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  #1  
Old 05-21-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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Default Extra Patient Lead Hand

Following some discussion on the "Another SPL/TT question" thread involving Coach Stuart McDougall I finally picked up on something I didn't quite understand or at least was really fuzzy/unclear about before.

Regarding "Patient Lead Hand" as taught by TI, as a precondition to good streamlining, balance, efficiency etc., my understanding of the concept of patience was for the swimmer to wait with the lead hand and not initiate catch until the spearing hand had significantly completed much of the spear. How "much" was a variable, and I understood it to be negotiable in the context of how much hand overlap you wanted to dial in, and this would be the basis for your personal tuning and optimisation.

So I more or less focussed on the arbitrary point of the spearing hand passing the elbow, or thereabouts before starting the catch with the other hand.

I now realise that I had trouble using this point as a guide, maybe largely because it's hard to used a fixed point (elbow) passed by a moving pointer viewed underwater (spearing hand) as a timing mechanism. But another larger difficulty was at play here. Essentially my left-right balance was poor, and when I was initiating the catch (I thought it was at the moment when the spear hand hand reached my elbow, but now, I'm not so sure), it was still while my lead hand was on the low side, i.e. before the rotation had carried it around to the high side. Worse, as Coach Stuart has explained, but which I didn't really understand then, I was using the catch movement of my lead hand to speed up and essentially complete the rotation process. This confusing of the purpose of the hand (rotation versus propulsion) was happening below the level of my realisation, making things really confusing for me. I was aware something was happening at the moment of catch, particularly my left catch, that was not exactly what I was trying to achieve, but I couldn't sort it out, no matter how hard I tried.

So now, with a better theoretical understanding of what's going on, I have redialled my programming, and told myself to be so patient with the lead hand (hence "Extra Patient Lead Hand") that I'm waiting until the lead hand is the higher hand before initiating the catch. This essentially means that I can't move with the lead hand until rotation has passed the neutral position. I have now totally ignored the position of the spearing hand as a signal as to when it's ok to move. I actually find this easier, or at least it's a more precise indicator of OK/Not OK. Which is not to say it was easier to do. In fact it was really brutal initially.

The lack of balance analysis turned out to be spot on. That is, when I speared, and didn't do the catch or whatever the movement was (it turned out that it would have been a rotation helper movement) with the other hand, the rotation got hung up, or was too slow so the neutral position seemed to last too long, and I couldn't get to the other side. So the prohibition against "helping" with the lead hand was really agonising. I started doing some ugly trick movements with the upper trunk to whip the rotation round to its completion. That was really ugly, but at least it was done with the trunk, and I got to the other side without using my lead hand.

The nice thing is that if I manage to get to the high side more or less cleanly without using my lead hand, the subsequent high side catch and pull is much more obviously optimally aligned and purely propulsive now. This is much more obvious on my previously really awkward i.e left side.

I've gradually got somewhat better, and now the ugly trick upper trunk movements are morphing into some semblance of controlled trunk rotation. I've still got a long way to go, but at least I think I have a clear idea of what I'm supposed to be learning to do, and have started on the journey. Does this seem like I've got a good grasp of the problem and the beginning of the solution, Stuart?

A complicating factor is that this journey that I started 3 days ago also coincided with my exploratory use of the Finis Forearm Fulcrums (see that thread), so the improvement which has happened is a slightly jumbled mix of two factors (although the two aspects wrist-forearm alignment and timing of catch are inherently intertwined anyway, I may have needlessly complicated things by addressing them simultaneously).

Last edited by sclim : 05-22-2016 at 12:14 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-21-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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its hard for me to totally grasp what you are saying.
For me its setting up your catch until your body roll has reached its stopping and reverse rotational direction point .
From there, accelerate the roll and the backward arm movement from the lock in on the water.
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  #3  
Old 05-21-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
its hard for me to totally grasp what you are saying.
For me its setting up your catch until your body roll has reached its stopping and reverse rotational direction point .
From there, accelerate the roll and the backward arm movement from the lock in on the water.
Before, I was "patient" with my lead hand to the point of waiting until my spearing hand was past my lead hand elbow, or there abounts, before initiating my catch.

But my lead hand was still in the low position at this point. I didn't know then that this was a fault, but it did feel not right in some way, just that I didn't know why I felt "wrong" -- I now realise that the "wrong" feeling was a feeling of lack of balance, and that my catch movement initiated at that point included a component to help the rotation, which my balance awareness was astute enough to sense was not fully completed (although my conscious brain had not sorted this information out at that point).

Coach Stuart has been patient enough to explain it enough times that I finally got it.

I need to be even more patient than that -- I need to learn not to move my lead hand into the catch until it has reached the high side in the body roll cycle.

I need to improve my rotation, and to learn to achieve it using only my core. Only then will I not be stuck with trying unsuccessfully to initiate a catch in the wrong position, i.e. the low side, and trying to improvise the catch movement with my lead hand to finish the rotation, rather than to use the lead hand exclusively for holding the water as a fulcrum* on which to rotate around, and then, once the rotation is sufficiently advanced, to use the catch and pull, for what it's good for -- propulsion, and propulsion alone.

*I am paraphrasing Coach Stuart a bit, which I do at the peril of misquoting him. He explains it more completely and very helpfully for me in the "Another SPL/TT question" thread.

Last edited by sclim : 05-21-2016 at 11:29 PM.
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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Hey, thinking about this over and over again triggered an insight, of sorts.

