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  #1  
Old 05-08-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Default Taming of the legs (pt.2?)

Being cut off from the internet proper is a problem. After writing all of this (offline) I think I just have to get myself some longs fins as Stuart recommended last time (and I'd forgotten!). BUT maybe my "insights" might prompt ssome more suggestions from you helpful folk (and just to say hi!)

Since I posted my first pool video here 3 months ago I have been focused on taming my kick and lurching distortions. Until I videoed myself again I'd thought I'd been making progress (it was just that the numbers didn't show that), however in the new videos I've managed to get I can detect no difference at all in my stroke.

So, I was (again) wanting to ask for suggestions on how to tame my kick.

After watching the first new video, horrorstruck, my plan was: a. to correct over rotation of hips and: b. to straighten arm immediately after hand entry. I've MAYBE had a tad of success with the latter but again, no matter how hard I focus, or on what, the rest stays pretty much identical. In fact it seems that the more I focus the worse it all gets(sadly the inverse of this approach does not hold! Very Zen!).

The odd inward curving movement of my spear does encourage a pushing down linked to the breath, but imo that is not its cause. A longwhile ago I started trying to eliminate any pushing down that there might have been by relaxing my spearing arm. In the water though when relaxed my arm naturally forms the curve. So, I must learn to hold it straight while at the same time making sure it is relaxed. I can do that, but it seems to require a heap of concentration to unlearn my habit, especially as straightening the arm has such a knock on for rotation and therefore everything else.

Towards the end of my last 3km session, made up mostly of 50m intervals, I "gave up" and began to swim in a more drill-like manner, pausing my arm at my hip in order to feel my balance (the skate edge + relaxed and straight spear). When swam like this I began to feel the uplift of buoyancy when my recovery arm went into the water so I tried to 1. balance the two sides and 2. get my breathing to fit with the buoyancy lift. Breathing became more relaxed/easy when I did so. (all sounds a bit like your approach Sclim)

The balance on my non-breathing side (whichever side that was at the time) sometimes felt quite good but on the breathing side was often so poor that it led to an over-rotation that would have rolled me over onto my back if I didn't --- lurch and pull back my kick leg "to the surface" to balance it out! This lurching movement then feeds into the good" side in the second half of the stroke and so on. Arrgghh!

My breathing feels locked in synch with a "theoretical" part of the stroke, probably the spear, in a way that does not let it respond to what's happening in the stroke, differing tempos etc. As it is far easier to breath when synched into the recovery arm entry i.e to the uplift force, and thence into rotation, I am assuming that all parts of the stroke, if done competently, tie into this uplift. Putting the cart before then horse and locking my breathing to a particular movement irrespective of how well timed that movement is will always throw it out if the overall timing is not perfect (a big ask!). I feel I somehow need to "delink" it (maybe from arm movements). Not sure how to go about this either. Thoughts?

In short, I've concluded that my basic problem is that my timing is off, and that this has now become ingrained after swimming on my "plateau" for the last two years. My plan is to do more of the above slow, drill-like swimming (and get those fins!).

Any other thoughts/advice welcome.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #2  
Old 05-08-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Default vids ...

Health Warning: these are terrible quality (technical reasons - the original is great quality).

The almost fisheye lens is apparently an advantage of the basic GoPro Hero, as it delivers "delivers the world’s most immersive field of view"!

I'm the one in the "orange" cap.

1. from the end
2. a bit more side
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #3  
Old 05-09-2015
Streak Streak is offline
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Hi and great to see you back here.
I am a hacker myself but for what it's worth here are my observations.
You are breathing every stroke which I have never seen anyone do before. This left side right side motion is really causing you to lose a lot of balance, not giving you a chance to stabilize between strokes and as a result your legs are splaying out to compensate.

I think this could also be effecting your bent elbow on your reach as you are still trying to recover from the over rotation.

