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  #1  
Old 10-16-2012
CoachSalkaHintikka CoachSalkaHintikka is offline
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Dear all,

I've been learning TI freestyle for 2.5 years now and loving it! I've dabbled with both breast stroke and backstroke as well, but it's butterfly that really has caught my imagination. This summer I finally decided to get on with it, and ordered the Betterfly DVD. Watched it twice and decided that it doesn't look that difficult after all...Spent 8-10 sessions in our small village outdoor pool doing the drills and managed to do some fullstroke as well. In August I saw a coach for an hour, which helped massively and cristallised some ideas in my head.

Since that I haven't been able to practice as much as I'd like as the local pool gets very busy and don't want to sabotage other people's swimming. Last weekend I got an opportunity to swim in a small private pool and here's the result:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Bnf8...ature=youtu.be

It feels reasonably effortless (i.e. not massively out of breath after a length in a 25m pool) and has felt surprisingly easy all along. But as my understanding of butterfly technique is very limited I really do not know what I'm doing ok and what I should be working on... As taught on the dvd, I'm doing one kick per stroke cycle and trying to be "sneaky" with my breathing. I do notice, however, that I change the my head position during the breath.

I'd be grateful for any comments and suggestions for improvement. Many thanks!

Last edited by CoachSalkaHintikka : 10-16-2012 at 08:07 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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When we make an inventory of all the things that you do *right*, I come up with a fairly impressive list. You're a natural flyer, it's rare.

I won't respect any logical order here, except maybe for what's most obvious. So let's give it a go:

1. Arm entry. Super, not too much splash, *ā la Phelps*, shoulder width, that's great!

2. Leg kick. You're a single kick swimmer, in that you insist on the first kick, but very little on the second. That's fine. Specific to longer distance stroke.

3. Chain of events leading to the catch:
- a) your head sinks first
- b) then your arms enter (good)
- c) then you issue your first kick (very good)
(so many swimmer are late in re-entering the head back in the water)

4. Chain of events leading to the arm recovery:
- a) head pops out first, and very early (great!)
- b) then your second baby kick occur (not that great)
- c) then your hand exit
(we wish that these 2 last elements occur in the exact same time)

5. Breathing. You don't loose time. This is fantastic. Very rapid inhale, other wise it breaks your balance

6. Arm recovery. Clearance is ok. Shoulders pop out, and seem to be pointing upward, which makes the recovery easier.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Here are the things I dislike about your stroke, again pretty random here, no order of priority:

1. Head position whilst inhaling. You seem to be looking down the pool. You've probably been told to maintain neutral head position. I won't argue with this, although this is clearly not what I teach. Now the problem I got with your head position though, is that in a group training context, some day, you'll chock, big time. Your mouth is so close to the surface, you know when we breathe in at Fly, it's almost compressed 02 (inhale in a hurry). You may keep looking down the pool if you want, but I see no real benefit to it, other like some mention once in a whilst that it *could* be less strain on the neck (an argument with which I disagree anyway)

2. We have no underwater footage, but if we did, I believe we'd see your hand momentarily moving up toward the surface after entry, then taking a catch. They all to this. In an attempt to glide or swim long or I donno.

This will a) restrict your ability to accelerate the stroke and b) makes it more difficult to synchronize hand exit with second kick

3). Your stroke is almost on balance, but I'm not sure it totally is. You're swimming a bit uphill as it's as if you were getting into a body flat position too early after first kick (which prevents you from achieving perfect balance).

That feedback (#3) would be equivalent to being told that you don't undulate enough. I love my NAD drill to work on this issue, but that's non TI work. I'm sure you have indication on this DVD on how to improve the seesaw balance action in your stroke, ie moving up to breathe, but sinking down to exhale, etc. Down, up, down, up down, up. You go more like up, flat, up, flat, up, flat.

4. Some may argue that your second kick isn't powerful enough, but again a bunch of swimmer do not perform this second kick at all. So.

** serious edit **
I must admit that I had my mind set before seeing the underwater footage.

I must say that these are some of the best footage I've seen so far posted by a recreational. Not sure if you developed such a good stroke as a result of having worked on this DVD, but that thing certainly rocks.

Now I believe (after having looked at the underwater footage) that

1. Your hands don't go upward that much after entry, just a little but not much

but

2. You definitely stretch forward, and try to have this very shallow catch ā la Phelps. Now you do as you'd like, but I think your shoulder flexibility:
- Doesn't allow you to keep this shallow catch position
whilst
- having the upper body that goes down in the same time, just like Phelps do.

Since you are keeping your hands very shallow, outstretch in the front whilst your body should actually be going down, that restrict the downhill aspect of your body undulation, hence the fact that you swim either uphill, or flat.

So this is why your balance is not perfect. Trying to apply a technique displayed by swimmers that have exceptional shoulder flexibility.

I'll stop there, don't hesitate if you have questions.
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Old 10-16-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Oh I almost forget. Just another minor thing.

Look at your head action from side view, above water.

Look at the very moment that the chin goes touch the chest, ie your moving the head down to sink. Look closely.

