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Old 03-13-2012
terry terry is offline
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Default Lessons in Video Analysis - and Extra Credit Test

We're conducting a 4-week Effortless Endurance workshop with nine students at the Greenwich (CT) YMCA. We shot "before" video at the initial class on Saturday. We didn't have a room in which to review, so I posted all clips on a public playlist here then emailed them my comments, along with a links to review video of me, Shinji and Sun Yang. Below find my comments as an example of how TI Coaches give feedback on video. And feel free to post your answers to the 'Extra Credit Homework' below.

>>I suggest you review all videos to gain a thorough understanding of the nearly-universal habits of human swimmers, and why humans -- as a species -- waste so much energy while swimming. Then compare these videos, and my comments on them, with the high-efficiency examples in my video, Shinji's and Sun Yang's.

My comments focus on the Underwater shots (yourname1 for each person) since those are higher quality (sunglare unfortunately compromised surface) and more instructive. When watching surface shots look mainly for the following:
1) How much of cap is visible? Should only be a little of the back.
2) Where does laser point - and how is that affected when breathing?
3) Do elbows and hands move laterally during recovery? They should only move directly forward in straight line.
4) How much clearance between fingertips and surface? Any more than a fraction of an inch wastes energy (the arm weighs 10x as much when lifted from the water, than it weighs IN the water) and contributes to downward pressure on other body parts.
5) How much body rotation? Any more than just OFF your stomach causes lateral instability.
6) Do hands cross toward or over the midline on entry/extension? Going toward center, rather than directly forward on Wide Tracks diverts energy.


Rupinder - Underwater shows the costs of a high head position. Lower body sinks, causing high frontal resistance. The 'sinking sensation' pushes you into survival-stroking mode: "If I don't keep churning I'll sink."
It's exhausting and unsustainable for one thing. But also it prevents you from using the arm, at any point, to perform either of what I defined as the two most important drag-reducing roles of the arm (1) Extend the bodyline, and (2) Separate the water molecules in front of you, so a streamlined body can slip through. And as you can see, though you churn your legs non-stop they do nothing to correct body position -- nor do they really contribute to propulsion. So they just wear you out. A good illustration why (1) Balance must come first when learning to swim with ease and efficiency, and (2) It's better to rely on weight transfer and physics than limbs-muscles-and-heartbeats to achieve that.

Peggy. Balance is good. You stay horizontal. However, your stroke is wholly focused on pulling and kicking and not at all on Active Streamlining. (Active Streamlining means doing things--while using arms and legs for propulsion--that reduce drag.) From moment of entry hands only push down and back, never extend bodyline or separate molecules. Legs are 'busy' yet do nothing to aid propulsion. So the kick is mainly energy-wasting. Also notice bubble trail created each time you take a breath. Head lifts, hands/arms are entirely occupied with supporting its weight, thus cannot do anything propulsive.

Luis. As a result of your prior self-coached TI learning, you've developed good foundations in all three skills:Balance: you're horizontal with relaxed-not-busy legs. Streamline: You use arms to extend bodyline. PropulsionYou have a hip-driven, rather than shoulder/arm-driven rhythm. This is far more sustainable. Your most visible Kaizen opportunity is to improve symmetry. You rotate farther to left than right. Pause video during any stroke at the moment your right hand is fully extended. Note (1) shoulders are stacked, and consequently (2) Your legs splay widely to act as outriggers in response to instability your 'internal gyroscope' senses at that moment. That splaying increases drag; it also increases power load on leg and core muscles.

Josephine. Head a bit high, consequently legs a bit low. Also, this causes a bit too much 'hurry' in your catch. While you do extend bodyline fully, you don't allow yourself enough time to ever really cultivate a firm grip on catch. Contributes to a bit of 'slip' as you begin the stroke. Also causes you to rely more on arm/shoulder muscles for propulsion, rather than weight shift.

John. The good. Your balance is not bad Your legs are quite relaxed, even streamlined. Your main energy-waster is a 'windmill' arm action. One key to a low-drag body position is always having a hand in front of your head (look for this timing in the high-efficiency examples). In your case, by the time one hand enters the water, the other is already at your hips. This means your bodyline is 'shorter' -- and drag significantly higher. So you need to learn a 'patient' lead hand and stroke timing that has a bit of overlap. A patient lead hand will also help propulsion. Those bubbles trailing off your hand at the start of each stroke mean you're pulling air, not water. In a windmill stroke hand enters at full extension and starts pulling back immediately. See my comments about Peggy and Josephine's armstrokes.

Jessica. See my previous comments about windmilling, busy legs, etc. All apply here. Like John, your balance isn't bad, but notice how much your body Moves Around as you stroke -- and how it never reaches a streamlined position. Contrast the instability of your body with the stability of Shinji's. Also notice how much of each of Shinji's stroke cycle he spends in a state of relative restfulness. His body continues to travel forward; yet his arms and legs have long stretches of doing nothing. Your windmill action fills every stroke cycle with non-stop activity and constant work. Lots of energy-saving opportunity here.

