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-   -   Sculling Practice (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=8478)

sclim 12-07-2015 06:30 PM

Sculling Practice
 
(Disclaimer: Not an official TI drill, as far as I'm aware, but compatible with TI principles, I believe.)

I have been advised to really commit to sculling practice and I have taken that advice to heart. Today I did 100 m total of sculling. i wanted to isolate out the effect of sculling from other sources of propulsion, so I used a small length of pool tube to support my legs in my Superman style float, so there would be no kicking to confuse the issue. Unfortunately I am so dense that my legs still sank badly, but I kept on with the sculling drill. Next time I'll use a real pull buoy.

I also tried to keep my arms as far ahead as possible to practice the EVF position in the front quadrant. Unfortunately I don't have the shoulder flexibility to do it cleanly, so my arms ended up rather wide of straight ahead of my shoulders in order to keep my elbows up near the surface.

I had a hard time getting the idea, but I think I finally got it. I seemed to be able to progress forward easier when my finger tips moved in a circle or ellipse, rather than oscillating laterally and medially in a straight line. Is this "cheating" and defeating the purpose of the sculling practice? Or is there no "cheating" -- i.e. it all is a continuous process of developing a "feel" for the water, one way or another?

Once my sculling muscles and co-oordination get more solid I'll try sculling sitting on a kickboard.

Zenturtle 12-07-2015 07:31 PM

According TI you are probably working on the cherry on the cake, but it doesnt harm to spent 5 minutes per session on it I think.

Actually you are not moving in straight lines but in a figure 8. Enough very clear youtube videos showing how its done.
Its important to hold a static tension from your main vessel through shoulder through elbow.
There is where the rigid structure stops and where forarm and hand are free to move.
This way you get an impression of the stable underwaterside that starts to function as your anchor where you pull/push the body past.
Did you feel that its quite tiring in the forearm and wrist muscles?
There is a lot to play with
/ big and slow movements
/small rapid waving actions
/tension in the fingers
/fingerspacing etc
/directing the hand-forarm sculling plane to different directions.
What is the direction that gives good forward force and the least balance disturbance?
When the movement becomes more automatic its like having an electric propellor at the end of the forarm.
Who doesnt want to swim that way?


Do the sculling in different postions on the movement path of the arm.
Emmet Hines has written quite some articles about the various possibilities on his website.
Hope you enjoy the drill a bit.

You must find out where the limits lie for your high elbow. When going to far you get that pinching feeling on top of the shoulder.
The whole shoulder complex can be stretched to shift that point but that will take time.

Moving in ellips shapes also works, but you dont want to get stuck in that pattern.
You want a symmetric action moving around the normal hand position. The tension that that action produces is closest to the normal tension during the pull/push.So that action is best to build muscle memory. If you get some muscle memory its like Hey, this feels like sculling! in your normal stroke.
Why the figure 8 movement?
At the end of the windowwiper movement, the handspeed drops to zero and changes direction.
This means that the pressure on the hand also decreases. To compensate this you push the hand a bit backwards to keep the pressure constant during the whole movement. When the hand speeds up again you increase the pressure and you can steer forward again to the other side where the whole action is repeated.
To start whirlpools its pretty important to keep the pressure constant.
You can also imagine handling the water like a heavy ball in a space without gravity. You are moving it to one direction and catching it again when you change direction. Throwing the ball smoothly from left to right while staying in contact with it.

TI coach Gadi going crazy:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2guuxB077eI
A good overview form a TI like swimmer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxOQbUgR_ak

sojomojo 12-07-2015 11:55 PM

Sculling is something that I like to practice. I normally do vertical sculling in the deep end so that I can also practice my flutter kicks or egg beater kicks.

Finger paddles are great for sculling practice. Without the finger paddles, I tend to "gas out" too quickly. I use the Arena Finger Paddle:

http://www.amazon.com/Arena-Elite-Fi...finger+paddles

sclim 12-08-2015 03:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sojomojo (Post 56072)
Sculling is something that I like to practice. I normally do vertical sculling in the deep end so that I can also practice my flutter kicks or egg beater kicks.

Finger paddles are great for sculling practice. Without the finger paddles, I tend to "gas out" too quickly. I use the Arena Finger Paddle:

http://www.amazon.com/Arena-Elite-Fi...finger+paddles

Unless there is a compelling reason that makes obvious sense, I will stick with the "no toys unless for a specific reason" principle. That is, if I am gassing out quickly now (I am), it's because of lack of practice, maybe some lack of skill too, but these will come with more practice. I'm in it for the long haul. Interested in hearing about your enthusiasm for vertical sculling. Spread out the monotony? Or some specific skill it's good for?

sclim 12-08-2015 03:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zenturtle (Post 56065)

Actually you are not moving in straight lines but in a figure 8. Enough very clear youtube videos showing how its done.

I gotcha. Thanks for the rest of the advice, too. Will follow through. Probably plain vanilla sculling in Superman position, maybe vertical position, for now. Need undistracted practice.

sclim 12-10-2015 12:27 AM

OK, one more day investigating sculling drill.

I settled on a skate position with the upper arm in catch position, or at least as far as I could reach forward with the elbow just below the surface and the forearm hanging down. Not quite vertical, but enough to get a windshield wiper effect left and right in very narrow figure 8s. I used a small kick-board clamped between my thighs to stop legs sinking, and didn't kick at all. The theory was that I got to practice getting imprinted in ideal catch position, as well as develop water feel.

I alternated lengths first with left then right.

So far the sculling per se is coming along ok. I'm getting the idea and I'm moving, and learning to control speed and direction with some predictability. No sign of muscle ache yet, but I'm only going 100m for now.

