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Old 07-23-2018
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Hi Stuart,

I wanted to report back to you on this. After trying to fix the problem of my dropped elbow by myself, I finally broke down and bought the Finis Forearm Fulcrum. It has been an eye opener. It does not magically fix the problem, but it helps me to see my stroke in a very different and useful light. I have found that it works best for me if I only swim occasional laps with the fulcrum and then swim without it and compare the results and feelings. So here is a short description of where I am with this thing.

That's great. The fulcrums are an excellent awareness tool, and yes only for short distances during repeats. They feel like wearing a cast, but that feeling is making us aware of all the adding movements with the hands that need to be minimized or removed

Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Perhaps the most important learning is that I have a balance problem at the moment when I rotate. If I try to go into a catch too early, my shoulder is not in a position to allow me to do this. My instinctive reaction is to shift my weight backwards towards my hips, because this allows me to raise the shoulder and get it into position for the catch. This is, of course, a very bad idea. It results in an exaggerated kick to restore balance, much like what you pointed out in your film commentary of Streaks stroke.
That's quite common. I see swimmers heave their bodies into a better leverage position to grip water, but comes at a huge expense in drag, where all or more power is lost to the water.

Originally Posted by Danny View Post
After discovering this, in my usual fashion I started focussing exclusively on not doing this and, within a few swim sessions my entire stroke started to fall apart. This happens to me all the time. Whenever I discover a significant error in my stroke, I start focussing on it to the point where other aspects of my stroke get forgotten and my swimming gets worse instead of better. So I have gone back to working on all aspects of the stroke, but at the same time using the fulcrum at regular intervals to help keep this new perspective on things. I suspect that fixing my dropped elbow is such a difficult problem is because the cause is many sided, or to put it another way, it is a full body problem and not just an elbow problem. As a result, I also expect that it will not be fixed in a short amount of time. I will need to do a lot of mindful swimming and keep using the fulcrum intermittently to point out to me when I am messing up.
Well said, I but would change "problem" to "opportunity". It's a work in process and continued refinement. And when you work on new patterns of movement, others will seem to fall apart - this is all building new awareness. Work on refining *one* part of your stroke at a time and often where other parts feel like they're falling apart, it's more likely a new pattern (out of comfort zone) is happening due to refining balance and foundation of the part you are refining. Any new movement pattern, correcting a movement pattern, even subtle refining of a movement pattern will always feel awkward. If it doesn't, you are in your current pattern or comfort zone. Awkward is good, learning, creating new connections and adaptations - as long as there is no pain.

Originally Posted by Danny View Post
By the way, your advice on focussing on the high side recovery and spearing now makes a lot more sense to me since I started using the fulcrum. The high side determines when I can go into my catch without dropping my elbow. I also like ZT's analogy about sighting down my arm like I am shooting a rifle. This helps me to keep my head in the correct position and my weight forward during rotation. All these things are work in progress, and the fulcrum is a useful tool to help me work on these issues. Thanks for the advice!
That's great to hear! Keep up the good work and continue push yourself out of the "comfort zone". "Focus on process not outcomes" ~Terry Laughlin

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