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Old 07-27-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Default The Butterfly NAD Drill - Streamline / Balance exercise

Hi Ti Community

I've promised to myself that I wasn't going to propose any ideas related to the Freestyle stroke, that could clash with values put forward by Total Immersion.

But since the Butterfly room is kind of quiet, I'm thinking that this embargo shouldn't apply to this stroke ;-)

So here's my NAD (which stands for No-Arm-Drill) applied to Butterfly.

Description:
The NAD is basically butterfly without the arms. All other elements remain the same. It's purpose is to build a very strong foundation (base), which relies 100% on balance and streamlining, upon which it becomes possible to develop a stroke perfectly suitable for swimming the Fly perpetually.

Perpetual Butterfly Swimming:
I believe it is very beneficial for anyone wanting to compete, especially over the 200m event, to build the confidence that it's possible to swim the fly over much longer distances. Obviously, if you can swim the Fly for 400-800m non stop, a 200m becomes merely a formality.

Balance:
It remains the strongest force which can allow you to swim at the surface with as little efforts as possible.

Breathing:
The biggest statement that the NAD tries to issue, would be that it is possible to breathe in without using your hands/arms at all. The key element to NAD in this regard, and I'm well aware that it contredicts some of the TI Principles, is that the head **must** move up and down. It is absolutely crucial in order to allow the body to naturally surface.

History:
The NAD was first created back in the '90s. In 2010, this way of performing the Fly Undulation was accepted by the FINA as an alternative way of performing the famous 15m of kicking prior pulling out. I tested this acceptance personally during a competition over a 200m Fly event. In other words, during this event, I did 15m of NAD followed by 10m of Fly. Obviously, the main benefit of the NAD over the Underwater Dolphin Kick is that NAD allows you to breathe in. I therefore ended up swimming only 80m of Butterfly off 200m in total. Result came down to 3min10 I believe, good enough for Gold that day in my AG.

Transfering the NAD *feeling* into your full stroke:
One of the great things about the NAD, is that it's a drill that can be performed at various speed. It's excellent to use a Tempo Trainer to guide you along with this process. When I swim the full stroke, especially at a fast pace, all I'm thinking about is the NAD. I'm not thinking about pulling at all. It happens naturally. The last demonstration proposed below is an example of a 50m Butterfly done in a competiton, and during which I was only thinking NAD-NAD-NAD.....

Demonstration at a very slow pace, over water view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p15jmC95ZI
(notice near the end of the clip, I add one arm to turn the NAD into Single-Arm Fly. This was done to demonstrate that the Timing remains exactly the same)

Demonstration at a faster pace (ie, 41sec over 50m), over water view:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnxvdnu3Bn0

Demonstration at a slower pace, under water view:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K5DPz_acyY
(same thing here, near the end I'm adding a few full butterfly strokes, very relaxed, just to show how close the NAD and the full stroke are timing wise)

Demonstrating the Full stroke over 50m, with a strong focus on the NAD aspect:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S1UQus-oYQ
(I'm the one who jump on the block too early, that has a terrible start and turn, but yet manage to win the event. My undulation rate there reached over 50 cycles per minute, therefore over 100 kicks per minute)
(Also, it's worth noting that my preparation that year which resulted in 3 podiums at 50/100/200 fly involved no more than 6000m of swimming per week, 80% of which was performed at Fly. Very very often, I'd swim a 2000m session solely at Fly. No freestyle. Warmup cool down done at Butterfly. Very little sprint, mostly perpetual low level endurance butterfly swimming)

Once you master the NAD, it quickly becomes among the most relaxing things that can be performed in the water. It's much easier than the Freestyle in term of energy expenditure.

Obviously, ideas expressed in this proposal are all opened for debate!

Have fun!

