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  #1  
Old 04-16-2014
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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Default Cure for fishtailing

I can't be sure to what extent this may or may not be happening (can't get video) but I have the subtle sensation that my lower body swings slightly. I've also noticed that my lower back is getting sore and I'm not sure if that could be related - perhaps I'm too arched? I should say that I suffer with lower back pain due to a bit of arthritis and my normal body posture is quite arched. I am consciously toning stomach muscles to stop my back drooping and it feels slightly better. I also do yoga which helps too.

So as general guidance, what drills or areas are good to focus on that could help?

Thanks

Jane
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2014
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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An arched back can cause fishtailing, and I don't know of any way to fix that besides straightening your spine (which may be difficult if it has been arched by arthritis).

But you should also make sure that your recovering arm is entering along the "railroad track" on that side. Remember that you want you want your recovering arm to extend so that it is in line with your shoulder - not with the top of your head.

A way to practice this is, while standing in the pool, to bend forward at the waist and practice dragging your hand forward in the water, "drawing a line" that is parallel to your spine. Practice it on one side, then swim freestyle, focusing on doing the same thing when you are recovering your arm on that side. Then repeat the rehearsal on the other side and swim freestyle again, focusing on making the same motion when you are recovering on that side.


Bob
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Old 04-16-2014
Janos Janos is offline
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Jane, if there is fishtailing in your stroke, there will be a lack of integrity in your streamline position. I would not focus on your stomach muscles when you swim, as this will not allow you to fire the muscles that you need to power the stroke.
Instead, focus on the connection of your hip to your catch arm. This will achieve two things, firstly, it will make you a better swimmer!, and secondly, you are now connecting the torso more completely into your stroke. This will eradicate any fishtailing, facilitate an easier breath, and give you a more powerful stroke. Drill using underswitch technique. It may be called spearswitch now? This drill makes you focus on hip/catch aspect of the stroke.

Janos
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Old 04-17-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Jane, you might focus on release of the groin, as tension there will be compensated for in an arch of the lower back. Parsvakonasana may help, but it is difficult not to arch the back. Hamstring tension can also be a problem in arching the back. When stretching these do not tey to touch your towes but to keep your back straight and lay your abdomen on your thigh - if not in this life then in the next! For the groin tension I stand in a dorway, place my hands above my head against the door jambs for support, place one foot behind me and then bend the front knee focusing on not arching my back and on bringing the hip forward / keeping the hips parallel to the door opening. You can then repeat identically by placing the other foot behind you too (weight on the door frame etc etc. Usual cautions - don't try to stretch, try to relax, etc, and it is very very easy doing these exercises to be too keen and push. The result of doing so I find is simply more damage to the lower back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janos View Post
... I would not focus on your stomach muscles when you swim, as this will not allow you to fire the muscles that you need to power the stroke....
Hei Janos, this is intriguing, could you expand? (off to look for the video!)
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Old 04-17-2014
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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Thanks for replies. Have just returned from my swim and I tried to focus on the suggestions given, i.e. Maintain wide straight tracks with recovery arm (although if anything I wonder if my arms previously were perhaps too wide?) and also concentrating on the timing of the kick with the spearing of my arm. My pace is already fairly slow but I slowed it more. I think my body position improved slightly but I need to go back over the early drills, as I suspect some bad habits have crept in! Unfortunately though today my back was hurting (I have managed to swim every morning this week so may just be over doing it) so my last few laps were very scrappy and I knew it was time to finish - with Easter upon us I will have a good rest now and start again with renewed vigour in a couple of weeks time.

Talvi, thanks for you exercise suggestion, I shall give it go. I'm actually quite subtle, but perhaps carry more tension than I should have. I'm becoming more aware of this as I'm having to have therapy to get me to breathe properly - a common problem but one I need to cure because of my job. Relaxation needs to be a focus in my swimming too.

Thanks again.

