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Old 07-25-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Default Spearing - different views

I have said elsewhere that I think TI teaches you to spear too deeply, even allowing for the fact that different spearing angles suit different swimmers. Consequences of spearing too deeply include the head being pulled under (making finding air difficult or necessitating excessive rotation to find air) and a less powerful catch (since there is less water to get hold of).

I understand this element of TI to be motivated by (i) a desire to recruit weight shift as a source of propulsion, and perhaps (ii) as a cure for the common tendency to windmill.

I have no quarrel with (i) although I'm not entirely sure that weight shift can't be exploited if one aims for a steep entry angle followed by a relatively shallow reaching forwards with the lead arm (my preferred technique). Elite swimmers travel quickly and with visible body roll - perhaps they are getting all the weight shift they need.

Further, if one adopts Steep 'n' Shallow rather than Steep 'n' Deep, I think windmilling is taken care of anyway, since to my mind windmilling is generally the result of slapping the arm flat into the water rather than reaching forwards after re-entry. You can have the latter without spearing deep.
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Old 07-25-2011
DD_l_enclume DD_l_enclume is offline
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Interesting.
I have a few questions:

Do you concensciously change the direction of your spearing?
ie : to the bottom 1st, and then to the wall.
Is is connected to your rotation ?
To your arm depth level ? (when the elbow is getting wet -> change direction)

Is it a smooth angle transition, looking like a round shape.
Or does it follow a right angle ?
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Old 07-26-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DD_l_enclume View Post
Interesting.
Do you concensciously change the direction of your spearing?
ie : to the bottom 1st, and then to the wall.

Is is connected to your rotation ?

To your arm depth level ? (when the elbow is getting wet -> change direction)

Is it a smooth angle transition, looking like a round shape. Or does it follow a right angle ?
I don't consciously change direction. Instead I aim to enter steeply and then, as the hand enters, to reach forwards rather than downwards.

It's connected to rotation in the usual way.

I don't wait for the elbow to get wet. See my first response above.

Smooth transition, so far as I can tell. I think it's like the 'old' Shinji videos where at full extension his lead arm is pointing forwards not downwards.

I don't think this method requires unusual flexibility. I also think it contains the secret of a good catch, since the further you reach forwards, the harder it is for the lead arm to do anything else than a pretty decent catch when the time comes for it to move backwards.

The whole action is really a slowed-down version of the freestyle on display at the current world championship event in Shanghai.

I think TI has rightly diagnosed errors commonly made by inexperienced freestyle swimmers and come up with focal points that help remove them, but at the expense of often leaving swimmers thinking the fixes represent best technique rather than ways of breaking bad habits.
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Old 07-26-2011
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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My breathing to the right has been a great problem with which I feel I'm on the road to a "fix" for this. For some reason I have little trouble getting a breath to the left.

What seems to be helping greatly lately is keeping the spearing arm less deep when rolling for the breath. That is to say, anticipating a breath to the right side, the left arm is stretched out closer to the surface after a less steep spear.

I'm thinking I must have been spearing too steeply on the left side and thereby drawing my head too deep for a comfortable breath. Yesterday efforts with the more shallow spear to the opposite breathing side worked really well. Still a work in progress but it's working.
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Old 07-26-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Mike, not only do I agree that the shallow spearing you describe makes breathing easier, but Shinji does too. In the video of him swimming beside Terry you can see that they both spear nearer the surface just before breathing. I asked Shinji about this and he basically said: well spotted, it's deliberate and helps breathing.

The question then arises whether one shouldn't just do the same thing every time one spears.
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Old 07-26-2011
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Lawrence, your comments and those of Shinji clinches my thoughts on this. Thanks !!

But spearing deeply on the non breathing strokes helps maintain a balance .. does it not? As long as the action is somewhat smooth I feel it should help keep the legs up. Continuous and smooth motion should help maintain laminar flow to some extent.

Mike
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Old 07-26-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Mike, I have begun to question that. When I spear 'deeply' I sense (i) water resistance slowing me down, (ii) no greater sense of front-rear balance, (iii) no greater sense of right-left balance (less, if anything), (iv) problems finding air when I turn to breathe, and (v) a weaker catch, since I'm not reaching so far forwards before holding the water.
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Old 07-26-2011
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
Mike, I have begun to question that. When I spear 'deeply' I sense (i) water resistance slowing me down, (ii) no greater sense of front-rear balance, (iii) no greater sense of right-left balance (less, if anything), (iv) problems finding air when I turn to breathe, and (v) a weaker catch, since I'm not reaching so far forwards before holding the water.
Lawrence,
1) I don't notice greater water resistance from the steeper spear - but I'll watch for that -- recall Shinji's reply to questions of mine a couple of years back - when he suggested a steep spear followed by the motion of the hand moving forward and towards the surface as the arm is stretched forward ... (he had some photos in his post showing what he meant); 2) I feel deeper spear helps me keep the legs higher and the elusive feeling of swimming downhill; 3) I don't notice any effects on right-left balance - I'm focusing more on the pending roll at that point anyway; 4) I very much agree with the deeper spear compounding any problems to breathe (as mentioned earlier - the deeper spearing seems to draw me deeper -- farther from the air); 5) your fifth is a really good point and I will pay more attention to this. All about leverage ! In many regards, swimming is all about delicate balancing and optimization of many things at the same time.

Today looks stormy here so the outdoor pool may not get a visit from me but I'm anxious to follow up on all of this as I feel a breathing breakthrough near at hand with these thoughts of spearing. I had tried the more shallow spearing on Sunday a bit and with good results. Yesterday I tried it enough to find some consistency with being able to get a breath to both sides equally easily while keeping my head low; and also found I was able to maintain the left arm patient more-so without the normal struggle to do so. Another swim where the more shallow spear works as well will build lots of breathing confidence for me. And confidence brings about relaxation, and relaxation brings about better form and swimming enjoyment. Ahhh these are exciting times !!!

Mike
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Old 07-26-2011
armagh armagh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
I have no quarrel with (i) although I'm not entirely sure that weight shift can't be exploited if one aims for a steep entry angle followed by a relatively shallow reaching forwards with the lead arm (my preferred technique). Elite swimmers travel quickly and with visible body roll - perhaps they are getting all the weight shift they need.
The only point of confusion is that this is the technique advocated by the TI coach I work with, thus the two of you ar on the same page. In addition to the benefits you've mentioned, it also eliminates "elbow slap," a (small) source of turbulence.
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Old 07-26-2011
Graziella Graziella is offline
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I get more speed if I don t spear so deep.
Spearing deep slows me down.
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