I was enjoying shooting the breeze with ZenTurtle but i think we ventured into "arm coupling" territory and went down the wrong track towards shoulder driven etc
i now realise having watched a video of Terry coaching a student that a strong & stable lowside shouldeblade and a relaxed & mobile highside shoulder blade is prefered, as opposed to linking both shoulder blades across the upper back (which takes one down the path of coupled strokes like kayak & windmill straight arm)
It can work also with a relaxed highside shoulderblade.
The very basic idea is throwing yourself from one ancherpoint to the next, bracing yourself through your body, from foundation points in leg and anchoring arm.
The hip feels like the traffic manager in this whole process. Its at the very front of initiating, but has to transfer its energy after a split second to the upperbody. (depends on strokerate)
When you go shoulder driven, the same principle more or less apllies, but its more focussed on the upperbody, and the connection of arms becomes more noticable. the connection with kick and hip is still there, but more like small initiators and stabilizers.
Watch how her legs trail and stabilize like a streamlined and toned tail, while the front above the waist acts as a power generator.
The front is not disconnected form the rear, but the focus and energy is shifted more toward it.
looks to me she still has a pretty relaxed shoulder on the recovering side. Arm is almost relaxed, thrown over like a weight.
You have to shape the arm to get a clean entry though at the front half of the recovery circle. Bringing that shoulder forward to the ear and switching to a stable blade when the arms extends in the water is crucial to be able to morph into a good catch anchor.
If you just keep it relaxed, you going to enter shoulder first, slap the arm on the water next. thats a very relaxed way to swim, and if you let the arm shape slowly underwater dusing the first part and only use the push part, you still can swim pretty comfortable this way.
Sharon van Rouwendaal and Ryomi Kromowidjojo have a bit of this action in their swim , but still are able to shape the catch well.
sorry this is not all TI. Mush and I are just interested in any style of swiming.
The same swimmer swims also like this
A rather differnt role of the recovering arm. A rather different style.
THis are her first TI experiments it seems
just a remark, neither related to swimming nor to TI :-)
PS: Because sometimes I'm going lost (in translation?) when trying to follow some threads. Then I think about a post from Haschu33 in 2012. A look at the last paragraphs will not hurt... Not only to ZT(!)... Yes I'm touching my own nose too...
October 17th, 2006, 09:11 AM
I'm just not ready to buy the statement that the "power is coming from the hips" as a literal statement.
It's probably best not to take that statement -- or many others -- as literal. Doing so hems you in to narrow, formalistic interpretations which are of interest more as intellectual exercises than as a way of changing someone's stroke for the better.
"Power from the hips" has been a "buzz phrase" in swimming since around 1990. I used it regularly myself 10-15 years ago, but have since changed the language I emphasize - for two reasons:
1) Strictly speaking, there isn't enough muscle in the hips to actually generate power -- the hips act more of a "force-coupler" (I hope some engineer doesn't take me to task for misusing this term...but I trust you know what I mean), the action of which can connect a sizeable amount of mass - and muscle - in the upper torso with that in the lower torso.
2) Where, exactly, are the hips? Any two people might interpret differently. Since my aim is to get people to swim more "with the body" -- and less with the arms and legs -- I've opted for phrases that encourage "broader thinking."*
E.G. For freestyle, my preferred term is "draw energy from the high side." Which means to shift your consciousness away from pushing water back --the pulling arm is always on the low side of your body -- to spearing-forward with the entering arm, while "holding on to your place in the water" with the other. (For backstroke that formulation doesn't work as well since there's not as much overlap between the two arms so we use different phrases to achieve a similar effect - one of which refers to the hips.) Why the high side? Because gravity working on mass will magnify any action taken on that side. If you focus on the low side you're limited to using whatever muscle is available.
For fly and breast, I've used similar language centered around the idea that when you want to increase the power of your movements, drive your chest down more powerfully as you land, When you want to increase the ratedo it by moving your midsection (chest-hip rocking action) faster, rather than moving your arms and legs faster.*
In the end, any phrase or label you choose is inherently imperfect, subject as it is to interpretation, then translation from language center to neuromuscular control to movement, with countless opportunities for error.