Inez. The good is that you're generally quite relaxed and comfortable-looking. But, like so many others you enter at full extension and therefore spend no time extending your bodyline OR in a whole-body streamline position. That also means no opportunity to establish a firm grip at the beginning of your stroke. This means your armstroke is far more likely to move water around, than move you forward. A high head position very likely contributes to this.

Chris. Does nearly everything right that I've listed as improvement goals in the comments above. Balanced, Streamlined. Extending bodyline. Patient lead hand. Whole-body driven, not shoulder-driven stroke. NCY age groupers are fortunate to have a coach whose own technique is so sound. The main Kaizen opportunity I note is to imprint the VW Beetle entry/extension. Both hands extend fairly flat -- left hand even scoops up very slightly. This causes two unwelcome outcomes: (1) Extra pressure on shoulder joint -- because you apply pressure to water while (a) arm is a long lever, and (b) shoulder is in its least stable position. Over the long term likely to cause irritation, if not inflammation. (Significantly exacerbated when wearing paddles--this combination is the most common cause of shoulder injury in competitive swimmers.); and (2) You spend a good deal of time in each stroke applying pressure downward, not back. Optimal is to direct pressure toward the rear from the first moment of any force application. This also puts more of the propulsive workload on fatigue-prone arm and shoulder muscles, instead of being borne by fatigue-resistant core muscles and weight shift.

Alex. See previous comments about head-up/legs down (albeit a bit less 'busy' than others) windwill arms entering at full extension -- thereby no time extending bodyline, no time in most-streamlined position, insufficient time to cultivate a firm grip, putting full workload of armstroke on arm/shoulder muscles, much of stroking time pushing down, not back, etc.

EXTRA CREDIT HOMEWORK If you wish to take the time, please assimilate and digest my comments from above and list 3 to 5 stroke characteristics you believe are essential to being able to swim a mile with ease and enjoyment. While this is not required, I am certain that doing this as a 'thought exercise' will significantly benefit your own learning process. If you do so, please send your list by return email.
See you next Saturday.>>
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  #2  
Old 03-14-2012
ZBWeier ZBWeier is offline
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Default Greenwich Workshop

Terry,
We've met before and I took a lesson from you years back in New Paltz. How long will you be conducting the workshop in Greenwich, CT and are there any available slots still? I live in Greenwich.
-Zach
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  #3  
Old 03-14-2012
terry terry is offline
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Zach
We conduct this class on 4 consecutive Saturdays, 3-4:30pm. Current series ends Mar 31. Next series begins Apr 6.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

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Old 03-14-2012
GAIN GAIN is offline
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how does this play in with spearing. I spear deep and fingers are not that close to the surface. should we be spearing down?


4) How much clearance between fingertips and surface? Any more than a fraction of an inch wastes energy (the arm weighs 10x as much when lifted from the water, than it weighs IN the water) and contributes to downward pressure on other body parts.
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Old 03-14-2012
naj naj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GAIN View Post
how does this play in with spearing. I spear deep and fingers are not that close to the surface. should we be spearing down?


4) How much clearance between fingertips and surface? Any more than a fraction of an inch wastes energy (the arm weighs 10x as much when lifted from the water, than it weighs IN the water) and contributes to downward pressure on other body parts.
Gain,

Ideally your fingers should barely be clearing the water. As Terry has mentioned, and you quoted, the arm weighs 10x as much lifted above the surface. So, since you want to conserve energy barley raise the arm up out of the water. I always can feel slight splashing on my fingertips to let me know that my arm is in the correct position.. In "Easy Freestyle" DVD, you can see Terry doing the wrist, knuckle and fingertip drill. Try it out in the pool and ingrain it into your muscle memory.
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Old 03-15-2012
grandall grandall is offline
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Terry,
Appreciate the post.. find it very informative a great learning tool. That's the beauty of TI your not just going through the motions..your thinking about it.
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  #7  
Old 03-15-2012
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Default Drag the tips and even the wrist

First, Great post Terry. Several reminders on analysis we tend to overlook due to looking at too many things at once. Analysis/review requires have focal points too :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GAIN View Post
how does this play in with spearing. I spear deep and fingers are not that close to the surface. should we be spearing down?


4) How much clearance between fingertips and surface? Any more than a fraction of an inch wastes energy (the arm weighs 10x as much when lifted from the water, than it weighs IN the water) and contributes to downward pressure on other body parts.
Gain,

As Naj noted, skimming (or skipping) your fingertips on recovery is important. If gives you immediate feedback of 1. recovery hand position relative to surface and 2. wide elbow. What I find very helpful with my students, is I have them drag the recovery hand wrist deep, forearm is "rag-doll", back of hand (opp palm) facing foward. A deeper hand gives much more consistent feed back of both 1 and 2 above as well as 3. the speed of your recovery hand, and it should be consistent during recovery. On longer sets, this is actually a focal point I use, I'll add in 50m (in 500 set) of dragging the hand, wrist deep to get solid feedback of recovery arm speed and its placement.

Re: Spearing down. I would characterize as spearing to forward target which is below your lungs where balance is optimal. I spear to a forward target a little lower, while other spear to forward target a little higher - but both locations leave your arm below the lungs.

Happy Swimming!

Stuart
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