However the awkward part is the inability to breathe. I can't scull fast enough (?yet) to develop a bow wave, so sideways breathing doesn't work. I end up taking a stroke with the sculling arm to take a side breath, (sometimes I add a pull also with my lead hand) but this throws off my rhythm for a while before I'm able to effectively scull again.

sclim 12-10-2015 07:59 PM

One more day of single arm sculling, still in skate position with kick-board between my thighs.

I'm getting better at breathing -- I just pull with both hands for a stroke and breath to the side. Ugly, but effective, and I'm back sculling again. I'm now not so distracted by shortness of breath; I now finish the set in reasonable condition.

Paying more attention to what's going on, I notice that my sculling arm is not nearly as far forward as I initially thought -- more like 45 degrees off to the side, if I try to sneak it forwards the elbow doesn't get to sit near the surface, or my forearm doesn't get to drop down so nicely. I tried to really work on forcing it forward with the arm still in internal rotation and parallel to the surface, but only got a few degrees more. I wonder if I could cheat a little, by skewing my trunk a little, and tilting my neck inwards to compensate. Probably do more mischief than good.

The other thing that I noticed was that although at first my hips felt really nice and high (with the kick-board), and my head was allowed to float up more than in real life whole stroke, it still felt a little weird, and I probably ended up with a more unnatural slightly head down alignment than was good for understanding exactly how a good high elbow catch should feel. I'll experiment next time with a smaller flotation device, but still bigger than the segment of pool spaghetti I used the first time out.

I notice now when I do a nice catch in whole stroke, on my right side it is initiated by a small flick of the fingers outward and down, exactly like the turnaround on the outside in sculling, before, or just at the initiation of the forearm dropping. On the other side it is awkward (on the left). Seeing as how I have now successfully sculled on the left, I tried to pattern my left catch to match the right catch and also the left sculling turnaround movement, and managed to get it to happen a few times, but I really have to think hard to make it happen, and not always successfully so either. I am assuming this is a good thing in the catch -- it happened spontaneously on the right, even before i started sculling drills.

Zenturtle 12-10-2015 11:12 PM

I dont think we can get the same EVF position as Karlyn Pipes Neilson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTQp...9A22FB&index=2
(the power increase with a high elbow is a load of crap, its only to make the best aquatic paddle shape)
but you could try at home for the mirror to see how you compare.
Anyway, her arm movements in full stroke more or less resembles the sculling positions you are using hopefully
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bPvk0paWcg
When I try it my shoulder doesnt really likes it, but the movement on dryland are often far removed from this extreme dryland position, even if we think we are close to it.
When you get the same feeling in the arm on ful stroke as in sculling you are doing well.
Its easy to look at your arm underwater during sculling to check if your arm position is OK.

sclim 12-11-2015 04:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zenturtle (Post 56165)
(the power increase with a high elbow is a load of crap, its only to make the best aquatic paddle shape)

I was going to query you on this seemingly contradictory remark -- why should there not be a power increase if the elbow is raised in the water, and there is all that resultant increase in resistance and force transfer to the water, at least in the early part of the pull where it makes the most difference. And wouldn't this difference (and resulting power transfer) be precisely because the high elbow/vertical forearm makes for the best aquatic paddle shape?

And then I watched the video. That is crap. There is no reason that the ergometer reading should suddenly drop in power, unless the demonstrator pulled less hard and fast on the cord when he dropped the elbow. In this dry land demo, the ergometer is directly measuring power generated by the arm pull, via the pull cords held in his hands, not power transferred to the (imaginary) water via the hopefully more efficient paddle.

Actually it's easier to pull harder with the elbow dropped -- in fact that's why poor swimmers do it that way, and why the efficient high elbow position has to be taught and learned. The demonstrator merely slacked off on his pull purposely when his elbow dropped merely to gratuitously confirm what the coach was trying to predict, unfortunately with a poor grasp of the principles of physics involved, so the demonstration lost a lot of its impact for me!!

However the underlying principle that they were trying to get across, no matter how clumsily, is sound.

sclim 12-11-2015 04:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zenturtle (Post 56165)
I dont think we can get the same EVF position as Karlyn Pipes Neilson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTQp...9A22FB&index=2
(the power increase with a high elbow is a load of crap, its only to make the best aquatic paddle shape)
but you could try at home for the mirror to see how you compare.
Anyway, her arm movements in full stroke more or less resembles the sculling positions you are using hopefully
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bPvk0paWcg
When I try it my shoulder doesnt really likes it, but the movement on dryland are often far removed from this extreme dryland position, even if we think we are close to it.
When you get the same feeling in the arm on ful stroke as in sculling you are doing well.
Its easy to look at your arm underwater during sculling to check if your arm position is OK.

Actually, now I don't feel quite so incompetent, after watching the video. Even the skilled and flexible coach Karlyn Pipes Neilson isn't able to bend her forearms directly forwards while standing with her arms pointing directly upwards. I don't know how I got the idea that she could. I notice now that as she drops her forearms her elbows start to deviate outwards; in other words, the angle of the humerus drops from vertical, or more accurately, about 80 degrees to about 45 degrees. Still difficult to do, though.

I must revise my estimate of the humerus angle that I am achieving. I just guessed 45 degrees. But I'm no where near as flexible as she is, so I doubt I'm getting more than 30 degrees. And I'm still cheating, because my humerus is not staying as cleanly in the horizontal plane in the water (or coronal plane standing up) -- my elbow dips down further below the surface than hers would.

But still, it's the best I can do for now, and I'll practice it with the aim to achieve it as consistently as possible.

This has been very illuminating!


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