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 07-27-2012 at 05:14 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-28-2012
Grant Grant is offline
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Hi Charles.
Thanks for your videos. A couple of points/comments.
In 2006 I went to New Paltz and had a days lesson with Terry on his approach to the Butterfly. He was advocating just one kick per stroke and it was less tiring. When I came home I unconously returned to the two kick rythum but retained a lot of the relaxation and ease that I experienced in New Paltz. At that time I was 71 and have had good years racing the fly. I am not a big man (5ft 9 in and 68 Kim) nor overly strong yet was able to set several 50m Canadian records in the 70-74 age group as well as the 75-79 group. Also some provincial records in the 100 and 200m events. I tell this not to brag (well okay maybe at little :0) ) but to extole the benefit of learning to relax while swimming the Fly. Which you do as well as Terry.
Re: head raises. In your video the head comes out of the water but it is still in line mostly with the upper body and then it dives forward. This is exactly what Terry stressed - bring the energy forward. I really think you two are on the same wave length regarding this issue.
Re: kick. I note that your knees bend more than I think mine do (note the word think). Do you advocate that much knee bend. I try to keep a tighter streamline than what I see you do. Maybe I am missing some propulsion.
Plan on doing your NAD on my next swim on Mon.
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Last edited by Grant : 07-28-2012 at 02:19 AM.
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  #3  
Old 07-28-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Hey thank you so much.. I was afraid to be somewhere in the left field with all this, but I just love this "stroke" so much. It's fast too. In some avg speed lane in your typical public pool, I sometimes perform solely this, drafting quite close behind someone and trying to hold a 1min/50m pace perpetually.

It's really the streamlining exercise that feels best I find.

But it does require flexible ankles though unfortunately, as you need some propulsion in order to experience the glide.

Em I creating too much drag bending the knees as such? Wooooo that may be long to answer.

Grant, I've recently made a very cool discovery, but I'm alone in my camp believing in this of course, I had never heard about this before. Some of my students have experienced this too though, so I know it's teachable.

Action/Reaction. Newton's third.

Picture yourself laying down on the floor, on your belly, arms in front, chin on the floor. Almost streamlined position, maybe little more relaxed. Now raise your legs up. You're laying down on our belly so elevating your legs will create a counter balance with the upper body, lower back muscles will contract etc. So maybe that in order to raise your legs, your upper body may raise slightly too. Upper body raise. That's quite handy at fly, if you want to lower the contributions from the hand to elevate your body to breathe in right?

So this is what I'm doing when I perform the NAD. I'm exploiting what most people consider as a recovery phase (the legs). I get some support (this is something I very clearly feel), push gently against it, and it contributes to *change the angle* of my upper body. Upper body direction shifts from downward to upward. And then, the fact of having delayed the 2e kick (75% of master swimmers show a second kick that's not in synch with body rotation), I kick when the body is already aligned upward.

I strongly believe that the recovery of the leg is just as useful as the downbeat, which obviously remains the most propulsive phase.

So maybe some of this knee bent is done to accentuate this.

Here, if you're not in a hurry, this is my slowest butterfly. This is something I ask my students. Show me your slowest, I want to see how it's balanced. Most most people swim the fly like this at slow speed / (ie, legs low head up). It's extremely hard to balance this stroke at slow speed, but it's a great venture. It begins by performing the stroke at your slowest. No worries if it's a tiny bit deep. It's normal. No power whatsoever put in the pull. 1min40 over 50

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MVseXW2f5c

Must feel as if your belly had to pass over a soft roll made of foam. Very enjoyable feeling. It tickles. Fly at that speed tickles your belly ;-)

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 07-28-2012 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 07-28-2012
Grant Grant is offline
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I am intrigued by what you are saying Charles. I have pretty flexible ankles, a lower back that is somewhat flexible although not like my youth by any means. What do you mean when you say the "2e" kick? I use the terms - kick in and kick out. Is 2e one of those?
It is intriguing in that I have never tried to swim the Fly as slow as possible. My sprint speed now is 22 sec/25m and my 100m time has become 1:55 down from 1:45 several years ago. Have not raced the 200 for a couple of years, my best was 4:09 with the full body suit.
When I swim slow 25m it is around 30/31 seconds. Will see how slow I can go on Monday and also play with the NAD. I am like a kid with a new toy.
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Old 07-28-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
I am intrigued by what you are saying Charles. I have pretty flexible ankles, a lower back that is somewhat flexible although not like my youth by any means. What do you mean when you say the "2e" kick? I use the terms - kick in and kick out. Is 2e one of those?
Yep. In this case then the second kick has to be your kick out. My proposal is that the upbeat that occurs just before the downbeat of this kick out helps your upper body to shift direction from downward to upward, thus facilitating the breathe in.