You'll notice that in the exact same time, your arms are probably not appreciating this gesture that the head does. Coz it's adding some weight. Balance (Balance applied to fly is a dynamic concept, not static. At this point in the stroke, balance must remain uphill, cause you haven't passed over the hill yet) don't need with to throw the upper body down. Because they are still in a position within the arm recovery cycle where they need to sustain in the air. At one point as you get close to arm entry, then you can pour your body weight, or add some weight in general over your arms cause no more effort are required by the deltoid muscles (shoulders) to keep the arms in the air.

On the hand exit, that's when your hand leave the water. Look at your head position. It's pointing up. Well not nearly as much as I'd like, but I won't debate this here. At least, it points up a bit. See how your shoulders and arms like that.

Now mid way through the recovery phase. All of a sudden your head goes down, whilst shoulders still need to carry the arms over.

Over a 200, you would not find the last 50m fun.

Oh one last last thing. Underwater view, your first kick displays the grace of a world champ. This must be very enjoyable. Enjoy the tickling sensation on your belly as you pass over the little wave, let your upper body fall as soon as you passed over this imaginary foam roll.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 10-16-2012 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 10-16-2012
CoachSalkaHintikka CoachSalkaHintikka is offline
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Thank you Charles - I didn't expect someone to be that positive about it! I'll definetely will consider and try out all the recommendations you gave. At the moment my butterfly is very intuitive, as I don't really know what I'm looking for, just relying on the feeling and few mantras I remember from the coached session...Unlike my freestyle, which I probably overanalyze as I think I know what I'm trying to achieve...

I'll report on my "findings" once I've tried your suggestions, unfortunately it won't be until next week now.

Many thanks again and I cannot express how much I appreciate the time you invested in watching and analysing the video!!
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Old 10-16-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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It was pure pleasure, not work. It's very rare that we come across strokes that are so natural.

Do not think too much, swimming by feel seems to really fit you well.

Perhaps my foremost important comment has to be that about the role your head plays in giving either an upward or downward direction to your body.

The thing I teach in this regard is fairly simple (as most stuff I teach generally):

Try to look up through the hole that your body will open when surfacing, before surfacing. In other words, before surfacing your upper body is submerged in the water right? When you surface, your body creates a hole in the water, a hole through which it will slide out to surface and breathe.

Simply try to look through that hole before surfacing. Then in your case, delay (just a tiny bit) the moment at which you start looking back down the pool. This simple thing should make the arm recovery easier, over longer distances.

As for the second kick, if you keep it like that, just be prepare to often here that it's not powerful enough.
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Old 10-16-2012
CoachSalkaHintikka CoachSalkaHintikka is offline
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Funny that, I have felt that something is still missing from the body dolphin and judging by your comments my gut instinct was right!

I did briefly try a more "head" led body dolphin last week after someone on this forum posted the links to the Art of Swimming butterfly clips. I was just playing in the shallow end and loved the feeling really "rolling" in the water, which I haven't really had otherwise. I'll think of your tips and try incorporating that feeling into the whole stroke swimming next time... :D
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Old 10-17-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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I think you'd just 'love' my NAD drill. It's documented in some thread here.

We all love our babies more than any other children obviously, but I think it's the best fly drill out there. Certainly my fav.

In fact, similar to the single arm drill, these two have two purposes. Technical/learning/improving, and as a substitute for something else.

Whilst the single arm drill remains one of the most commonly used substitute for the full stroke, even at a high level, the NAD is a absolute top subtitute for fly kicking. When you master the NAD, you end up significantly faster than kicking with a board. Out of shape I'm worth around 45sec over 50 NAD alone, and probably 51-52 kicking with a board.

Therefore for me, who enjoys sharing time with squads I don't visit very often, constantly in and out of swim training. If I trip on a sadistic coach, planning for endless kick set on 2min per 100m, see this mostly with young coaches that are still swimming, they make them 10sec slower than what they themselves do because we're Master, but it still hurts, but doesn't hurt me at all.

Then the coach invariably look at me performing the set without board and being faster at it (often leading kick sets in this manner), and wonder what is this guy doing...

Well I'm booking your kick set at a fraction of the energy cost, and feel no stress in the upper body from holding a board for 30min in a row.

I can SDK off the wall (streamline underwater kick), then pull out without pulling, breathing and flying. Feeling is just as fun as swimming the full stroke.

NAD is potentially high speed streamlining drill that can definitely end up taking you to the other end of the pool faster than any other way of kicking. What about that.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnxvdnu3Bn0


Learn it slow first. And without a second kick it's still possible. But you'll discover sensations you did think that exist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K5DPz_acyY

You probably understood that all I actually did, was to put the arms forward. In fact except for a quick transition leading up to NAD, I see very little if no benefit to persisting in the undulation as most often documented, ie with arms on side.

That's just horrible for streamlining and hold very little potential for reaching interesting speed. NAD allows you to reach stroke rate, or undulation rate that are quite close to that achieved at full stroke (74 per minute at NAD vs 102 at full stroke in my case, breathing every cycle that is). Streamlining is just not the same. Bahhh I really hate the undulation with arms on side, feels weird, balance isn't idea (your arms in the front adds some weight, thus bringing the buoyancy and gravity centers closer) etchetera etchetera.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 10-17-2012 at 03:36 AM.
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