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  #11  
Old 12-29-2011
FrustratedStephen FrustratedStephen is offline
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Westyswoods' comments are spot on. The Swimsmooth animation is just another tool. The way it can be viewed at various angles and speeds is fantastic. Although, Shinji's animation is helpful, the Swimsmooth example is light years ahead of it. A similar TI animation would be invaluable.
  #12  
Old 12-29-2011
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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I want to back up Terry's point here.

I was impressed by the animation at first glance. It probably is one of the best, if not the best around. But - if you look at it seriously - what can you learn from it?
You can see a stroke in slow motion. That gives you an idea how a freestyle stroke looks like - basically. That might help you if you have no real clue of a freestyle stroke. If you have a clue - you start to look for the details, inevitably.
At that point - the animation proves to be 'just' an animation:
- it doesn't have a proper rhythm
- it doesn't have proper joint movements
- the timing of the kick is unclean - to say the least
- the whole thing moves like no human would move.

An artificial animation is deceiving. Like a Fata Morgana that disappears when you really want to look at it ;-) If you want to check out the details, you cannot use it because the movements of the animation are almost correct - that is the same as completely wrong. It's like the half truth that is worse than an entire lie. You can in fact not imitate an animation. You can only imitate the movements of a real swimmer.
It looks cool at first glance, and it makes it easy to comfortably look at stroke details. But they are not correct - in my eyes that is worse than having no demonstration at all.
Look at the hand entry e.g, it is completely artificial and has nothing to do with the movements of a human swimmer. In fact it has something to do with human movements, but not enough to be correct - that's why it is deceiving. How do you want to learn something from it? Or from that kick?

In the beginning of my freestyle learning process I ordered a DVD from SwimSmooth to learn freestyle (they had a deal, so it was quite cheap). Basically they make you to put on fins, flutter kick and start to move your arms. No coordinated kick, no hip drive, no coordinated body movement. I regretted having wasted that money. Could have gotten two TI caps for it :-)

I started to avoid the swimsmooth site as it is more of a nuisance than of help to me.
  #13  
Old 12-29-2011
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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I have seen the Shinji animation a long time ago and I don't like it. It is so 'unhuman', it reminds me of most animations of walking or rather running people, those animations are not natural.

I prefer live video from various angles that are stopped and commented with voice or text and drawings. Videos can also be downloaded and you can step frame by frame to a get really good understanding what is going on.
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2011
FrustratedStephen FrustratedStephen is offline
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Live videos are indeed brilliant but a TI animation similar to the Swimsmooth version would help some of us. Personally, I would find it more useful than live videos. Those swimmers who find them unhelpful don't have to view it.
I for one would find such an animation a fantastic addition to all the other excellent materials issued by TI.
  #15  
Old 12-29-2011
Butiki Butiki is offline
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I sort of see both sides of the coin here.

Animation without explanation, without proper context, is just that, like Terry said, "just animation". Could be viewed as a gimmick.

But with the proper background on it, with perhaps a frame-by-frame analysis from 360 degree viewing (which is a daunting task to film with a live human swimmer), this type of animation can be another tool added to the TI arsenal of helpful materials. Perhaps as an appendix section in the DVD, or better yet interspersed with the drills.
  #16  
Old 12-29-2011
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Animations are unquestionably a cool gimmick - but ultimately they're . . . animations. Not a human swimming.
The advantage of videos with real people swimming is that they're real/natural. The disadvantage of videos is that they're passive (not interactive). Also, real people (even elites) often have quirky strokes that are open to mis-interpretation or over-interpretation.

The advantage of animations is that they're interactive - you can adjust the stroke rate and view it from various angles. As much as possible, the quirks of real human strokes have been sanitized. The disadvantage of animations is that they're not real/natural.

There's a cliched saying that seems to apply here: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." Does the animation help people become better swimmers? Many seem to think that it does. Calling it a "gimmick" or a "marketing trick" strikes me as not particularly helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
If anyone can point me to video of any SwimSmooth coach or student displaying form as good as the 100s of TI examples all over youtube, I'll be more impressed.
The Catch Masterclass DVD is full of videos - both elites and students. There are clips on the SS site and on YouTube. I'm not aware of any close-up videos of Paul Newsome's stroke, though he did finish (I think) 11th overall in the Rottnest Channel Swim - one of the most competitive marathon swims in the world. He also did a 12-hour English Channel solo crossing. Again, the proof of the pudding...

I also think TI and SS have somewhat different perspectives on what is meant by "good form." In TI, the word "graceful" is frequently used. The Shinji animation video is titled "How To Swim Graceful Freestyle." The Kyoko Tsukamoto video is titled "Graceful Freestyle." Grace is something many people aspire to in swimming, and that's fine.

Other swimmers, especially those who enjoy competing, tend to place the highest value on speed - even at the expense of grace. Shelley Taylor-Smith appears frequently in the Swim Smooth videos. She is a "Swinger" type, and perhaps the greatest marathon swimmer of the 1980s. She doesn't have the most "graceful" stroke, but damn, it sure is an effective stroke (especially in open-water). If my goal is to be fast, my notion of "good form" may differ than someone who aspires to be graceful. Slow and graceful is still slow. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Another instructive example of the differing perspectives: The Swim Smooth videos often have a little box in the corner showing the approximate speed of the swimmer being filmed (e.g., 1:30/100m). TI videos do not.
  #17  
Old 12-29-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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http://www.virtual-swim.com/3d_mv/to...3d_s_free.html

these are also interesting curiosities, early type animations of elite swimmers, you are left to decide who, and viewed from many angles.