If you look back at the NAD video clip, you can clearly notice that. Look at the body undulating, you'll notice that just before the upper body experiences a shift from downward to upward, you have this upbeat of the leg kick, the upbeat that occurs just before the kick out.

I made this discovery after a few people complained (on a french forum) that they had difficulty breathing in without the help of their hands. They would complain that a very strong and tiring kick out was required. When I read this, I went back to the pool to see if I could perform the NAD without any kick out (I didn't have much expectations, but that was *just to see*).

To my big surprise, I could, and it was so easy that now it was clear that there had to do something I was doing to find this drill so easy whilst some other would find it difficult. Then I felt it.. I felt that it was actually the upbeat preceding this kick out (which I was holding for the purpose of this experiment) that was responsible for that.

Important disclaimer though, Professor Ernest W. Maglischo did not agree with my findings. Therefore there will need to be some research done in order to get this recognized by higher authorities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
It is intriguing in that I have never tried to swim the Fly as slow as possible. My sprint speed now is 22 sec/25m and my 100m time has become 1:55 down from 1:45 several years ago. Have not raced the 200 for a couple of years, my best was 4:09 with the full body suit.
These numbers are very impressive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
When I swim slow 25m it is around 30/31 seconds. Will see how slow I can go on Monday and also play with the NAD. I am like a kid with a new toy.
A good approach to it might just be to start with single arm drill, breathing on the side, then at some point let the active arm joining the passive one in front, then pursue with no arm and switch for breathing in the front instead.

DO focus on the kick in. It should normally allows for an enjoyable glide.
DO LOOK through the hole you're about to break through to breathe in, before actually breathing in. Moving your head up in this manner will facilitate the change of direction that your upper body must experience in order to breathe in easily.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 07-28-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-28-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Charles,

Your approach is really not all that radically different from Terry's approach but you approach yours from the legs forward almost with yoru description of the counterbalancing that connects leg movement with upper body movement.

When Terry teaches the butterfly he actually starts at the opposite end of the body...legs passive hands oustrerched resting on the surface. The smallest of all possible "flips" of the hands to flip them outward adn back to the surface. Picture the smallest possible butterfly "stroke" performed by a tiny person whose arms are teh size of your hands.

This "stroke" causes a reaction of the body submerging slightly and the legs, which are passive, will deflect UPWARD. This is essentially the same reaction bu tin a different direction from what you are describing.


The other big difference is that Terry does teach taht head moves energy forward, the upward component comes from bouyancy returning the body to the surface. rather than leading up changing the attitude of the head adn lifting it out of the water, the body returns to the surface and as it does so, the stroke (be it the tiny stroke above or a bigger stroke approachign the full stroke) assists that upward return to the surface.

The initally passive reaction of the legs is then harnessed intoa single kick to engage the body back to streamline.

