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  #1  
Old 06-08-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Default How to find the angle of the spearing arm?

Focusing on torpedo streamlining, and dazzled by Shinji, I have tried to emulate his style. Shinji's spear is parallel to the surface when taking a breath http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJpFVvho0o4 but slightly deeper when he isn't. This is what I do ... or try to ... sort of :D

However, more often I have seen coaches demonstrating what could be called a "deep spear". Terry does in his workshop videos, and Fiona Laughlin especially I noticed today demonstrates it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xTEVkfNges.

There must be close to a 80" difference between Shinji's parallel spear and Fiona's almost vertical spear.

So, my main question is how I should determine which is right for me to model at this moment?

My secondary question comes from trying to address having to "bob up" to the surface to breath, and I found Fiona doing something similar in her video. From 0:10 on there is a sequence of her perfectly streamlined under the water, her head motionless as her body rotates. Then at 0:14 her head has to rise to break above the surfaces and allow her to take a breath, before hunckering back down again. This is probably fine if you only have to breath once in a blue moon, but for someone like me, breathing on every second stroke, it creates havoc.

I began looking at the spearing arm position to see if there were any clues in that to my occasional bobbing but am left as clueless as ever :(
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Last edited by Talvi : 06-08-2013 at 09:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-08-2013
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Default tough one

Good point. That you've noticed a difference in two of TI's most advanced representatives qualifies this as an 'advanced' question. I doubt there is one 'right' answer.

For front/rear balance, spearing deeper raises the rear which clearly helps many. For side to side balance (rotationally), spearing deeper can easily translate into rotating more. Good for if you're flat to begin with and good to get the weight transfer starting, but spearing TOO deeply can have the consequence of over-rotating and slicing into the water like a plate dropped into water edge-first: sinking.

I think of the spearing as (merely) one component of getting your rear to ride parallel to the surface. Others include front quadrant recovery, so you have more weight tipping you forward + patient lead hand + stretching and separating the shoulder forward ā la bumper practice + relaxing the head... am I missing others? Of these though, the deep spear is probably the easiest to teach/learn.

If all of these give you good overall balance then the NEED to spear deeply diminishes. That opens two opportunities. One, to reduce drag. Two, to keep your head closer to the surface for air. I think spearing deeply is easier on the shoulders. So if one has any injuries or shoulder pain, it's a great protecting technique. But Shinji's flatter breathing spear makes sense to me too, it puts the upper torso in a nice position to get air via rotation instead of lifting the head or separating it from the spearing shoulder to breathe.

Lots of variables. Somewhere in there is an efficient stroke for your body type and easy access to air.
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  #3  
Old 06-08-2013
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Well, my very personal opinion is that is is good to spear as deep as possible - as long as it doesn't drag your head down. I don't see any advantage in this bobbing up and down motion, on the contrary, it is a waste of energy and it can lead to overrotation since you have to really come up for breathing.

When drilling I think it is good to spear deep, but when swimming even Terry doesn't spear as deep as he demonstrates sometimes.

So I do believe that Fiona is spearing too deep here - although she can handle it very well, no doubt.
But what is the point of getting the head so low under the waterline?
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  #4  
Old 06-09-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
I doubt there is one 'right' answer.
These things are relatively easy to test though..

And generally speaking, TI stroke or not, upper body flexibility is what can buy you shallower spear.
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  #5  
Old 06-09-2013
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Charles,

Quote:
...And generally speaking, TI stroke or not, upper body flexibility is what can buy you shallower spear.
- But parallel to surface should be the shallow limit, shouldn't it.

- And with shallower spear we'll run into a catch problem with pushing water down instead of back, don't we...

Best regards,
Werner
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  #6  
Old 06-09-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
For front/rear balance, spearing deeper raises the rear ... For side to side balance (rotationally), spearing deeper can easily translate into rotating more. Good for if you're flat to begin with and good to get the weight transfer starting, but spearing TOO deeply can have the consequence of over-rotating and slicing into the water like a plate dropped into water edge-first: sinking.

.. include front quadrant recovery, so you have more weight tipping you forward + patient lead hand + stretching and separating the shoulder forward ā la bumper practice + relaxing the head...
Thanks Tomoy, great answer! I think over-rotation is more of a problem for me. Recently I have had some good times finding myself flatter ... heresy though (?), so I haven't gone further with that. Shinji sometimes looks to me like he starts to spear deeply but then flattens it out when his arm is under the water. I guess that gets rear end lift while etc etc. His position makes sense to me too. That shoulder bump sounds good. Maybe one day, further on down the road.

