I think with each successive language you learn the task of learning them becomes easier, even though the direct connections between the languages are not always apparent.

There has been a number of times where younger folk on this forum have complained that they are so bogged down in learning freestyle technique that they feel they are at times sacrificing a good workout. When I suggest that they take up butterfly, an almost universal reaction seems to be "My back can't handle that." I think this is a serious misconception and most people can learn butterfly without any back problems, if they only apply the right technique. My favorite website for getting started on this is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QRElrG-NtQ
Well, I'm an old guy, too. My priority has been to devote all my resources to learning freestyle to minimise my disadvantage in the first Triathlon of the year in May. It's been kinda slow going, even though I have been vary patient, so one train of thought might be don't waste precious time diverting your attention. But maybe I should try some parallel thread just to mix up things.

Would it be unwise to try to learn butterfly on my own without a live coach? I actually have good upper body strength, and I am very light, so in theory it could work much better for me (because, it seems to me that it is basically brute force, mostly up and down, rather than being particularly efficient) than free style has been, largely because I have not yet successfully tapped into the efficiency thing, which is largely what free style is all about.
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  #5  
Old 12-27-2014
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
Well, I'm an old guy, too. My priority has been to devote all my resources to learning freestyle to minimise my disadvantage in the first Triathlon of the year in May. It's been kinda slow going, even though I have been vary patient, so one train of thought might be don't waste precious time diverting your attention. But maybe I should try some parallel thread just to mix up things.

Would it be unwise to try to learn butterfly on my own without a live coach? I actually have good upper body strength, and I am very light, so in theory it could work much better for me (because, it seems to me that it is basically brute force, mostly up and down, rather than being particularly efficient) than free style has been, largely because I have not yet successfully tapped into the efficiency thing, which is largely what free style is all about.
Maybe I should say that I don't compete in races. So if you are trying to prepare for an event, you're under time pressure and maybe you don't need to take on new (and at first frustrating) challenges.

I have to tell you that technique seems to play an even more critical role in butterfly than I think it does in freestyle. I'm not a real talented swimmer, and it takes me longer to learn things than a lot of other people on this forum, but my advice is not to get into butterfly with the idea that you will learn it in a couple of weeks or months. That said, you can reach the point where you have fun at it fairly quickly if you just watch some videos (like the link I posted above) and then get in the pool and spend some time playing around. The other thing you will notice is that you get a real workout trying to swim butterfly, and the poorer your technique the harder you will have to work. So right away you don't have to worry about not getting exercise in the learning process. If I can teach myself this stroke (at least at the level I am doing it now...) then lots of people can. Just like with freestyle, you will need some patience and Kaizen, but in contrast to freestyle you'll spend a lot more time in the anaerobic zone. If that's something you like, I recommend it!
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  #6  
Old 12-27-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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Haha -- warning acknowledged. Particularly the bit about technique and efficiency being even more important!
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  #7  
Old 12-27-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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Hmmm, just watched the video. I just realised there may be a practical benefit to learning to do the dolphin kick well. At the end of the open water swim, there is often a long awkward walk through the shallow water at the edge of the lake. It could be less tiring to cover this distance by dolphin kick.
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  #8  
Old 12-27-2014
Grant Grant is offline
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Hi Sclim
I agree with everything Danny says here. Terry also has a very good approach to swimming Butterfly. Check out his posts and blogs on this subject. I regularly do about 300 meters of fly every swim day. Depending on time of year and goals the 300 meters consist of 25's, 50's and 75's or one 100'.
His step by step methodology gets one into fly mode very smoothly.
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  #9  
Old 12-27-2014
Danny Danny is offline
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The same website that AndyinNorway has referred to for animated freestyle also has a breakdown of butterfly that is worth looking at.
http://www.virtual-swim.com/3d_mv/top_btn/3d_fly.html
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  #10  
Old 12-27-2014
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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I had back surgery 10 years ago...Terry's way of teaching the fly kick is 100% pain free, guaranteed and I have since taught it to many other "older" folks with prior back surgery as well as back hardware.

The shaw video is pretty, but Terry's way is even easier, if not quite as athletic...but it's just like freestyle in that you first learn how to work with gravity and bouyancy (no back pain there) and then use the kick to naturally augment the vertical oscillation of fly and to kick/extend into streamline during fly.

If started gently, there is zero pain or discomfort because you can do it without any lumbar flexion at all.

Once this level of comfort and working with the water is achieved you can decide to add a little more energy to it if desired.

At least one of our TI coaches, when he learned the TI butterfly sequence, immediately turned around and began using the techniques for his kids competitive swim program. The athleticism & flexibility are elements that can be added to a good stroke, rather than being required in order to perform the stroke at all.

To the OP, I wouldn't say you have to master the other strokes to improve at freestyle, but if you have the tools to breakdown any stroke and understand how you move forward in the water while not wasting energy, you can apply that to free, breast, fly, back, side, combat strokes... etc.

Some of my favorite swim sessions are the ones where I swim 6 different distinct named strokes. (2 types of combat side stroke plus the 4 strokes).

Lately I have been adding back kicking and back fly kicking for extra glute & core work (not necessarily to improve my swimming...just to improve my muscles for better out of pool functioning).

In summary...yes work on the other strokes, or components of the other strokes.
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