So different order, but same process of action/reaction relaxation of as many parts as possible. The only part that I woudl nto adopt of your description is the tilting of the head upward when breathing...I try to maintain a neutral angle of the head so as not to create much cervical motion. AS a youngster it didn't bother me at all, but now after lumber surgery in my 30s and on again off again neck pain (mostly off thanks to posture & core exercises & frequent massage), I try not to do anythign in the pool or on the bike that causes neck strain or stress.
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  #7  
Old 08-14-2012
CoachKevin CoachKevin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Hi Ti Community
I've promised to myself that I wasn't going to propose any ideas related to the Freestyle stroke, that could clash with values put forward by Total Immersion. But since the Butterfly room is kind of quiet, I'm thinking that this embargo shouldn't apply to this stroke ;-)
Charles, unless I mistake what you're saying/showing, it doesn't clash with TI teaching, it is TI teaching. It looks exactly like a time-honored (to me at least) drill known as, Hand Lead Body Dolphin. I still teach this as a way to introduce swimmers to the concept of gravity/bouyancy as a way to outsmart the water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
The NAD is basically butterfly without the arms. All other elements remain the same. It's purpose is to build a very strong foundation (base), which relies 100% on balance and streamlining, upon which it becomes possible to develop a stroke perfectly suitable for swimming the Fly perpetually.
I'd love to see the other drills that complement this one to completely build your fly foundation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
The biggest statement that the NAD tries to issue, would be that it is possible to breathe in without using your hands/arms at all. The key element to NAD in this regard, and I'm well aware that it contredicts some of the TI Principles, is that the head **must** move up and down. It is absolutely crucial in order to allow the body to naturally surface.
I'm not aware that keeping the head still is a TI dictate. When I teach Body Dolphins, I allow the swimmers to move the head up & down a lot at first until they "get" the big picture. A large part of that is figuring out the timing to breathe just as bouyancy pushes them through the surface. As they improve the undulation, the head moves less independently, but still always maintains some subtle movement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
The NAD was first created back in the '90s.
I'd love to know who it's creation is attributed to...

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesCouturier View Post
Demonstration at a slower pace, under water view:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K5DPz_acyY
(same thing here, near the end I'm adding a few full butterfly strokes, very relaxed, just to show how close the NAD and the full stroke are timing wise)
The following link shows a TI Israel coach demonstrating Hand Lead Body Dolphins. The main difference is that your drill is kick intensive, but the video shows a core/chest intensive activity.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txPtnzaAwrY

Looking forward to your replies as it's always good grist for the mill to find out how other folks learn their craft...
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  #8  
Old 08-14-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Hi Kevin, you may be right I donno, and I'd be glad that my works be inline with TIs

As for the NAD, it is really what it is, No-Arm-Drill, all other elements remain intact. Most of the time hand led dolphin kick drills do not make any distinction between first and second kick, and do not insist on implementing the fly specific breathing pattern.

Try your usual single-arm fly drill. That's fly minus 1 arm breathing on the side. Now remove that only arm, breathe in the front, and there you get the NAD.

Over the last 7 years, I came across one swimmer (not a coach) who did create the same drill, with respect to every single element. A swimmer met on USMS, living in Croatia I believe. Therefore I certainly can not claim the paternity of this drill (I've never really thought that it can be possible to claim having invented a drill, with so many talented young rooster all over the world, how many pools around the world, a million maybe?).

But I remain the one that supports, documents, and teaches this. Since I'm the NAD guy (having created the Freestyle-Nad as well).... I kind of feel responsible for its development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachKevin View Post
I'm not aware that keeping the head still is a TI dictate. When I teach Body Dolphins, I allow the swimmers to move the head up & down a lot at first until they "get" the big picture. A large part of that is figuring out the timing to breathe just as bouyancy pushes them through the surface. As they improve the undulation, the head moves less independently, but still always maintains some subtle movement.
this is awesome really. Head movement plays a big role in the ability to breathe / recover the arms with no efforts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachKevin View Post
I'd love to know who it's creation is attributed to...
Like I said, it's impossible to figure this out. When I finally write down a formal article about it, I'll make it clear. I did invent it for myself in that no one around me showed me the way. I support it, but it's impossible to claim having been the first to think about such a simple concept, ie removing the arm to the single-arm drill execution.

As for your other question in regards to the other drills I use, the NAD is just the first portion of a NAD-to-Full progression, which involves:
1/4 done at NAD
1/4 done at Single-Arm
1/4 done with the other arm
1/4 done full stroke
(so performing a 200m NAD-FULL involves 50m NAD, 50m L-Arm, 50m R-Arm, 50m Stroke)

So I do use the single-arm drill extensively as well (breathing either on the side, or in the front). Other than that, I use my vertical pulling drill and obviously, its brother the vertical kicking drill.