I have never used one except for diving, but maybe a snorkel would help you find your rhythm by eliminating all the head turning. Once you get the feel for what you should be doing then change your breathing to every second stroke and ultimately to bilateral every 3rd stroke. Having said this, as much as I have tried I have been unable to breathe every 3rd stroke.

No doubt the experts will chime in but that my sixpence worth.

Oh and shout if you want help with the video quality issues.
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Old 05-09-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Being cut off from the internet proper is a problem.
Hi Talvi, been wondering why we hear so little from you these days. How is it that you are cut off from the internet? I envision you somewhere out on the tundra eating Caribou, but then you do have access to a swimming pool, so I guess it's not quite gotten to that...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Since I posted my first pool video here 3 months ago I have been focused on taming my kick and lurching distortions. Until I videoed myself again I'd thought I'd been making progress (it was just that the numbers didn't show that), however in the new videos I've managed to get I can detect no difference at all in my stroke.
I think you're being too hard on yourself. I remember your first pool video, and I believe I see a lot of progress in your stroke. Some of the problems you had back then are still plaguing you now, but not so much as before, and that is progress, although not perfection. So maybe you should go back to your old video and take a closer look.

I already voiced opinions on your first video, so I'll leave technical comments to others, but I would like to throw in some of my own experience with video and trying to cure chronic problems. The key word here is chronic. It is very hard for me to break my old bad habits although becoming aware of them is an important step in this process. If I concentrate on them for a while, I may actually have some days when they disappear, but as soon as I turn my attention elsewhere they are back. So, being diabetic, I have come to view some of these problems the same way I view controlling my diabetes. I don't have a cure for it, so I have to think in terms of working on it day in and day out for the foreseeable future. I judge from your latest video and comments that you have been doing that and, in my opinion, it shows. You are not cured, but you are a lot better under control.

I wish you good luck!
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  #5  
Old 05-09-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Hiya guys, and thanks!! :) I'm in the Outer Hebrides. Life is very slow here and the internet hasn't really arrived :D I have to go to WiFi establishments an hour's drive away from where I'm living. There's no 3G either, not anywhere on the islands, and even sending texts is a bit hit 'n miss. My ability to video here seems to have hit the buffers too but nil desperandum, I think I've hit a vein of potential progress - more anon! :)


I'm not breathing on both sides Streak, i.e every stroke, but I do alternate, some lengths breathing to one side and sometimes to the other.

Thanks also for your offer re video. Last time I used Google - uploaded the mega files and then downloaded again. This time the uplaod speed is so slow that would take about 10hrs per clip, just for the upload. So I used a free video compression prog called .. Free Video Compressor. That's where the problem is. I've got a few other ones but their all based on the same core code: ffmpeg.exe.



No Caribou here Danny :D just a lot of surly sheep and shaggy cattle! I'm afraid my ability to fend for myself in the widerness is limited by being devoid of a killer instinct. I've found I can't even put a worm on a hook!!

I can offer my own inout on chronic habits with roots lost in the mists of time. What I've found is that these only reappear, and even then only in a semblance of what they were before, if the supporting behaviours are not also incrementally changed. My experience of this is with regard to cruciate ligament injury, lumbar/sacral spine issues, and my XC skiing. Once I've found the issue I want to correct and acted on it my body seems to forget how to do it the old way! However, if the whole picture is not re-tuned and progress does not continue to "perfection", then compensating movements arise that create "new" problems that often closely resemble the old. If I drop the ball and don't continue to take care of business then my body steps in to keep the show on the road.

However, I have no experience with anything like diabetes (unless insomnia counts and I've made no progress with that at all). I wish you every success in keeping it under control.


Today I put into practice what I wrote of above - and it seemed to produce a rich vein. I swam as slowly as necessary to dig into what i was doing. Specifically I worked on:
1. getting full extension of my arm and keeping that extension on both sides equally. This was the bedrock.
2. finding air as a consequence of rotation/buoyancy; keeping my head relaxed (lying on a pillow) during the rotation; and breathing when the air arrived rather than at a specific moment. It turned out to be muich earlier than I've been getting it before.
3. at the end of the session i discovered the feeling of "slipping my arm into the sleeve" so started working on that too.

