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  #1  
Old 07-08-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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haschu33
Default Some thoughts on catch & pull

I am still in the process of learning freestyle with the (sole) aid of the 'Easy Freestyle' DVD and this forum here, and in that process I am currently refining my stroke.

Since there was a lot of discussion here about the Early Vertical Forearm I tried to incorporate that.
Now I am wondering how exactly to move my arm in the pull phase. I tried to find some information and tried some patterns, but it was not really satisfying. So now a thought came to my mind that was actually very obvious, and didn't occur to me earlier because there are these confusing instructions around, like 'do an s-shape' and the like.

I figured when the point of the catch is to bring the forearm as early as possible in a 90 degree angle to the direction of swimming, than the point of the pull must be to hold this 90 degree position as long as possible while pulling. So the range of the perpendicular forearm position is from the starting position of the elbow after the catch through to when the elbow is in its lowest, or most backward position near the hips. I tried that and it meant to move the shoulder during the pull from the forward extended position to a position close to the body, something I didn't do before. It was great, especially because it meant heavily use of lats and back muscles, not shoulder muscles.

In short, my thought about catch & pull are these:

- The purpose of the catch is to bring the forearm as early (time-wise and position-wise ) as possible to a perpendicular position with regards to the swimming direction
-In the pull the 'vertical forearm' is moved towards the hips without changing it's angle with respect to the swimming direction.
- No need to pull strongly
That's basically it.

Some more refined thoughts that I noticed during my drills:
- The emphasis should be on the wrist and not the hand during spear, catch and pull
- In the catch any kind of pulling is hard on the shoulders and the catch should only feel and 'grip' the water
- The catch should start on really wide tracks and the arm internally rotated ( the palm has a tendency to face more to the outside), so elbow and hand are outside the bodyline when the catch is finished and before the pull starts
- Not sure about the pull: some elite swimmers move the arm quite close to the body during the pull so that the hand ends very close to the belly, some (like Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen) keep the arm quite much outside the body line all the way ??
I noticed that the pull rotates my body towards the spearing arm and shoulder when I keep the hand outside the bodyline
- Not sure about the end of the pull: I think when the elbow is in it's lowest or most backward position (almost at the hips) you can obviously not maintain a perpendicular position of the forearm anymore so any more movement becomes less and less effective, and the forearm when stretching the arm out actually moves up to the water surface pushing the body down plus waste of energy. Better moving elbow and hand out of the water at hip level ??

As I am in the process of imprinting 'good' movements before habituating them through many laps I appreciate all comments on this subject.

Thanks in advance
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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FOr having little direction/instruction in the mechanics of the pull, I htink your observations are spot on.

I would encourage you to do as you are doing, right up until the "grip" phase of the catch. After that, simply continue to spear the opposite arm to it's forward target (just outside of the bodyline) as you rotate your core/shift yoru weight from one side of the body to the other with yoru sole focus on yoru spearing arm.

It is the leading/spearing arm that creates a long lean bodyline that parts teh water for the rest of your body to glide through. If you lose focus on this your only option is to PULL or STRUGGLE harder because you've just increased your resistance adn drag in the water.

By focusing on the spearing arm and body roll, the "pull" of the opposite arm will happen as a natural leveraging action of the body roll.

So go ahead and initiate the catch as you have nicely described it, getting yoru "grip" on the water. Then have sole focus on rotation of your core and spearing your lead arm as it parts the water in front of you.
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2010
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
FOr having little direction/instruction in the mechanics of the pull, I htink your observations are spot on.

I would encourage you to do as you are doing, right up until the "grip" phase of the catch. After that, simply continue to spear the opposite arm to it's forward target (just outside of the body line) as you rotate your core/shift your weight from one side of the body to the other with your sole focus on your spearing arm.

It is the leading/spearing arm that creates a long lean body line that parts the water for the rest of your body to glide through. If you lose focus on this your only option is to PULL or STRUGGLE harder because you've just increased your resistance and drag in the water.

By focusing on the spearing arm and body roll, the "pull" of the opposite arm will happen as a natural leveraging action of the body roll.

