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  #1  
Old 09-06-2011
caronis caronis is offline
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caronis
Default Fins or No Fins, That is the Question!

Hello AquaBuddies!
I have been doing TI for some time now. I started by using Fins in my drills even though Terry believes, if possible, to forgo them. I found I really lack momentum when I try to do drills without them.
Now that I am deepening my understanding of proper form, I am wondering if I should get rid of the fins even though I do need to do a constant kick and I still go at a sloth's pace.
For example when I go without fins, my switches barely propel me through the water. When I use the fins, I will propel, but the fins take away that feeling of being more closely aligned to my stroke.
What do you think? Is going without fins going to help me tweak my stroke by forcing me to eke out tiny improvements in my stroke? Or am I better off gliding in the pool like a champion swimmer and adjusting my stroke while having the advantage of fins?
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2011
armagh armagh is offline
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If this is a plebiscite, I'd lose the fins. The propulsion they create is artificial, meaning you can not accurately gauge the efficiencies you are working to achieve. Even accepting (as taught to me) that balance and streamlining are 70% of TI focus, the remaining 30% that is propulsion is coming from the fins, not weight shift. While Terry does suggest their use may assist in some of the breathing drills in the self-coached workshop DVD, I tried and rejected them even for those drills. I believe you will find your learning curve will actually accelerate in the absence of adjuncts once the cord is cut.

As an aside, there is nothing so liberating as strolling out on the deck with suit and goggles while others tote paddles, buoys, kick boards and fins.

Good luck whatever you decide.
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Nearly all of your propulsion in freestyle comes from your arms, not your legs.

A coach named Doc Councilman (who died a few years ago) once did an experiment in which he towed swimmers in a gliding position using a device that measured the tension on the towing line. He'd tow them at different speeds, either with or without a kick, and see how much the tension on the line was changed by their kick. At speeds faster than 5 feet per second (= 30 seconds for 50 yards), the tension on the line didn't go down at all when they kicked, and in some cases it actually increased (indicating that their kick was actually slowing them down when they were moving at that speed)!

If your kick isn't propelling you at all, that can be a little frustrating on some of the early drills, since you have nothing else to propel you. But as you reach the drills where your arms get involved, this should be less and less of a problem.

One of the ways you can improve your kick is to do a drill called vertical kicking. What you do is go to the deep end of the pool, fold your arms across your chest, and try to keep your head above water by kicking. Focus on kicking from your hips and ankles - not from your knees.

It's not wrong to use fins, particularly on the early drills. But you shouldn't use any training tool all the time. When I came to Total Immersion, I had a wide, flailing kick that was powerful, but not efficient, and the only way I could overcome this was to focus on it and nothing else. Until I developed new kicking habits (and it took a long time to engrain those new habits!), swimming with fins freed me to focus on other aspects of my stroke.


Bob
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Bob

I suspect I already know the answer to this, but in your opinion is the way to improve the kick to practice vertical kicking at a moderate pace concentrating on feeling the water with the feet and shins, and to some extent with calves and thighs, or to try and produce a fast powerful kick, which in my case could be sustained only for about thirty seconds.

Maybe a bit of both?
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2011
TIJoe TIJoe is offline
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It is just the opposite for me. Where I swim regularly, I am not allowed to use fins. So had to learn without the help of fins at all.

Last month when I was on holiday, I found a local sports center with a swimming pool. To my surprise, they have fins there. I did half of my swimming session in fins and it was exhilarating. It gave me a glimps of what could have been if I had perfect balance and great kicks (I am sure exaggerated because I don't think I would ever have that good a balance and kick without the fins). Nevertheless, I found them very useful because when I took them off, I could briefly keep the high body position and even kicking a lot better (especially the 6 beat kicks which I am very bad at). So my experience (albeit very limited) with fins seems to suggest that practicing with fins sometime scan be very helpful. But I am sure to rely on them all the time would create the problem that you won't know what to do without them.
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2011
rajsenthil rajsenthil is offline
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Though it is frustrating with less or no propulsion, it is not required to move while doing skating drill. The skating drill is a static one and it is for balance. The focus for skating is keep the body aligned, engaged from head to toe and neck relaxed. When the balance becomes natural, there will be a good improvement in propulsion.

CoachBobM posted a great suggestion to improve kicking. For the vertical kick, it is better to be deep enough (preferably 8 ft) to avoid hurting the thumb. I am 5'8" and at 6' deep got hurt my thumb many times. Initially thought that I would never get this but it is much better now that I can do it for 60 secs. Some people using the fins get addicted to it and they never remove it while swimming. Using it repeatedly will work against improving the balance. Where as in vertical kicking, the balance is not compromised.
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2011
grandall grandall is offline
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When I first starting doing drills I had the same problem with my kiicking. So what I did was to work on improving my ankle flexibility along with some vertical kicking. I must say by improving my ankle flexibility made a huge difference in my kicking for both drills and whole stroke.
George
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2011
RadSwim RadSwim is offline
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Fins are great! I used them extensively for my first 2 years, before I had the balance, body position and core muscle strength to swim comfortably without them. Especially useful for skating drills.

I am using fins now (6 years later) as I work to improve Butterfly and Backstroke.

RadSwim
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2011
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Nothing wrong with using fins. The problem may be in becoming dependent on them. I wouldn't have a fraction of the small ability I have, if not for fins. However ... I became dependent on them. I've managed to finally break through this reliance in the past few weeks; but it was a struggle doing so. Use them to gain confidence and learn lots of the things we need to learn to swim the "TI way". But always spend the last 15 minutes of a swim, swimming without them. Like a pull buoy they have a helpful place in learning to swim.
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  #10  
Old 09-09-2011
caronis caronis is offline
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caronis
Default Hold The Presses! New FOCAL POINT DISCOVERY!

Thanks for all the input. It's amazing how I came to discover some of these very same ideas in almost an instant after I posted and before the answers were posted. I think I must have been picking up on all your brain waves!!
I too would have never been able to get as far as I have if I didn't initially use fins, however, I was unable to begin weening myself off of them until recently.
I still have a ways to go but this is what appears to work for me and some of you have even mentioned it in your posts.
#1) It's a drill and going slower will force me to fine-tune the details and see how one slight variation can be effective. And it forces me to be even more of a perfectionist with the technique as far as balance and being relaxed.
#2) I now am much more aware of the role that ankle flexibility plays in providing greater feel for the water and adding more propulsion.
This was a big surprise because I now have discovered a Fantastic New Focal Point!
I imagine that I AM WEARING FINS even though I'm not.
This causes me to move my foot in the same sweeping style as I do with the fins on!
I am so surprised by the feeling of flow coming from the soles of my feet as though I am wearing mini-fins.
This is helping many of my other strokes even more than freestyle!
Thanks for all the great Input!
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