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  #11  
Old 11-29-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by jafaremraf View Post
CoachDavidShen's comments above ring true in my son's case. Although a swimmer from birth! well not literally, he barely moves with a kickboard and although he can be the fastest front crawler in his lane, he gets overtaken by all the others when using a board. Switch to the pull buoy and he overtakes everyone else! He just isn't a kicker. He does have quite a hollow back and I have tried to discourage him from overarching anymore as I worry he'll end up with back problems like many in his family. Still he does have a lovely smooth stroke, and at age 10 swam two miles non stop entirely of front crawl and his stroke at the end was as tidy as at the start. That's why I think the TI principles would suit his style of swimming so well, providing it isn't detrimental to his competition swimming.
if you like, we *could* take a look at his kicking and see if we can improve it. if you're game, take some video from the side of him kicking, both above and below the water. we can comment on it. perhaps we can turn him into a kicking speed demon!
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2013
stratcat stratcat is offline
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About a year ago I stopped using a kickboard for kicking drills. For me, I find this results in less strain for my back and shoulders and I can stay much more relaxed.

It also means I can stay streamlined (not kicking "uphill" as I was with the board). I stay outstretched and keep my face in the water, taking an occasional single freestyle "breathing" stroke to breathe (which gives me a tiny burst of extra speed too!). A few other people in the squad have cottoned on to this idea too.

Lastly, the one great advantage I find from kicking drills, is that when I go away somewhere tropical on holiday, going snorkeling is so much easier!

Last edited by stratcat : 11-30-2013 at 02:52 AM.
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  #13  
Old 11-30-2013
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
if you like, we *could* take a look at his kicking and see if we can improve it. if you're game, take some video from the side of him kicking, both above and below the water. we can comment on it. perhaps we can turn him into a kicking speed demon!
Good idea. And I'd like to see his breaststroke too.

Some kids are designed to be breaststrokers or goal tenders. BSKers often have poor free kick.
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  #14  
Old 11-30-2013
craig.arnold@gmail.com craig.arnold@gmail.com is offline
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Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Good idea. And I'd like to see his breaststroke too.

Some kids are designed to be breaststrokers or goal tenders. BSKers often have poor free kick.
That's so interesting!!

I was a natural breasttroker as a kid and can still manage a 1.40 BS now. But although I can get some extra propulsion with a 6BK I would say I'm certainly worse than average and the extra energy expenditure is not worth it at any distance over 100m. If I were fitter maybe that could go up to 200m.

It can be extremely disheartening to see the best swimmer in our pool doing kick sets at around 1.35. But in his youth I am sure he was a sub 1m swimmer.
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  #15  
Old 11-30-2013
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Good idea. And I'd like to see his breaststroke too.

Some kids are designed to be breaststrokers or goal tenders. BSKers often have poor free kick.
Notice how I said "can be the fastest front crawler".......his breaststroke is weak although it has improved over the last 12 months. His power seems to be in his shoulders.

I would love to get some video, but I don't know how easy that would be to do as photography at pools is usually not permitted. I'll chat with the lifeguards and see if they will let me when the pool is empty, usually just before the end of the session.
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  #16  
Old 11-30-2013
Superfly Superfly is offline
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Originally Posted by jafaremraf View Post
...he barely moves with a kickboard and although he can be the fastest front crawler in his lane, he gets overtaken by all the others when using a board. Switch to the pull buoy and he overtakes everyone else! He just isn't a kicker.
From what I understand, the coaches are doing absolutely the right thing by focusing on his kick. However, I don't think that they're explaining things to you (or maybe you're not asking them) which is leading to confusion.

There are two elements in solving the equation that leads to efficient propulsion in swimming: frequency and amplitude. Basically, this breaks down to: You can stroke faster (i.e. more often), or you can stroke harder.

There is a happy medium where you don't have to stroke very hard, as long as you stroke at a certain rate.
Kicking definitely helps solve this equation and get to that happy medium.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jafaremraf View Post
He does have quite a hollow back and I have tried to discourage him from overarching anymore as I worry he'll end up with back problems like many in his family.
You need balance in swimming. Relying exclusively on the shoulders can lead to problems, including back problems.

Think of kicking as a tool that needs to be developed by your son, as it will allow him to rest his upper body.

As I stated before, all competitive swimmers stretch, but have your son focus a bit more on stretching. Particularly his ankles (which are probably not flexible based on his performance on the kickboard). Stretching is easy as it can be done together, while watching TV, on the bed, etc.

EDIT: P.S. I forgot to mention that you should speak with the coach regarding your family's history of back problems (if you haven't already). Kickboards are notorious for causing problems if they are used incorrectly. Coaches usually watch out for this, but you can take away the kickboard if there are signs of improper technique.

Good luck.

Last edited by Superfly : 11-30-2013 at 07:26 PM.
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  #17  
Old 11-30-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
..perhaps we can turn him into a kicking speed demon!
Just checking, and no offence, but from heaps of other threads here I thought, in TI, kicking was considered of highly secondary importance. I was sure Terry's been on here to stress that. It feels as if the forum is becoming quite polarised between TI approaches and something else.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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  #18  
Old 12-01-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Just checking, and no offence, but from heaps of other threads here I thought, in TI, kicking was considered of highly secondary importance. I was sure Terry's been on here to stress that. It feels as if the forum is becoming quite polarised between TI approaches and something else.
I think the way to answer your query is like this. There's dogma, truth, and desire.