That's about it, for the last 2 semester of Perfecting your Freestyle stroke class I taught, and which is my only involvement in teaching the Fly.

And you? I would really love to hear how you teach the hand led dolphin drill, as you may be teaching the NAD, who knows. You'd be the second person I'd find doing this, and I'd be **glad** (sucks to be alone sometimes LOL)

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 08-14-2012 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 09-14-2012
Danny Danny is offline
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Charles a lot of what you say makes sense to me, but there is one difference which may just be vocabulary. You talk about raising your head, and I think of this as arching my back and actively seeking the surface. When your head goes up, your hips go down and the downward motion of the hips raises your body closer to the surface. I started out trying to do fly the way I understand Terry to be teaching it. If I understood this correctly, he says wait for buoyancy to bring your chest up. This allows you to glide a lot. But then I discovered that by actively seeking the surface by arching my back it feels like I use less energy. One more anecdote. I got a 15-year old competitive swimmer to watch my butterfly and she asked if I have trouble arching my back. Young people seem to have a lot more flexibility, but I would like to see what she says now that I am actively trying to do this. Maybe at some point I'll get another chance to show her. Anyway, actively seeking the surface seems to save energy for me. At the end of my workout I try 1 length of butterfly and I am usually tired, so it doesn't go so well. Then I say to myself, on the way back, pick up the pace a little. When I pick up the pace all of a sudden it feels easier.
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Old 09-14-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Charles a lot of what you say makes sense to me, but there is one difference which may just be vocabulary. You talk about raising your head, and I think of this as arching my back and actively seeking the surface. When your head goes up, your hips go down and the downward motion of the hips raises your body closer to the surface. I started out trying to do fly the way I understand Terry to be teaching it. If I understood this correctly, he says wait for buoyancy to bring your chest up.
What? Did he say this? Did he feel this?

This is one of the best possible feelings you can get at fly, and you got to do it. And it can be accelerated, and it can be accelerated quite fast. I race a 50m at 112spm (half cycles, but still...). And I get drunk by this feeling all the way through.

Frankly, it is very very well expressed, Terry is an astonishing communicator. I'm afraid I'm going to have to quote this.

My best analogy so far was to refer to the feeling I get with the upper body? The chest? As all of a sudden becoming made of the same material as Wine Bottle tops? You know these funny tops you got to remove with a remover? It's made of Liege (in french). I get the feeling that my upper body becomes like this. It just goes up by itself. No energy required to surface.

That's why I was so pissed to see the HC of our National team letting a female 200m specialist (fly) breathing every 2. No need for that when your fly is well balanced. I tested it. 30.03 without breathing (2 our 3 breaths), 30.3 breathing every cycle.

Fascinating. Search for this mate, that's awesome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
This allows you to glide a lot.
There I disagree a bit, the glide depends on what follows, ie how well aligned your body is (to get streamlined) when you push your first downbeat kick. The patient thing... (see? too well expressed for me, I'll have to practice a bit) helps you NOT loosing momentum when you surface, and that spending as little energy as possible on second downbeat.

Those who have a poor balance.

Here. YOu want your typical fly? 80% of masters probably swim this way.

Fly is out of balance, lower body is always too low. Stronger kick is required to balance back to the surface. However, most do wait too long upon hand entry. They glide. And they don't display patient second kick. Therefore they spoil the second kick which occurs way way too early, arms haven't reached exit phase yet, this will make the recovery harder.

And since the balance is bad at the first place, they spend tremendous effort just recovering arms. Same ol same ol same ol same ol....

Tell me how slow you can swim the fly, while not loosing balance, and I'll tell you how good you really are.

I think it rocks that you should have discovered this. Congrats! By the way, *try the nad*, you can probably do it.

Last edited by CharlesCouturier : 09-14-2012 at 01:58 AM.
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