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  #11  
Old 02-24-2013
Danny Danny is offline
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There's an interesting aspect of this, which I haven't been able to resolve to my own satisfaction, and that is whether to use one or two kicks. If you watch Shinji's butterfly on youtube, it seems he only uses one kick, and I think Terry sometimes refers to this as "comfort fly". When I do one kick, it is when my hands go forward into the water. The reason I mention this is because kicking as the hands come out of the water in back helps me to keep my arms above water during recovery and makes the recovery much easier and more comfortable. If you are having trouble keeping your arms over the water during recovery, you might try focussing on the kick that just precedes recovery and sets up your body position to do it more easily.
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  #12  
Old 03-01-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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The first downbeat is always the most important. It's the one that no one would skip, or under do.

The second downbeat (the one occurring on hands exit) can be very very light, this would be ideal for performing the 200m fly as well as long fly sets in practice. It can also done in a very powerful way, which better suits power fly, ie the stroke used to go real real fast.

Normally, it is easy to recover the arms at fly, effort wise, given a proper timing/technique.

My favorite drill to teach this is certainly the verticle fly pulling:

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

Principle: The perfect execution of this drill is required for it to work. The good news is that everyone can reach perfection here. The perfection is very rewarding, as getting closer and closer to it will lower the effort level (greatly).

The lady on the clip had 5min to learn the drill. This drill is unknown to all, as I am the one who created it. Her execution is not perfect yet, but it was good enough to allow her to perform the drill perpetually. I stopped her after 2min, and asked her about the effort level felt (near the end of the clip).

Simple. No leg kick (or very little). You just flip the arms, in a rotary style. The goal is to feel an immediate anchor as soon as the hands enter in the water. The feeling to look for here, is basically to stop your fall. Continuing the pulling action will take you back to the surface to breathe.

You got the drill, once you can perform it over a long duration, at very low effort. This is a beginner level drill. I let no one even try to swim the stroke, before learning this drill first.

Then. Once you have it right, you can start moving forward, in an oblique position somehow... :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsG4ZehUG9M

What this drill set teaches people, is to not carry a dead spot at the front of the stroke. The longer the wait, the harder the recovery. Dead spot at fly is a public health issue.
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  #13  
Old 03-01-2013
Grant Grant is offline
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Hi Charles
I have just finished a swim meet where I swam 50 and 100 Fly. The times were within 0.02 and 0.04 seconds of what I swam in a meet in the first week of Dec. I had trained since then especially on the 100m Fly three times a week and did about 500m each session. Was disappointed that the practice did not show any results. So right now I am having a shot at embracing the plateau. Will incorporate your drill into the next practices.
I can't tell from the video. Is she touching the bottom of the pool?
Also when you say a dead spot at the front of the stroke does that include the glide after the arms re enter?
Thanks.
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Last edited by Grant : 03-01-2013 at 10:46 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-02-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Charles

I have tried your vertical pulling drill and also your no arms drill but so far perfection still eludes me.

It is possible that I am a lost cause but the lost cause is dear to the heart of all true Irishmen, even those who are half Manx, so I am not giving up yet.

Next week end I'll be swimming a LC 200m IM so I'll be able to test my progress on the fly leg. Last year I managed to escape disqualification on both the LC and SC 200 IM so there is hope for me this year. My stroke is still unorthodox and very slow but evidently at least potentially legal.

I'll continue to plug away at the various drills and will report back on any progress.
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  #15  
Old 03-06-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
Hi Charles
I have just finished a swim meet where I swam 50 and 100 Fly. The times were within 0.02 and 0.04 seconds of what I swam in a meet in the first week of Dec. I had trained since then especially on the 100m Fly three times a week and did about 500m each session. Was disappointed that the practice did not show any results. So right now I am having a shot at embracing the plateau. Will incorporate your drill into the next practices.
I can't tell from the video. Is she touching the bottom of the pool?
Also when you say a dead spot at the front of the stroke does that include the glide after the arms re enter?
Thanks.
Hi Grant, this perticular drill is a special one. I'm not sure if it can make someone instantly faster, without placing the drill in a more general context. If I wanted to make anyone faster, this drill wouldn't be my first pick.