Dogma exists in swim methods. But being absolute about everything kind of means we are likely to miss something and/or alienate people who think in another way. I find kicking is like that. There are some who think people should stop kicking and those who continue to train kicking. To me, it depends on the situation and the person. If it helps, great. If not, toss it.

The truth is that research has shown that kicking doesn't contribute all that much to forward propulsion. It's also adds a lot to your metabolic demands to keep moving your legs. But I talked about situation - if you're an elite and you're trying to do everything you can to eek out that last milisecond for a win, you're gonna master kicking to let it give you that extra bit of advantage. If you're a triathlete, then wasting energy kicking when you don't have to is not a good idea. If you're a young swimmer with still a lot of room for strength and energy system growth, then why not try to develop your kick? If you're an adult onset swimmer, you might not want to bother as your muscles and energy system may take too much effort to develop.

And last there is desire. Kicking in swimming is a skill like everything else. If someone wants to develop their kicking, then why not help them do that? And this applies to both young and old swimmers. The bummer is that it will most likely take longer to develop in older swimmers, longer than they're willing to put in time for...
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  #19  
Old 12-01-2013
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jafaremraf View Post
CoachDavidShen's comments above ring true in my son's case. Although a swimmer from birth! well not literally, he barely moves with a kickboard and although he can be the fastest front crawler in his lane, he gets overtaken by all the others when using a board. Switch to the pull buoy and he overtakes everyone else! He just isn't a kicker. He does have quite a hollow back and I have tried to discourage him from overarching anymore as I worry he'll end up with back problems like many in his family. Still he does have a lovely smooth stroke, and at age 10 swam two miles non stop entirely of front crawl and his stroke at the end was as tidy as at the start. That's why I think the TI principles would suit his style of swimming so well, providing it isn't detrimental to his competition swimming.
Hi Jane,

Coach Dave's advice is excellent. It is very important to have flexibility, and mostly comes come relaxation and only recruiting muscles at the correct time, and that's where the a high level of skill comes in.

Speaking as a swim parent for 12 years, an adult onset swimmer, and now TI Coach - watching kids plow up and down the lanes with kick boards offers only fitness, is usually warm down after 6k-7k yards of fitness only yards with little to no purpose or reason. Why isolate legs only when whole body movement *skill* is critical. Kick boards leave hands/arms and head high, arches back and a kick that works with a kick-board and not in freestyle. If your son is swimming faster with a pull buoy than without - he hasn't learned balance, and worse leads to swimming with shoulders only that lead to overuse injuries. Now put the paddles on, and put all pressure on rotater cuff will certainly cause serious problems. If a swimmer experiences daily pain, it won't be long before they walk away from the sport altogether.

This is "old school" strategy of strength and conditioning to power through the water and not learn the skill to slip though the water. I've even heard one club team coach tell me years ago, if a swimmers shoulders don't hold up, they're genetically incapable of being a nationally ranked or Olympic swimmer. Almost a Social Darwinism in the sport of swimming. And as a caring but rather delinquent swim parent, I never challenged or even questioned the coaches perceptions, approach, strategies or norms - nor did any other parent for that matter. How incredibly "uncurious" we were as swim team parents - really a shame.

I wish I knew back then (when I was a swim parent) what I know today. I would have been cracking kick boards and pull buoys over coaches heads, as well as skipping swim paddles into the trash can. At the very least I would have no problem asking why they are doing what they're doing, as well as ask the coach to support what they were doing, their training, etc. In the "old school" coach's defense, they just didn't know any better since that's how they were trained as swimmers too. Most coaches were never trained to coach.

My best advice to you is to learn as much about swimming as possible, specifically the physics of swimming that TI teaches. The TI Swimming Academy would be a great start too. Become your son's best coach and mentor, as difficult as that may be. Also look for another coach for private lessons, a coach that addresses balance and streamline as priority and understands how to teach a swimmer to use "the core". This coach should be completely engaged in every stroke and every kick your son takes which should include at least a monthly video analysis.

Looking back at the swim team/parent years leaves me curious of how many very talented swimmers were driven away from a sport they loved and enjoyed. And of that same group which ones might have made it to the National level and possibly Olympics, unfortunately - I'll (we'll) never know.

Stay engaged, don't be afraid to challenge coaches and the swim norms, and best of luck!

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 12-01-2013 at 04:57 AM.
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  #20  
Old 12-01-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Thanks CoachDavidShen, that's what I had understood so it's great to get confirmation. I completely understand what you say about:-

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
... if you're an elite and you're trying to do everything you can to eek out that last milisecond for a win, you're gonna master kicking to let it give you that extra bit of advantage...
It seems to me from what I see in the pools in my town, that this group is in such a miniscule minority, and their capacity (both potential and actual) as well as their goals are so distinct that it readily perverts the core of perceived wisdom in swimming, as jafaremraf seems to be saying. TI seems to me to go completely in the opposite direction and to focus attention on the general rules rather than on the exceptions, and as CoachDavidShen says, even these exceptions are not actually exceptions but merely specialised cases.

All this seems to me to be such a shame as swimming is such an incredible pleasure, and so fundamentally easy (put a bullet in our brains and throw us in the water and we float there quite happily). It seems to me to be a crime that we manage to teach our young to either loathe it or belive it is something for the elite.
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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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