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Old 01-11-2017
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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s.sciame
Default chocolate and vanilla

After years of swimming and good improvements, I still have a vanilla side and a chocolate side (to use the terms of TI book). It's barely perceived when swimming, basically hidden when breathing bilaterally, but it's there.

And it has nothing to do with breathing. Today I did the following test: put a front snorkel on, set TT at a comfortable rate (62SPM) and did 4 lengths in skating position, matching the kicks with the beep (3 kicks for each beep, ie the rhythm of a 6bk) and counting the beeps it took me to complete a length. First length on chocolate side. Second length on vanilla side: I felt less balanced and aligned and it took me almost 10 beeps more to complete the length comparing to the chocolate side! Then I repeated the test: chocolate, always the same. Vanilla: this time I tried to rotate less than my body wanted, also speared a bit deeper and this way I felt more balanced and reduced the gap to about 5 beeps.

In short, on vanilla side my body wants to rotate more than it should. This creates instability and a bit of sink. I thought it was related to breathing, but the snorkel test revealed that it's not (of course overrotation can get even worse if adding the breath). The test also revealed that the gap between the 2 sides is much more than I thought. Again, when swimming it's barely perceivable, also because arms and legs probably apply some corrections that they wouldn't be supposed to take care of if the vessel was stable by itself.

That's the power of practicing in isolation: remove arms, remove breathing and just see how the body behaves. Now I've got something to work on, good! And the funny thing is that I fortunately happened to try this test while searching for a creative way to do some kicking sets :)

I'm curious to hear from others, especially coaches: do you still have a vanilla and chocolate side even after years of mindful practice?

Happy swimming everyone,
Salvo
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Old 01-11-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Salvo, I'm no coach, but I definitely notice these things when skating on one side. The beauty of skating (as you said) is that you get to isolate these phenomena and study them. In my case, I think that the problems arise from asymmetry in my shoulder and hip flexibility (duh!) The skating should give you the opportunity to really study the details of what you are doing on each side and try to reproduce them on the other side. Everyone is different, so I won't bore you with my issues, but one thing I tend to notice in my case: if I skate close to a lane line, I can detect when my body position shifts from parallel to the lane line, because my feet start to hit it, even though my shoulders are far away from it. You might try an exercise like this. If you don't have a lane line, try skating close to the wall.
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Old 01-11-2017
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Great observations, both. I too noticed that with my left arm is forward in skate, I'm in the line straight ahead. But with my right arm down in skate my feet skew sideways and eventually hit the right lane line.

Have worked on this quite a bit, and come up with two corrections. The first is to check posture and to make sure I'm not arching my back. The second is to balance my legs and feet when kicking.

I get the feeling that the issue is more related to kick. There are so many moving parts and differences in muscle and flexibility. I can balance things pretty well when in right skate if I don't kick my right foot, just hold it and streamline while the left foot gently kicks. This works on the left side as well, holding my left foot in streamline and kicking mostly with my right foot. I kind of wonder if this is cheating! Using this compensation technique, I think the kicking foot is mostly serving to control the body and push it into rotation, holding the edge of skate.

It also seems to match common sense when you're rotated say 45° to the right your feet will push out to that side because they apply more force downward than upward. Just thinking about this makes me want to hit the pool and work on my kick using your drill - looking for balanced motion between both sides - I went relaxation on both sides - balanced force.

I guess it also implies that rotation is different from good side to bad side.
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Old 01-12-2017
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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Thanks for the feedback guys. Another good reason for using a snorkel while skating is that you always look the tiles on the bottom and should be able to immediately detect if you are not going straight, anyway the trick to stay close to the lane line is fine.

I'll do more tests on this side and eventually film myself while doing it, because I suspect that what I perceive to be flat on vanilla side is instead already enough rotation (ie one shoulder above water).

Salvo
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Old 01-12-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.sciame View Post
Thanks for the feedback guys. Another good reason for using a snorkel while skating is that you always look the tiles on the bottom and should be able to immediately detect if you are not going straight, anyway the trick to stay close to the lane line is fine.

I'll do more tests on this side and eventually film myself while doing it, because I suspect that what I perceive to be flat on vanilla side is instead already enough rotation (ie one shoulder above water).

Salvo
Salvo, you may be following the lines on the tiles but your body may not be parallel to those lines while you follow them.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2017
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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I use chocolate and broccoli vs chocolate and vanilla. I love my chocolate edge, but gotta eat more broccoli and work more on my weaker edge.

Skating a length with snorkel is always good, but balance issues are largely masked with kicking legs. Skating for a length can easily turn into more of a kicking exercise, not a lateral balance/position drill.

Another way to discover errors in balance and body position is take three to four strokes and finish in a clean skate. Alternate right and left skate edges. The skate finish is with no kick, keep legs together and hold edge as long as you can.

When you finish in skate, take note of the following: Do you feel an immediate deceleration or a surge in speed; do you drift left or right, or stay in a straight line; is your lead arm/hand tense scooping toward surface or fluid/engaged maintaining a gentle downward slope; does your recovery arm fan over the hip or mold to front of body; do you over-rotate or remain stable; do your legs splay for stability or remain tucked in the shadow of your torso?

Deceleration, drifting left/right, spine bending, over-rotation, tense scooping hand, leg splay, etc are all errors that are showing up in your whole stroke/freestyle. Once you discover the error(s), work on fixing one at a time both in drill and freestyle.

Stuart

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 01-12-2017 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 01-12-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Deceleration, drifting left/right, spine bending, over-rotation, tense scooping hand, leg splay, etc are all errors that are showing up in your whole stroke/freestyle. Once you discover the error(s), work on fixing one at a time both in drill and freestyle.

Stuart
This seems to be a great opportunity to test balance/streamline. I haven't come across anything like it before -- I'll try it.
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2017
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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s.sciame
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Thanks for the advice Stuart, I'll try it too.

Salvo
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