Swim smooth are ok, I ask myself, can I learn something from these people, who are experienced coaches, racers and are clearly passionate about swimming. Yes of course I can, you can find a $10 coaching value in almost anything, its better to look for the benefits than compare and contrast who is better or feel the need to defend anything.

I prefer listening to Queen than Coldplay, I think they are a better band on every level, and find coldplay contrived and commercial, but as a professional musician who still wants to improve, if a coldplay concert is on tv I will watch it to get some tips. There is a reason why they are successful and as a moderately successful musician, watching this band for 90 minutes, even if I do not like their music is a good investment. Its the same with alternate coaching sites.
  #18  
Old 12-30-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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we've actually discussed the swim smooth animation quite a bit internally. yes, you can learn from it, yes it's interactive...I didn't say that it was bad in anyway.

What it DOES do, is
1) Get the visitors attention immediately upon arrival at the swim smooth site.
2) Direct the first time (2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc) visitor to download the animation to their own computer
3) Exchange the animation for the email address of the person downloading it, which leads to
4) Follow up technique emails, which direct the reader back to the website for further reading or purchasing of products.
in addition, the animation itself resides on the users desktop for anytime reference and encourages the user to
5) Return to the site/forum/products to have further questions answered.


TI has nothing like this. It is an EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE MARKETING TOOL!

(pssst...Terry, are you reading? ) ;)


I do maintain that the swim types discourage people from further improvments, advances & changes in their technique. Yes, you can find people of many different swim styles swimming fast...but that doesn't mean that individual is free of flaws and not in need of improvement.

Janet Evans is smoking fast...but she has a lot of wasted movement when she swims. For the average swimmer with her "type" that doesn't have a ton of excess aerobic power production laying around in their body, that excess wasted movement is going to chew up a ton of opportunity to swim fast.

If all swim types were equally efficient, why wouldn't the marketing guys at swim smooth create a Ms. Swinger animation, an "Arnie" animation, etc. for download? They have their "ideal" stroke...Mr. Smooth...

Don't settle for a "type" just because it has a name.
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  #19  
Old 12-30-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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What would be really amazing is if TI could create an interactive downloadable TI widget of Terry and/or Shinji or a handful of the 'graceful' coach's strokes. (I noticed I wasn't on the list...rats!!!).

Create this with real video, not an amimation. Allow the user to scroll forward & back in time with the mouse, not requiring special or dedicated video applications like quicktime. Allow the user to select one of several views with an option of side by side synchronized views...one of Terry & one of Shinji (not the synch swim, but 2 separate but stroke indexed videos). Select the different views that are common in the TI vides
-above side
-below side
-above front
-below front

some 3/4 views.

Package this into a downloadable desktop application in Adobe AIR or something similar...thsi would be WORLDs better than the swim smooth animation as it would be real video and the user could select from among the swimmers...Maria, Terry, Shinji, Dave, etc...
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Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

  #20  
Old 12-30-2011
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
If all swim types were equally efficient, why wouldn't the marketing guys at swim smooth create a Ms. Swinger animation, an "Arnie" animation, etc. for download? They have their "ideal" stroke...Mr. Smooth
Swim Smooth does not say that "all types are equally efficient" - not even remotely. How did you get that impression?

What you said in your earlier post is true: The Swim Types create a classification of common stroke flaws among beginning-to-intermediate swimmers, which (as you say) "helps narrow the focus of what to improve." In theory, this makes the teaching/learning process (for both coach and swimmer) more efficient. Here is SS's explanation of the "stroke type" concept.

Each of the non-"Smooth" stroke types is considered flawed, with one exception: The Swinger. Quoting from their website:

Quote:
What's The Ideal Type?
Swimmers have traditionally aspired to be the Smooth Swim Type. Their long smooth strokes move them seemingly effortlessly through the water. Extremely talented swimmers such as Alexander Popov and Ian Thorpe typify this style.

However, the Swinger type, particularly when combined with a 2-beat kick is arguably as quick, especially for medium to shorter height swimmers. Many of the middle and distance freestyle greats - such a Laure Manadou and Janet Evans have a refined Swinger style. Notable male examples are Ky Hurst and David Davies.
I would add that the "Swinger" type is even more prevalent at top levels of open water swimming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Janet Evans is smoking fast...but she has a lot of wasted movement when she swims. For the average swimmer with her "type" that doesn't have a ton of excess aerobic power production laying around in their body, that excess wasted movement is going to chew up a ton of opportunity to swim fast.
You and I will continue to disagree about Janet Evans. If Janet's stroke had "wasted movement," why was this not corrected by her age group coach (the legendary Bud McAllister)? Or Richard Quick? Or Mark Schubert? You know, people whose jobs actually depend on helping swimmers be fast. Unorthodox "movement" is not necessarily "flawed."

Janet's 400m world record stood for 18 years. Her 800m world record stood for 19 years. Her 1500m record stood for 19 years. You do not get this from "excess aerobic power production" alone. Her technique is, almost by definition, efficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Don't settle for a "type" just because it has a name.
Again, a fundamental misunderstanding of Swim Smooth.
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