The main purpose of this drill is to kill the dead spot at the front of the stroke. So at least, you'd use it in conjunction with some training on tempo, to see if it allows you to increase the rate.

Therefore it's quite important to realize that this drill also kills a bit of the Power Fly aspect to one's stroke. The more you wait at the front, the power powerful you pull when you pull. So it could have a detrimental impact on one's distance per stroke.

Without putting it in a more general context, you could actually become slower over 50/100.

I'm having some difficulties teaching the fly remotely. My approach to it is so different from what people usually do, that I often need to be there to achieve instant results.

This drill for instance, I mean it's a show. It's something people just don't get at first. Then well I'm used to teach it so I can get just about anybody to feel extremely relaxed and even confident at it.

It's a show. Here. I got to get this recorded. I got to ask a permission though. If it's accepted, I going to get this on film and show you.

I start by this verticle movement. Then once the group get it, we move slightly forward. Now what happens is that since the group is on zero effort, no one is tiring. So you see a bunch of newbies having never swam the stroke, all of a sudden flipping the arms non stop. And we slowly move forward almost verticle.

There's a chance that by the time we finish the first 25, some have reach almost horizontal position. What's missing. The kick.

So entirely parallel to this, I teach my NAD. And this is the opposite. It's no arm, but the rest must be done identical to full stroke. It's my thing too that drill.

With it, I teach streamline, an efficient first kick, nice synch with head (moves down on first downbeat, up exactly during second downbeat). And there again, you have no effort.

After 5 or 6 weeks, I take 5-10 minutes to put the 2 together, transiting by the easy single arm which they do for the first time, but it's really easy because they master the NAD and NAD is single arm without the arm.

One day, I'm in 6th week, and my boss walks by. He informs us that there's a competion the day after!!! I haven't put the pieces together yet. And I have one total newbie, an African woman for who fly was anything but natural. She wanted to compete in the 100m fly. OK let's do it. Usually, none of my students is afraid of the 100, as everytime they do fly, and they swim just that stroke for 60min (no freestyle, it's a rule), they never suffer.

So I'm like ok me lady. Let's put the stroke together. Do the nad, but add the arms. She does, it works ok. Deep but ok. We meet the day after. I'm like ok me lady. Be very very careful. You only have 10min of practice with this stroke, and 100m is very long. So swim it as easy as you possibly can. Yeah yeah...

Beeeeep and there goes Me Lady. She was flying it was amazing to see. She sure slowed down a bit on the second 50, but arms were flying over easily and she finished with a big smile!!

And all that to say that the weapon I use to build speed, is the NAD. This thing is extremely powerful. If you gain speed at NAD, you gain speed at fly. The opposite is virtually impossible. Contrary to several drills, NAD is 100% specific to the fly. All you do, is fly. It,s what you don't do that makes it a drill, ie use your arms. So if you improved NAD, you improved your ability to move through the water like a dolphin. Add the arm, it adds more speed. NAD on tempo, using a tempo trainer. That can become a power drill. I've gone under 1:30 without the arms, but I believe that a competent elite could go under 1:15 easily.

And the beauty, is that NAD is low energy cost. So you can book kilos at it, easily! Forget it, it's *my* weapon of choice, it teaches everything I focus on when I swim fast.


Then, when you add the arm, at least as far as I'm concerned, cause I swim the fly that way, I just think NAD. Really. I'm not just saying that. I do not think about my arms at all. Not at all. It's just body body as fast as I can, just like when I work on NAD.