So go ahead and initiate the catch as you have nicely described it, getting your "grip" on the water. Then have sole focus on rotation of your core and spearing your lead arm as it parts the water in front of you.
Which comes first the kick or the spear of the hand?
I guess i have more questions than answers, TOO!
Thanks for the Insightful of the Board and Wiser guys & gals

i thought it was the kick
until someone said
they speared and then kicked!

and instead of the 2 beat kicking
i added some more kicking in
and that was FUN, TOO!
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Old 07-08-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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With core based swimming, the kick helps iniitate the core rotation which drives the arm forward. The timing may not be something you can notice as an observer when done well, but is something you can experiment with. Kick early, kick late, spear early, spear late. play with it and see how it feels.
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Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #5  
Old 07-08-2010
dshen dshen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
With core based swimming, the kick helps iniitate the core rotation which drives the arm forward. The timing may not be something you can notice as an observer when done well, but is something you can experiment with. Kick early, kick late, spear early, spear late. play with it and see how it feels.
FWIW, I just had a session with Coach Shinji and he noticed that I was kicking too soon in my arm cycle. I would kick about right when the arm was entering into the water. But he said that was too early and I would lose too much forward momentum potential because of that. He said I should wait just a little while longer, so that the arm is entering into the water already and then I should kick. This then allows the kick to give extra oomph to the body rotation while the arm was going forward and thus gives more authority and momentum to the spearing arm and drags the body forward with more energy. Kicking too soon means less energy is transferred to the spearing arm forward because it hasn't started really spearing yet.

This was especially apparent during taking a breath with my right side. I would be turned to take a breath and my right arm would be coming around, and then before it entered the water I would kick. This robbed me of a lot of momentum during the breathing.

Although I am trying to break my old habit and trying to imprint the new habit of kicking a little bit later, I did notice a difference. Swimming w/o focus on the kick I did some 25y lengths and hit 13 strokes. Then I focused on the kick at the point at which Shinji recommended and I came in at 12 strokes at approximately the same stroke rate. So I guess it works...! Now I must spend the next many weeks imprinting this new detail....

BTW this is using the 2BK...
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
In short, my thought about catch & pull are these:

- The purpose of the catch is to bring the forearm as early (time-wise and position-wise ) as possible to a perpendicular position with regards to the swimming direction
-In the pull the 'vertical forearm' is moved towards the hips without changing it's angle with respect to the swimming direction.
- No need to pull strongly
<snip>

- In the catch any kind of pulling is hard on the shoulders and the catch should only feel and 'grip' the water
- The catch should start on really wide tracks and the arm internally rotated ( the palm has a tendency to face more to the outside), so elbow and hand are outside the bodyline when the catch is finished and before the pull starts
In a different thread, there was discussion of the difference observed between my spear/catch and Shinji's. It was noted that his spear is flatter and farther. My spear is deeper and a bit shorter. A range of possible reasons was discussed, all with a degree of truth. My contribution was that the most important reason was to put my hand/forearm immediately in an "armful of water" position -- which I find more descriptive than Early Vertical Forearm.

I've also described this arm shape as a Soft Hook. In Lesson 7 of the new 10-Lesson Series we illustrate (on video) and explain (in the User Guide) the principle that the recovery and entry should set up the propulsive part of your stroke by putting your hand in the most advantageous position from the moment it enters the water.

So what I've endeavored to do is maintain the Soft Hook arm shape from the moment my hand exits the water, throughout recovery, and into the entry. When I do that I literally don’t need to ‘move a muscle’ to position my hand to move me forward from the first moment of pressure on the water.
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Last edited by terry : 07-08-2010 at 10:14 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshen View Post
Coach Shinji noticed that I was kicking too soon in my arm cycle. I would kick about right when the arm was entering into the water. But he said that was too early
If it makes this Stroke Thought any easier, I have long focused on using a toe-flick to drive the hand to its target.
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  #8  
Old 07-08-2010
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
FOr having little direction/instruction in the mechanics of the pull, I htink your observations are spot on.

By focusing on the spearing arm and body roll, the "pull" of the opposite arm will happen as a natural leveraging action of the body roll.

So go ahead and initiate the catch as you have nicely described it, getting yoru "grip" on the water. Then have sole focus on rotation of your core and spearing your lead arm as it parts the water in front of you.
I think this is one of the most difficult points to achieve for those with below average flexibility. By the time your forearm is at 90 degress to your body you are at least halfway through the rotation already. So unless you are specifically gifted you pretty much have to learn to live with less than ideal catch.
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  #9  
Old 07-08-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rincewind View Post
I think this is one of the most difficult points to achieve for those with below average flexibility. By the time your forearm is at 90 degress to your body you are at least halfway through the rotation already. So unless you are specifically gifted you pretty much have to learn to live with less than ideal catch.
For certain.

See my other post titled: Semantics: High Elbow vs. Forward Elbow. I'd appreciat your thoughts.
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Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #10  
Old 07-09-2010
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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Default i focus on the connection of the feet to the hands in freestylin' crawlin'

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
With core based swimming,
the kick helps initiate the core rotation which drives the arm forward.
The timing may not be something you can notice as an observer
when done well, but is something you can experiment with.

Kick early, kick late, spear early, spear late.
play with it and see how it feels.
so maybe the conclusion is early or late BUT can or could it beAT THE SAME TIME?
& i appreciation Suzanne!
and let the EXPERIMENTS BEGIN

Last edited by splashingpat : 09-10-2010 at 05:00 PM.
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