Any phrase I write or speak is one born of a process:
1) experiment until I find the movements or emphases that feel better or produce measurable (stroke count, swim golf score, effort level at a given speed, etc.) improvement.
2) create vocabularly that describes my personalexperience of that movement.
3) test that language with students.
4) drop words or phrases that don't resonate; opt for those that "click" with the most people.*
Do they necessarily work well for everyone? No. When they don't I try another. Far more preferable are: (1) "problem-solving exercises" that allowing them to make discoveries themselves, and (2) visual communication, a demonstration or video. But writing or speaking limits what's available to mainly language.
In any case, none of this is an idle exercise. I make these choices all day, every day. Yesterday as a case in point:
From 10am to 3pm I did a final edit on a butterfly video due for release next month, during which I was focused on making sure that every carefully considered word I spoke on the soundtrack was synchronized with a movement sequence so each would reinforce the other.
From 4:30 to 5:30 I worked with a 42 y.o. woman who went 23.9 for 50 Free in HS 25 years ago and is returning to competitive swimming after a long hiatus, hoping to swim well in sprints as well as be competitive in USMS LD events. After video analysis, we spent most of the hour on exercises designed to help her slow her catch enough to let the core body come into position to power the stroke. We were working in an Endless Pool and the measure of "success" was whether she could slow her Stroke Rate (measured by timing 10 strokes) while swimming in a current of constant velocity, while she studied the extension, catch and first third of her stroke in the bottom mirror. The first couple of focal points we tried didn't quite click. The third one did -- at which point I asked her how she would describe the experience.
From 6-8 pm I swam with, and coached, a group of 12 yo's on the age group team we coach in New Paltz. After having them attempt to swim 3 descending 100s and seeing that every one of them went slower on #2 than on #1 -- even after I emphasized they should swim easily on #1, I stopped the set and asked them why they went slower. "I got tired." I asked why. "I'm not in shape." So I had them all run from the wall to the backstroke flags and back to experience resistance. We then talked about how resistance is probably the main thing making them tired. I had them watch me swim halfway down and back, then comment on what they saw me do that they thought might reduce resistance. Then we swam a short ladder set 25+50+75+100. My only instruction was to try to imitate one thing they observed me do and think about how their swimming felt different as a result. After the 25 I asked them to describe what felt different. "Smoother, longer, easier." Then we did the 50, after which I asked them to grade themselves on the two laps. Mostly they gave themselves an A on the 1st 25 and a B on the 2nd. So we focused on the idea that their job on the 75 was to try to stay as close to the feeling they achieved on the first lap as possible. Etc.
This is getting very long, but my hope is to make the case that improving your swimming is an organic process, the goal of which is to figure out the movements that work best, develop a system that helps you distinguish between ineffective and effective movements and then try to use effective movements as consistently as possible in training. Language is one tool, and certainly the least effective, in that process.*
While things I've written have, for instance, caused "spirited" debate over what position your head should be in, the non-negotiable position for it is "engaged in thinking about your stroke."
September 30th, 2006, 08:18 AM
Having read that you want to pierce the water, upon entry, I have attempted to form a straight line from finger tips to elbow. My purpose was to enter the water cleanly.
The end result was less than pleasant. My arms always tensed up <snip>*
I observed that the elite freestylers had more of a relaxed entry. So relaxed that there appears to be a slight bend at the wrist, a bend that makes the wrist looks limp, not straight and rigid.
Once again, you've made an important observation. This one at a much subtler level. Elite athletes in all sports combine two qualities in their movements that are far less likely to be seen in the movements of "average" athletes.
One is high level mechanics. Each of your previous posts referred to this area. The other is something that could fairly be described as "artistry" which is far subtler but no less important. Coaches have often described artistry in great swimmers with the term "feel of the water."
It's never been a particularly well-defined term - most definitions have focused on the ability to discriminate between areas of high pressure -- "quiet water" which affords a "good grip" and areas of low pressure or turbulence which cause one's stroke to slip.