Front quadrant recovery = having the recovering arm entering the front quadrant while the soon-to-pull arm is still in there? Right? Just checking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
These things are relatively easy to test though ... flexibility is what can buy you shallower spear.
Hiya Charles! So test how? I have a shallower spear (I think). I am pretty flexible, on terra firma anyway. This is where my confusion sprang from.
.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #7  
Old 06-09-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Hello Charles,

- But parallel to surface should be the shallow limit, shouldn't it.

- And with shallower spear we'll run into a catch problem with pushing water down instead of back, don't we...

Best regards,
Werner
in order to pull off a shallower spear, you must have absolute relaxation in the spearing arm and let it literally float to where it ends up forward. check out this video of ian thorpe:

http://youtu.be/mv_sDYHYzFw

his spears are just a tad above horizontal. however, in my interpretation of what he is doing, he is not necessarily aiming for that point; I believe he is pressing his chest/front of body so hard, AND has enough flexibility in the armpit area to be able to push down into the water at the chest/armpit line such that his arm ends up slightly above horizontal.

IMHO consciously aiming above horizontal though, generally leads to your hips dropping. instead you work on balance and your spear will naturally rise up. that is why we talk about spearing deeper to help you figure it out in the early stages. as you figure out other elements of body balance and not be so dependent on spearing deeper for balance, your spear will come up as you start to optimize for faster swimming.

WRT the catch - in general, you are right if your hand remains facing downward as you begin to stroke back. TI already helps mitigate this issue by saying you should have a relaxed wrist, which lets it drop down and start facing backward. So when you start stroking back, your palm should be facing back. If you start stroking back with the palm facing down, you will end up swiping down (and eventually back) and in a big circle which is bad.

but as you spear more horizontal, i'd encourage you to start working on your EVF, dropping at the elbow before the upper arm drops, to get your forearm and hand facing back before stroking the entire arm back. check out this excellent Coach Dave Cameron video on how to imprint that:

http://youtu.be/tDmQiHQ8mW8
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  #8  
Old 06-09-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
My secondary question comes from trying to address having to "bob up" to the surface to breath, and I found Fiona doing something similar in her video. From 0:10 on there is a sequence of her perfectly streamlined under the water, her head motionless as her body rotates. Then at 0:14 her head has to rise to break above the surfaces and allow her to take a breath, before hunckering back down again. This is probably fine if you only have to breath once in a blue moon, but for someone like me, breathing on every second stroke, it creates havoc.

I began looking at the spearing arm position to see if there were any clues in that to my occasional bobbing but am left as clueless as ever :(
I took a look at Fiona's video. She is swimming in a flume, perhaps in an Endless Pool.

I don't know if you've ever swam in one, but it is a different experience. The water flows past you instead of you moving through the water and this creates a different sensation in your body with respect to your balance and interaction with it.

I am not surprised that she may feel unbalanced as she takes a breath and see her head have to bob up. I am sure that if you saw her swim in a normal pool, she would not be bobbing up and down. Perhaps Fiona will weigh in...?
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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The endless pool also creates wavelets that cause the head to feel further under the water than in a pool...taht makes breathing a little more challenging I think...a little messier for me.

As far as shallow angle spearing, that's good for streamlining, but the next part of the stroke where the catch is created depends on fantastic flexibility as well as technique that not all adults have (unlike a 14 year old female swimmer with double jointed shoulders & elbows).

There is a tradeoff in spearing angle between streamlining and helping to set up the next catch/anchor position. Counterintuitively, sometimes a deeper spear or at least a steeper forearm position can improve the next catch enough that the small amount of drag created from it is well compensated for by the strength of the next stroke, whereas a shallow spear may create less drag but the subsequent stroke may "slip" a little while trying to get traction.

You can measure this easily with SPL/tempo combos combined with your focus. It's an ongoing continuous opportunity to find improvments while minimizing your personal risk of injury.

I never realized how shallow my spear was even though I had SEEN it on video an still photos...until doing switch drills with Terry and feeling him grab my wrist and pull it down far far deeper in the water than I felt comfortable with.

Since playing with that position I can now easily swim at 1-2 fewer SPL than before (14-15 consistently at my warmup pace/effort) as opopsed to 15/16 of the past several years. (I am 5'3", with 5'4" wingspan)
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  #10  
Old 06-10-2013
Rajan Rajan is offline
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Dear Coach David Shen,

When you say "hand facing back before stroking the entire arm back". Do you mean to say like the way in given below link. Please stop at 0.13 and 0.34. Do you mean like that type of hand position, where hand faces the feet at 0.13 and 0.34.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rddHPTCt_8U

Regards

Rajan

[quote=CoachDavidShen;40422]
but as you spear more horizontal, i'd encourage you to start working on your EVF, dropping at the elbow before the upper arm drops, to get your forearm and hand facing back before stroking the entire arm back.

Last edited by Rajan : 06-10-2013 at 06:22 AM.
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