I have long struggled with the concept of wide parallel tracks for the hands. I have always instinctively felt that the hands moving in more narrow parallel tracks gave more streamlining, or something like that. But in response to my weekly TI Club coach telling me repeatedly that my spear hand seems a little too close to the mid-line, I have been trying to enter and spear more widely. Likely I have not been responding aggressively enough, but he's stopped calling me on it lately.

I just realised that, in the context of poor rotation balance and skills, a more widely placed lead hand in conjunction with a nice widely swinging recovery hand, unsupported by water and pulled down by gravity, would contribute a greater rotational moment, which is what is driving my rotation (and which in my case is deficient, or at least insufficient).

Maybe my habitual too-narrow tracks and poor rotation are related.

Last edited by sclim : 05-22-2016 at 12:17 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-22-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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I agree that a patient catch and getting more rotation from the bottom up can be a good thing.
But rotating so far that you start your catch AFTER the body has totally rotated to the other side can only be seen as a drill, not as proper swimming.
Thats taking this idea way too far.
I bet you cannot find one swimmer who catches on the high side.
Go search youtube and show me one.
The whole essence of generating whole body power is by connection the roll with kick/pull and spear or with a forward throwing recovering arm.
You cannot roll first and then pull. Thats throwing a ball like a girl.
Well you can do it, but your back to arms only swimming, only in a delayed timing .
.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 05-22-2016 at 09:26 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-22-2016
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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sclim,

I think you're going to learn some things by focusing on making sure your lead hand is very patient. In my experience, when I am disciplined enough to REALLY make sure I'm keeping a patient lead hand I see very good results with times and paces. But when I'm not focusing on it, I'll catch my "motionless" lead arm actually sinking or moving a bit sometimes, not holding its place. It's possible to fix but not automatic yet for me.

I need to shoot some video to see how delayed that is, though. My perception is that at those times my pull is very late (maybe too late?) and begins almost as the spearing arm reaches full forward extension. This may be unsustainable at faster SR swimming, but I think you can't go wrong by exaggerating the timing as you explore the concept. I feel like I am waiting until my body is partially (mostly?) rotated, which puts my arm in a better position for a good pull. I think I may be feeling what others have described as "jumping/vaulting over the anchored arm" when I do this, but I'm not sure.

Lately I've been feeling a much stronger diagonal connection in my stroke from arm to opposite leg/foot (which I really like), but I need to pay attention to my patient lead arm to see if the two can go together. I think I've been pulling earlier with my focus on faster recovery right now.

Anyway, good luck--I think you're on a right track (I'd say "the" but there are so many areas to explore productively!)
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Last edited by Tom Pamperin : 05-22-2016 at 01:15 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-22-2016
fooboo fooboo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
But rotating so far that you start your catch AFTER the body has totally rotated to the other side can only be seen as a drill, not as proper swimming.
Thats taking this idea way too far.
I bet you cannot find one swimmer who catches on the high side.
Well... I've been to the pool this morning and did it.
I. e. left arm patient. On the left side. Right arm recovering. Left leg kick.
Roll to the right. When right arm is starting to spear, left arm makes an
angle about 90 degrees. Cameron has a video about it. I just used his
blueprint.
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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sclim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
I agree that a patient catch and getting more rotation from the bottom up can be a good thing.
But rotating so far that you start your catch AFTER the body has totally rotated to the other side can only be seen as a drill, not as proper swimming.
Thats taking this idea way too far.

I bet you cannot find one swimmer who catches on the high side.
Go search youtube and show me one.
The whole essence of generating whole body power is by connection the roll with kick/pull and spear or with a forward throwing recovering arm.
You cannot roll first and then pull. Thats throwing a ball like a girl.
Well you can do it, but your back to arms only swimming, only in a delayed timing .
.
For the moment I'm content to wait till I'm just past the neutral (flat) point, not totally rotated. Now that I'm paying attention, I realise that what I had been doing, particularly on my weaker left side, was initiating the pull before I had reached that point, and the reason for that was that my rotational balance was poor or at least iffy, especially towards the left. So I had been left in an unstable position, and my catch initiation always felt weird. I realise now that I was caught instinctively trying to decide at the moment whether or not to build a rotational component into the catch.

Now that I know the problem is really poor rotation, I'm just waiting until I can prove that I can rotate without hands helping. That's taking work, but it's now a clearer situation for me.
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  #9  
Old 05-22-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
The whole essence of generating whole body power is by connection the roll with kick/pull and spear or with a forward throwing recovering arm.
You cannot roll first and then pull. Thats throwing a ball like a girl.
Well you can do it, but your back to arms only swimming, only in a delayed timing .
.
I think what you are describing with a nice integrated core roll and pull is that the core is driving the pull. At the part I was getting stuck, I had it backwards. My core wasn't rolled enough, so I was using my lead hand to help the roll. At least that's how I see it now. Certainly, when set the task of rotating a bit more until past the neutral position without helping with the lead hand, I found it very difficult initially, which suggests that my above analysis was correct. It helps me to isolate the hands out of the rotational task at the point where I got stuck. It feels weird now, but it's doable, and I think I'm already getting less awkward at it after a couple of short practice sessions.
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  #10  
Old 05-22-2016
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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I think it feels very late, but in reality you probably have still some rotation left after your arm has anchored.
So you start the catch not before flat, but after flat, and then rotate another 30 degrees or something.
When you accentuate the endpush instead of the start of the stroke and keep the rest of the arm movement above and underwater more or less relaxed you get the same idea I guess.
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