Here's a moderately fast 50 NAD

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

Here's my faster 50 fly. In both cases, the feeling is exactly the same. All NAD. Pure stroke rate. A fast pulse. My kick never tires. Cause I don't think kick, I think body body body

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S1UQus-oYQ

(I'm the one that looks like an amateur, in second lane)

In fact this 50 sprint, is exactly like the stroke shown on clip below, but at full speed and breathing less..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MVseXW2f5c

Now the funny thing. Notice what I do with my *hands* (focus on the hands, not the arms) on entry. They move down. Continuously. Now focus on what I do with my *arms* on entry. Nothing. They're stalled. Just like those people who stretch forward and thus induce a dead spot. My arms are locked. Hey. My body is going down, literally. You can not beg for a better weight transfer. Notice, it's clearly there at ultra low speed. It's part of the stroke. And the drill you wondered about (vertical) it teaches just that. Teaches to keep the hand in motions. Best execution is when you gently tap the surface then immediately stop your fall, trying to avoid pushing down too fast for nothing.

In term of effort, there's a dead spot. My arms don't move. But my hands are catching the water in the same time and are moving non stop. When they reach the lowest level, it's time to pull (use the arms), which is a natural thing, no need to think about it. Weight transfer on catch then pull. That's how you can forget your arms. You do almost nothing with them and yet your hands are still moving down.

And that's what I teach. You have the full story. We actually mostly work on 2 drills, + the transition drills, wearing fins, doing under water undulation and stuff. But every body, with no exception has to demonstrate extra slow fly, perfectly timed, with no running out of breathe, other wise I'm like a monkey on their back.

I tolerate nothing but relaxed fly. Once you get the timing and more importantly!!! The balance!!! right, then you're allowed to output more energy. There are no exception, everyone succeed usually, their way. Some are very slow, but we're not in a hurry. As long as the stroke is on balance we can surface and breathe, and the arms will pass over.

So in short, people that think that training a slow fly makes one slow in competition are dead wrong. That stroke although far more complex to correctly *balance* (offset back and front of the stroke in a dynamic way seesaw action having hips belly as center point), is still logical, thus swimable at low speed. And just like free back breast, it will pay off at full speed.

Sorry for the extra long post. But as you can see, it's such a different way of thinking the stroke, that it needed clarifications so that you're not sent on the wrong path.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 03-06-2013 at 03:38 AM.
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  #16  
Old 03-06-2013
Grant Grant is offline
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Thanks Charles for the detailed response. Will study it over the next couple of weeks and sort out what to take to the pool.
Am I correct in assuming that in the vertical fly drill that the swimmer is not touching the bottom of the pool when she sinks?
I have done your NAD drill for about two months and love the feel of it. I find at times it feels easier to do with breathing to the side. What do you think of that?
My metrics are 10 breaths per 25m with 4 dolphin kicks off the wall. Times are pretty consistently 35 seconds.
My times in the meet were :48 for the 50 and 1:58 (splits :55 and 1:03) for the hundred. These are well off previous years times. Blame not being able to do push-ups, dips and chin-ups due to injury to the long head biceps tendon which the sports medicine Dr said not do anymore.
My flexibility is pretty good for a 77 year old but certainly not like the young folks I see.
I really concentrate not to dive deeply and to maintain a shallow oscillation.
To go back to your reply I really want to experience doing the full stroke without tiring the arms.
Thanks for the insights and material I can work on.
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Last edited by Grant : 03-06-2013 at 04:46 AM.
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  #17  
Old 03-06-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
I have done your NAD drill for about two months and love the feel of it. I find at times it feels easier to do with breathing to the side. What do you think of that?
My metrics are 10 breaths per 25m with 4 dolphin kicks off the wall. Times are pretty consistently 35 seconds.
What?? This is awesome. It's difficult to imagine that you could be performing it wrong, given this excellent result. However normally, you should feel much more comfortable breathing in front, not on the side.

Here's an important tip/mantra:
Always aim at *looking up* through the little hole that your head will create when it breaks the surface to inhale. What I mean here, is that obviously, your head must open the water when it breaks the surface to breathe. Do not let that happen, without giving a quick look up first, to see where you're actually going to break the surface.

That alone should greatly ease up the breathing process, and may have a superbe impact on your balance.