But in watching athletes like Tracy Caulkins, Alex Popov, Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff over the years, with a level of interest that borders on wonderment, I've seen they do so much more than just "feel" the water. Where a lesser athlete will often overpower the water or swim in such a way that the effort far exceeds the results, the great athletes never do it. They apply just the right amount of power at just the right moment to get the maximum result.
**** They also are better than the rest of us at knowing which muscles to "turn off" while others fire up. Both because an absence of tension in antagonist muscles better accommodates the action of the agonist, and because having non-productive muscles in a state of tension wastes energy.*******
25 years ago I spent countless hours watching videos of elite swimmers of that era - the Aquaforum series on all the strokes produced by Don Gambril. Tracy Caulkins - the Katie Hoff of the time, but even better (she had American or World records in every stroke and discipline) was featured on every stroke. On the Backstroke tape for instance, the contrast between Betsy Mitchell and Tracy was stunning. Betsy held the WR in 200M at the time, was a very powerful athlete and her pull was almost brutal in its power. Just grabbed the water and muscled it straight back. Tracy held the AR in 200 yds and was slender and supple. Her underwater stroke was a thing of beauty in the way her hands were highly active, constantly making minute adjustments in pitch to control each molecule of water completely.
Popov's video - and watching in real life - displayed a remarkable capacity to keep his recovery and entry utterly relaxed at high speed, but then to fire up those muscles as soon as his hand was in position to create traction.
Phelps when swimming fly lands far more softly than other swimmers.
When Natalie Coughlin broke the American record in 100 Back, going 49.9, the other 7 swimmers in that NCAA final were all an unheard of 3 seconds or more behind her when she touched the wall. And yet the water in her lane was barely disturbed, while the water in theirs was churned up.
I could go on and on. While elite swimmers display that kind of artistry instinctively, swimmers like you and I can learn it, but only if we recognize it as beneficial and explicitly pursue it. And that pursuit is a lifelong thing.
Striking a balance between your goal of piercing the water -- which requires you to shape your body to cut through the smallest possible hole in the water -- and avoiding unproductive tension, can be quite a challenge. Particularly because swimming in a highly conscious way -- which is essential when making subtle changes in technique -- often leads to some level of tension in the affected muscles and it take some time to learn to let that go. But keep working on it.
Mushroom thank you for bringing Terry back to us in the present! An you post a link to that?
Here you go, good thread
What gets my attention, is that in those days. TI wasnt supressing so much the importance of a good catch and pull technique.
Terry saved this article on his hard drive because it was one of the best articles he had read,
and it describes the aussies strokes. Especially Thopes stroke.(and the guy also came up with the idea of the gymnast iron cross, just like I did, watching elites strokes, hehe)
The patient catch idea is not derived from doing nothing in front, just taking the time to set up your catch and move the arm in a high drag position that it can be locked and then the big muscles can take the locked paddle back.
With a propulsive kick its easier to take your time because the deceleration is less while you set up your catch.
NO mystical talk about being pulled forward by the recovering arm and also less emhasis on the magical superforce from the hips.
Terrys detailed descriptions make sense and are easy to follow in this thread. Nothing fancy, its just about good swimming.
its the same with Haschu33 s comments. We are going in circles and the same questions keep reapperaing.
Completley understands hasschu33 s opinion. we are still waiting for the answer where the propulsion is coming from if it isnt from pushing water back somewhere.
(but at the same time agree that focussing on having an anchor with the low side and throwing the high side forward from there is a good and helpfull mental image)
Who said this?
Then maybe we can get back to the question of the stroke. Your last comment inferred that I suggested "all you have to do is weight shift." My post was quite clear that you have to achieve traction with hand and forearm first.
Yes but the key point i took away was one of not putting focus on lowside as all thas available there is muscle power but switch focus to highside where gravity augments any movement from here.
"Strong and stable shoulderblade on the lowside,relaxed and mobile shoulderblade on the highside"
Obv this is extreme statue of liberty
stratcoupling across the upper back and we enter "float & paddle" ie kayak windmill etc
You back? Or better said, welcome back! What brings you back? Coming back to TI? You still coaching and how are you doing?
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