HOWEVER - I didn't focus on my legs, but checked in with them once in a while and hope, in the absence of anything else, that if I get on top of my rotation/balance issues, they'll sort themselves out! Today (and in the forseeable future) I focused on rotating along my long axis as smoothly and "metronomically" as I could. Often I would "ignore" my recovery, leaving my hand at my hip and skating during the early phase of recovery. That gave me the opportunity to get that relaxed and extended alignment, both on breathing and non-breathing sides, which I could/can then build out from.

Half way through the session i did alternate lengths at 1.65 and 1.1 TT. While my stroke was really waaay better, I felt the old habits surfacing so I stopped, figuring I probably needed to spend more than an hour sorting all this out!! The words: running and walking sprang to mind..!

With regard to Stuart's idea of using fins... that is also out here, except during club times!!! So, I'm still open to suggestions re: my errant legs :) I've a lot of things to do but I don't want to leave them out of the party.
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #6  
Old 05-09-2015
jafaremraf jafaremraf is offline
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Hmmmm ..... It's hard to tell whether the angle is exaggerating things, but I wonder if you are over rotating a bit; it almost looks like you're nearly vertical on occasions. If, and it is an if, you are this may cause you an excessive leg movement to get you back across to the other track. Focus on the hips making the switch rather than the legs... The legs will follow. It's a subtle difference I've found, but I visualise the hip literally sliding along a track and the effort to switch comes foremost from the core, not the legs. I speak from the experience of getting cramp occasionally, unfortunately, but I try and persevere, and this means swimming with very little leg action and I've found it doesn't hinder as much as I would have imagined. FWIW

Outer Hebrides eh? A little off the beaten track aren't you?

J
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  #7  
Old 05-10-2015
Streak Streak is offline
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OK Talvi. The video is not very clear, I see that you are turning your head to the non breathing side as if you are taking a breath there instead of just looking straight down.

A pro swimmer once told me I should try this and I used to do this until I started following TI. I then started focusing on keeping my head a still as possible when I wasn't rotating for a breath looking straight down at the line. It made a big difference to my balance.

I use MS Movie Maker to do the editing. It then allows you to save the movie in a number of different formats. I save it in HD format and then upload to Youtube. It also has an upload directly to Youtube mode but I have not tried it.

If this is going to take too long then save in a slightly lower resolution before doing the Youtube upload.
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Old 05-10-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Towards the end of my last 3km session, made up mostly of 50m intervals, I "gave up" and began to swim in a more drill-like manner, pausing my arm at my hip in order to feel my balance (the skate edge + relaxed and straight spear). When swam like this I began to feel the uplift of buoyancy when my recovery arm went into the water so I tried to 1. balance the two sides and 2. get my breathing to fit with the buoyancy lift. Breathing became more relaxed/easy when I did so. (all sounds a bit like your approach Sclim)
Talvi, I know I made a big deal before of trying to finesse my delayed exhalation to enhance my poor buoyancy. It has been only "sort of" successful, I see now, looking back.

The down side is that it has got me into a habit of holding my breath to a fault. I have always been more short of breath than I thought I should be. I realise now the reason is twofold -- one is that I am struggling more than I should be, and I am resolving to myself, yet again, not to embed struggle into my form. The other is that the breath holding is problematic firstly because of retained carbon dioxide, especially as I am experimenting with long TT intervals to improve my SPL, and secondly, the tension triggered by holding my breath contributes to my struggle. Also, trying to finesse the holding the breath to the end has largely failed because I see now that often I don't get a full exhalation so the next inhalation is incomplete (contributing to the sense of shortness of breath).