Again, seriously, 35 for 25 puts you at the wall after 50m in 1:15 roughly. That's awesome. Now don't stop just there. Use your tempo trainer. On the clip where I fly moderately fast at NAD, I think I'm cruising at 70rpm. It's a bit fast. But try to gradually increase the rate up to 60 and see if your times improve.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
Thanks Charles for the detailed response. Will study it over the next couple of weeks and sort out what to take to the pool.
Am I correct in assuming that in the vertical fly drill that the swimmer is not touching the bottom of the pool when she sinks?
Absolutely correct. She does not touch the floor. She's performing a bit of a dolphin kick, but it's by habit. It's not propulsive. She had merely 5min to learn the drill, that wasn't enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
My times in the meet were :48 for the 50 and 1:58 (splits :55 and 1:03) for the hundred. These are well off previous years times. Blame not being able to do push-ups, dips and chin-ups due to injury to the long head biceps tendon which the sports medicine Dr said not do anymore.
My flexibility is pretty good for a 77 year old but certainly not like the young folks I see.
This is incredibly fast for someone your age. I place you in the "Great Swimmers" category then. No wonder why you hit a plateau. Don't be too hard on yourself.

If I was you, I would seriously increase the volume of quality work done at NAD, since you seem to master the drill. Work on it not just to work on it, but instead practice it to become increasingly faster, and perform this work on tempo once in a whilst.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
I really concentrate not to dive deeply and to maintain a shallow oscillation.
To go back to your reply I really want to experience doing the full stroke without tiring the arms.
This is mandatory, and it's the way to go. Normally though, as you increase your speed at NAD, naturally you tend to stay on top of the water much more. At low speed, the number 1 challenge is to keep the thing on the surface, and in balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
Thanks for the insights and material I can work on.
It's an honor to try and help a 77yo athlete who is still eager to improve. Can you imagine if you could shave your 50m fly down to 45sec by the time you reach 80? That is serious business!!!

**edit**
Yip, it's what I thought. 48s in your ag (over 50m though, not 50y) places you at the Top here in Canada. Lifetime best over 50fly here for the 80-84 category is also 48sec. So you're after quite a handful. Put your money on NAD, it will take you there!

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 03-06-2013 at 04:00 PM.
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  #18  
Old 03-06-2013
Grant Grant is offline
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Hi Charles.
Just back from my swim. Have read your reply and will follow up on what you say. Did the standing fly drill this AM for the first time. I was able to do it with ease after the first couple of strokes. Once I was mindful to relax the arms and use my hands the way you mentioned last night. I also found that my torso did a natural dolphin movement and the tendency was to want to move to a horizontal position. I found after three minutes I was not fatigued and just bit above average breathing rate.
I then did NAD for 12 lengths. The last several were in 34 sec and 9 breaths. Had not read your reply of course but focused on breathing straight forward. Think on Friday I will do 50m repeats and see what the times/breaths are.
I did 4x25 of slow fly using your hand/arm movement and they came in at 9 strokes and 28 sec. Very little pressure on the arms thus no fatigue.
Also I like your point to keep working to do the NAD lengths in a faster time all the while doing it with ease.
Not clear on looking to see the hole the head went thru. Will have to reread what you said.
Thanks for the support.
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Last edited by Grant : 03-06-2013 at 04:28 PM.
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  #19  
Old 03-06-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Nice stuff Grant, keep us posted!

You'll see that the look through the hole before breaking it mantra is very easy to use.

Also keep in mind that most people do issue the 2nd kick way too early. So as much as TI teaches patient catch, I'd say that your 2nd kick has to be ultra patient.
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  #20  
Old 03-12-2013
Grant Grant is offline
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Today I spent quite a it of time doing the NAD. Maybe close to 30x25m. The first couple of lengths were 35sec by the end I was steadily doing 30sec. lengths.
I ended the session doing one 50m set which came in at 1:12. This shows a deterioration in form and speed on the second length so will work on that.
The did some full stroke lengths and found I could reproduce the rhythm which enabled me to swim the length with more ease and slightly faster than my usual time.
More work to do but really encouraged by this session.
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