Jane :)
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Old 04-17-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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You're welcome Jane, hope they help. I was diagnosed with an age-related degeneration of my lower back about five years ago. I was also diagnosed with cruciate ligament damage to both knees. They used to "crack". Both problems seem to have "cleared up" by virtue of mindful movement/exercise. Of course I still need to be careful. For us, time doesn't go backwards! I wonder if, counterintuitively, your suppleness may be a problem. Suppleness can mask or make redundant the feelings most of us get that tell us we are overstretching/overextending etc. Those young olympic gymnasts for instance often have severe problems as they age. Their suppleness creates a "false" proprioception that is at odds with their natural extensibility (is that a word?). My tai chi reacher found that the dancers who came to her classes found it very hard to learn tai chi as their bodies were already "conditioned" - a sort of physical brain-washing of muscle etc memory. Just some more thoughts for your mix :)
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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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Old 04-17-2014
Janos Janos is offline
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Talvi, it is ironic that you quote Popov in your post. If you were just to tense your abdomen muscles in isolation when you swim, you would be too rigid to transfer power through your body. Try doing the underswitch drill like this, and you will see that you are wasting energy doing this.
To replicate the action of the hips, stand in front of a wall and reach up as high as you can. Now, twist your hip only and see how many more inches your hand can reach. This is the end of Popovs stroke. Can you see how this action moves your body forward, as opposed to a passive roll of the whole body, with a tense core?

Janos
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  #8  
Old 04-18-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janos View Post
Talvi, it is ironic that you quote Popov in your post. If you were just to tense your abdomen muscles in isolation when you swim, you would be too rigid to transfer power through your body. Try doing the underswitch drill like this, and you will see that you are wasting energy doing this.
To replicate the action of the hips, stand in front of a wall and reach up as high as you can. Now, twist your hip only and see how many more inches your hand can reach. This is the end of Popovs stroke. Can you see how this action moves your body forward, as opposed to a passive roll of the whole body, with a tense core?

Janos

Thanks for the explanation. I've never seen Popov swim. Just stumbled across the quote and thought it nailed something that really helps me a lot.

I tried the underswitch yesterday, and gave up. Couldn't get my head around deliberately introducing the huge drag that came from from pushing my arm forward underwater. It feels just so much more sensible to lift it out of the way!

Anyway, I tried the exercise you suggested, against the wall, and see what you mean. I have done that extension before in the water but haven't connected it to any hip movement. It does make feel better in the water, more elongated, a greater DPS perhaps, but I wondered how much energy it takes and how much benefit it provides so have never made it central to my practices. Joining this insight of yours though together with the other gem you wrote: "Body rotation is attached to the catch, so you are trying to get a feel from the hips to the arm, so you get a sense of rotating past that catch arm. Specifically from the high hip to the lower catch arm." suggests some fertile ground though perhaps. Thanks :)
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"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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  #9  
Old 04-18-2014
Janos Janos is offline
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Talvi, whole stroke seems so much easier than underswitch, because you can mask the lack of drive from the core with the recovery. The underswitch drill separates the two actions, and allows you to focus on the more subtle action of the core. The fact that you are creating huge amounts of drag and lift confirms that your timing is out. I would urge you to stick with the drill until you get that 'aha' moment, and the drill becomes smooth. The benefits to your wholestroke will be massive.

Janos
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janos View Post
...I would urge you to stick with the drill until you get that 'aha' moment, and the drill becomes smooth. The benefits to your wholestroke will be massive.
Wow, that's really an offer I can't refuse - it would be my alchemist's stone!!! I dream of massive improvement but wake to more of the same! :D

Could you help me find a way around bashing my head against the drill until that moment comes? I fear I will get disheartened before I get there.

I found my hand, moving forward underwater after the pull and pushing against the water, acted as a brake and almost brought me to a standstill. I figured that's because I am slow and generate little forward power (~2:10 pace at ~20spl). Could you explain how this braking relates to timing?


P.S
and sincere apologies, I only just saw that you answered before on my other thread about this!
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"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

Last edited by Talvi : 04-18-2014 at 12:56 PM.
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