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  #1  
Old 06-14-2011
caronis caronis is offline
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caronis
Default Stroke Counting in Breast, Back, and Butterfly

I am curious about Terry's opinion on this, but want to hear from anyone else who has interesting input.
I have been using the DVD's the last year to refine my stroke in all styles, but I am now focusing on Freestyle Stroke Counting. For now, I am paying less attention to the other styles. I swim them, but I don't count the strokes or pay too much attention to my time.
Whenever I have heard Terry speak to Stroke Counting, it seems like it always revolves around Freestyle.
Does Stroke Counting have it's place with all the styles? Does anyone really do it much?
I know that some of you might say that if you compete in one of the styles or it is your favorite, then that would be a reason for doing it. But I find stroke counting the other styles awkward for some unknown reason.
My intuition seems to tell me that if I focus on Stroke Counting in Freestyle, then my Backstroke Count will naturally improve.
I also feel that with Breast Stroke, rather then counting the strokes, I pay attention to how I flow over the tiles.
And with Butterfly Stroke, being able to do it for the first time in my life, I am going by how I feel. The flow, rhythm, and effort.
I get the feeling that going by feel is better in these other strokes. For example, if I did the Butterfly in 8 strokes as opposed to 10, that would be less important than how my rhythm and effort felt. I'd rather do it 10 strokes and feel I could continue swimming more laps as opposed to doing it in 8 and being out of breath.
How do you all feel about it and is anybody really putting in the same Stroke Counting effort in these other styles.
Excuse me for posting this in more than one category, but I don't think it fits neatly into a single one.
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  #2  
Old 09-03-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caronis View Post
Whenever I have heard Terry speak to Stroke Counting, it seems like it always revolves around Freestyle.
Does Stroke Counting have it's place with all the styles? Does anyone really do it much?
Stroke counting is never an end in itself, but is simply designed to help you tune the efficiency of your stroke. I was rather surprised when I first started counting strokes in freestyle while using my SportCount ring lap timer and found that my lap time often decreased when I reduced my stroke count because I was swimming so much more efficiently!

Butterfly and breaststroke differ from the long axis strokes in that there is a body pulsing movement (sometimes called a body dolphin) that is central to both of these strokes. The two things to keep in mind are:

1) Your body has an ideal pulsing rate that you need to try to find.

2) This ideal pulsing rate is almost invariably slower than the rate at which most swimmers try to pulse.

Because of this, most swimmers benefit from trying to consciously slow down their rate of pulsing in butterfly and breaststroke. Your goal in doing this should not be to make this pulsing rate as slow as possible, but to find the rate that works best for your body. If counting strokes helps you to do this, then by all means count strokes!


Bob
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  #3  
Old 09-05-2011
terry terry is offline
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We actually give far less -- in fact no - emphasis to pulsing or body dolphins now, though we did from the early 90s to the early 00s. Our emphasis now is much more on sensing the interaction of two natural forces - Gravity and Buoyancy - and getting as much help from them as possible. However, to the original question, we do advocate stroke counting in all four strokes.
I explain how the counts for the various strokes should relate in the book, Extraordinary Swimming for Every Body.
My Backstroke SPL is generally one to two strokes higher, in a 25-yd pool than for freestyle at similar effort levels.
My counts for Fly and Breast are similar and about half my SPL for Free and Back. You can see a stroke-counting set example for Breaststroke in this thread and many more examples in the Favorite Practices and Sets conference.
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  #4  
Old 06-08-2012
Danny Danny is offline
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Terry, if my stroke count for butterfly is significantly higher than 1/2 my stroke count for freestyle, is that an indication of a problem? I have no way of filming myself and can't really see how good my grip on the water is when I do the fly. Should I be trying to get my stroke count for fly closer to half of what I have for freestyle? I do feel that I can usually glide pretty well after my arms go into the water in front of me, but it's hard to assess how much traction I am getting with my arm stroke. In this part of the stroke, I generally focus on keeping my hips down and timing my kick as the hands come out to make the over-water recovery easier.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny View Post
Terry, if my stroke count for butterfly is significantly higher than 1/2 my stroke count for freestyle, is that an indication of a problem?
Though I've never actually made any effort in increasing my DPS at Fly, my stroke count at that stroke will never ever be even close to 1/2 of my FS.

In fact, if I could only reach 9/25m whilst maintaining the same rate, that'd probably place me close to a podium over 50fly at next Worlds in 2014. But I'm not dreaming. Currently it's 11.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2012
CoachGaryF CoachGaryF is offline
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Given a push off of perhaps 6 yards per 25 yard pool length, my easy freestyle stroke count is 12 strokes (1:30 TT setting.) My fly count is more like 9 strokes per 25 yards.

But I don't think I'd bother comparing the two at all. I would be better off comparing my freestyle stroke count at a tempo that is of comparable intensity to my butterfly swim. My freestyle stroke count varies, up to 18 SPL if I'm sprinting. So my fly stroke count could be 75 percent of my free count or 50 percent of my free count depending on my freestyle stroke rate. If we want to assume that olympic gold medalists and world champions race each of their IM strokes at comparable intensities, you might want to look at these 400 IM stroke counts for Ryan Lochte ('12 Olympic champ) and Elizabeth Beisel ('11 world champ)(fly count is for second length of fly to eliminate the diving start):

Lochte: Fly = 19, Back = 30, Breast = 16, Free = 32
Beisel: Fly = 23, Back = 37, Breast = 23, Free = 43

Maybe those percentages (or ratios if you prefer) mean something?

Terry's fly and breast stroke counts are similar and roughly equal to his "1/2 stroke count for freestyle." Is that because he does butter frog? I can butter frog my way across the pool in 5 strokes (pretty decent breast kick), but traditional fly with dolphin kicking is nearly double (9 strokes.) My traditional fly is also a whole lot faster despite the extra strokes because the difference in stroke rate is quite dramatic. I think we should be clear which style of fly we're talking about.

For my fly to feel rhythmic in a competitive swimming manner I can't hang out in the front end of the stroke waiting for my buoyancy to bring me back to the surface longer than I can say "One Mississippi." If it takes longer than that I've submerged too deeply. And while deeper is often easier--competitive swimmers often fall into this 'traveling' butterfly when fatigued--it also results in loss of forward momentum. If you're doing butterfly for "every" body perhaps that doesn't matter.

Maybe we should have a video forum, because it's really hard to give proper guidance sight unseen.
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  #7  
Old 09-21-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Well, you raise a good point. It all depends on our priorities I guess, but the data I provided as to my own stroke count is definitely related to flat out sprinting, as this is why I swim the fly.

I'm not interested in my own stroke count at speed that wouldn't allow me to do well in my races.
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