So now I have made a complete turnaround. I am abandoning the attempt to retain some lung expansion between breaths. Instead, I am trying to relearn natural slow continuous exhalation. So far there has been marked improvement in shortness of breath, and in relaxation. This has helped to improve my swimming range before needing to rest. The discouraging thing is that there is noticeable further sinking. But I am compensating by rotating my head so my mouth still gets to air.
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  #9  
Old 05-10-2015
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Talvi

Not sure if this means anything, but in your 2nd video it looks as if your right arm (when spearing), the hand drifts upward and instead of the whole arm being straight, your forearm drifts to the centerline. It appears that the forearm is about 45 degrees to the upper arm. I agree that the video isn't very clear, so maybe what I am seeing isn't what is really happening.

Sherry
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  #10  
Old 05-10-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Hi Talvi,

I think your stroke looks basically sound. No real problems with timing and the knee kicking isnt as bad as I remembered.

Main thing I see is the overrotation and the centersteering spearing arm.
I wonder about your shoulder flexibility.
Its like the arm is moving in a curved motion following the path from a rounded office workers back instead of pointing straight and forward going from a torso with a straight back and hip plane.
There is a big difference between feeling water pressure on the top of your arm and the top of your shouilders ( what you are likely feeling now),
and the feeling of pointing the arm to the other end of the pool and feeling water under the armpit towards the elbow.
Are you sure you focus on keeping the elbow lifted on a string (marionette arm) all the way from recovery to catch?

I am practising a new dryland drill lately to mimic the basic push your body over your anchor point body feeling.
If you are interested, you can try it.
Lay face down on a matras, ideally with a wooden boarding around it.
Eyes or forehead at the edge of the matras.
Now do the superman. Make yourself as long as possible.
Extend arms and legs.
Point toes.
Lift extended arms and legs from the matras. Feel the weight of the whole body on the part between hips and chest.
Watch your lower back. Are you keeping the lower back straight?
Tilt the pelvis in neutral position and keep it there with some extra core tension.
Now, from this position, keep the elbow at the same or slightly higher height, and while keeping the hand and forearm in line, lower this hand and forearm paddle.
Place the hand on the side of the matras at shoulder with and press on the side of the matras.
The inside of the elbow and the upper arm is not allowed to touch the edge of the matras while you do this!
When you press with the hand on the side of the matras or the wooden surrounding of the matras, keep the rest of the body in superman position with one arm and 2 legs extended and lifted a bit.
One arm extended, other arm bend with high elbow, hand trying to push your body forward over the matras.
Keep this tension for a few seconds, now extend the arm againn to go in 2 arm superman again etc.
If you do a few switches between one arm supermaqn-one arm highelbow push on the side, you can watch the tension in your hand if you go back to 2 arm extended superman.
The tendency is to have tension in the hand and curve the fingers upward.
Do the same with relaxed hands only focussing on shoulders and elbows.
Allso watch tension in the neck. do the exercis with relaxed neck and hands.
Another point: can you keep the extended arm and rest of the body in the same shape while you go from high elbow to extended armshape with the other arm?
I find remembering the basic core and arm tensions in this drill and using them in the pool comes pretty close to a good pencil shape body pushed past an anchored arm.

Now about shoulder flexibility.
Elite swimmers probably can keep the matras edge at the top of their head and still manage to stay in superman shape while one hand is pushing against the side of the matras and nothing else exept the belly is touching the matras.
Normal people can probably do the superman with one arm, but the elbow of the otherr pushing arm will be touching the side of the matras if they try this. Its impossible to keep the elbow high enough to clear the edge of the matras.
By moving the edge of the matras lower to about schoulder level, it becomes more easy to find a vertical plane for hand and forearm to push against the side of the matras while keeping the upperarm clear of the matras.
So, the position of the edge of the matras where you can keep a high elbow is a measure of shoulder flexibility.

Whatever your flexibility level, moving a little toward the elites flexibility and core tension-control is always a good idea, isnt it?

What has it all to do with taming the legs?
If the font and total bodyline is more stable, less leg movement is needed for extra rebalancing.
And try to keep that head motionless when you dont breathe.
Thats also going to make your body track more straight and stable.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 05-10-2015 at 07:37 PM.
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