Sclim's Awkward Breathing thread and self-honesty inspired me to dig into one of my stroke issues that I've never really squashed - rather, I feel I've recently squashed it, but wonder if I'm cheating.
Basically my left skate seems fine. Left spear, tucked right arm, buoyant but resting on the pillow head position, decent angle on edge but not over-rotated, gentle compact kick, slow forward motion. BUT my right side skate veers off to the right into the lane lines within 5 yards. I can focus on each detail and it seems correct from "my" perspective. But damn if I'm constantly turning right.
It has been like this for years. Then in the last couple months I discovered my solution/cheat. Kick only on the top leg. So in right-side skate, right hand spearing. I lock my right, lower leg in a streamlined position and only kick my left leg-foot. Damned if I now am skating straight down the pool.
On left skate, it doesn't seem to matter. If I kick both legs I'm straight. if I kick just the top leg, I'm straight. Haven't tried kicking just the lower leg, but I'm pretty sure it'd be ugly.
So the question is - has anyone had similar - and does anyone have any ideas about the root cause? I suspect it might just be anatomy. I'm 5'11" on the lanky side. A bit bow-legged. I was born pigeon-toe'd but family lore tells the story of my mother regularly cranking my feet outward which "fixed" them, except for my natural stance I think my right foot angles outward about 10-degrees when I walk, and my left foot only about 5-degrees. When I relax my ankles my toes point quite a good deal inward, so a relaxed kick will find my toes inches inside the centerline while my legs stay outside it.
All thoughts welcome! Thanks.
--- friday night thinking ---
Coach Stuart has recently identified asymmetries in my recovery. My left wrist T-Rex'es down during recovery perhaps to clear the water, whereas my right wrist seems to dangle naturally and almost in alignment with my forearm. Working on that now. My DPS seems basically the same. Breathing on one side gives me the same stroke counts as breathing on the other, though I can feel subtle differences between the sides:
My right breath (left-skate) works best when I'm just starting and cold. The air is there and easy to get. Later during a long swim I can still reliably get air, but the window of opportunity seems shorter. Also the geometry of my switch, or strike position just isn't there like it is on the right. I can't bend the elbows at the right time to get a good EVF, so my strokes is a little straight-armed and deep. My left shoulder is "tighter" than my right although I think that means it's healthier.
My left breath (right-skate) seems lower - I can almost breathe with both goggles underwater and it feels easier to get air, longer with more time, now than my right. I seem to be able to setup a decent EVF on both sides when I'm breathing to the left. Think it has something to do with my right shoulder being "looser" and more flexible - rotator cuff wear and tear from years of volleyball. It used to be my weak side breathing on the left. However it this "works" best once I'm warmed up. When cold, it's too low and a bit of a reach or rotate to get air.
firts I think, you should give the other single kick side a try and analyze.
Without having seen you I'd guess it's more a matter of tiny alignment difference, curved spine or hip legs connection
To find out: What happens, with strong and long push off and SG to skate earliest on both sides without any kick?
What happens, if you extend your stroke extremely 3/4 skate position and 1/4 other stroke parts right/left? (Even breathing might help.)
What happens, if you swim with only one arm other tucked. Breathing on right side one lap and breathing on left side same arm next lap... And with other side?
What happens, when swimming kickless like with an ankle band. Whole legs still... tight at knees... "rubbing" feet while kicking just from one side toes to other side heel and vice versa.
Will you find any further asymmetries that might be the first reason?
As ever, all FWIW, wish you an exciting investigation with best results and with..
Tomoy, sounds like you are doing a good job analyzing the possibilities, so I'm not sure I have much to offer in that regard, but I do have similar problems. I notice it most when I am skating and sharing a lane with someone else. Even if I am going straight forward, my feet have a tendency to kick the lane line, which is a sure sign of alignment problems. In my case, I think it has to do with a lousy right shoulder, and I believe I can correct most, if not all, of this problem by spearing deeper with the right arm and focussing on keeping that right arm aligned on a straight track while I kick. Sometimes I have a tendency to try to lift the arm too high, which my shoulder won't allow. So in order to get the arm up, I mess up my whole body alignment.
Of course, I may be doing the same thing in full stroke and not noticing it, or not knowing what the cause is. Skating can tell you things about your full stroke, but only if you listen and try to draw the consequences.
PS: In my skate practice this week, I got back to skating on my left edge after practicing exclusively on left breathing and right edge skating, only to find that my left edge skating wan't nearly as secure as I thought it was. In fact, at last comparison, after 5 consecutive days of exclusive left sided breathing swimming (a skill acquired for the first time on Monday, the first day), my right edge skating was more confident than my left edge skating, even though my left breathing is not yet as secure as my right breathing! Go figure. But what threw me was something completely out of left field, that took me a while to figure out. Yesterday I had trouble swimming straight on my left edge, until I realised it only happened at a particular point in the pool. It turned out that in the extreme side lane in my pool there is a lateral current that occurs about 1/4 of the way from one end, partly due to some inflow pipe at that point, and not really noticeable except at the slow speeds occuring at gentle flutter kick in skate LOL. So it wasn't totally my imbalance!
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