2 Tips to stop feet splaying out / Scissor kicking

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2 Tips to stop feet splaying out / Scissor kicking

Post by mushroomfloat on Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:00 pm

Swimming today i picked up on my left leg splaying out for balance when breathing to the right and i remembered a tip i got, which i duly applied and it came back into line nicely, so i will share:

1.(A) When breathing the lead arm needs to stay out to support that breath (catch when you turn head back down)
the lead arm often collapses or drifts down to early causing the same side foot to scissor out to restore balance

1.(B) In order for said lead arm to support that breath the pulling arm cannot go back too far, if the pulling arm goes back too far when breathing to that side it causes the lead arm to drop and foot to scissor out to restore balance

1.(c) if anyone is using ankle bands to try and correct a leg splay try pulling short on the breathing side arm strokes i.e exit at waist not thigh i guarantee this will keep your legs streamlined all the time and you wont get another scissor out of the legs.

I use a forearm / hand circle to exit with a semi bent elbow recovery w

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Re: 2 Tips to stop feet splaying out / Scissor kicking

Post by Don Wright on Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:52 am

mushroomfloat wrote:Swimming today i picked up on my left leg splaying out for balance when breathing to the right and i remembered a tip i got, which i duly applied and it came back into line nicely, so i will share:

1.(A) When breathing the lead arm needs to stay out to support that breath (catch when you turn head back down)
the lead arm often collapses or drifts down to early causing the same side foot to scissor out to restore balance

1.(B) In order for said lead arm to support that breath the pulling arm cannot go back too far, if the pulling arm goes back too far when breathing to that side it causes the lead arm to drop and foot to scissor out to restore balance

1.(c) if anyone is using ankle bands to try and correct a leg splay try pulling short on the breathing side arm strokes i.e exit at waist not thigh i guarantee this will keep your legs streamlined all the time and you wont get another scissor out of the legs.

I use a forearm / hand circle to exit with a semi bent elbow recovery w
  Your comment in the above "quote" that I have high-lighted in red, brought back a very uncomfortable/cringe-making memory. On the first (and last!!!) time I had my FS efforts videod - apart from faults like dragging the legs through the water and a "swan arm" at the start of pulls - there was one glaring and ridiculous fault - the one in your high-lighted comment!  I prefer to  inhale on my right side, but the video clip (mercifully now "retired" from YouTube I think!) showed my left ankle had twisted out of alignment with the left leg, and the left foot was splayed out to the left side in a crazy manner.   The old SS forum members who saw it were very kind in their comments - but "SolarEnergy" the Canadian coach said he thought it was evidence of tension in my body. IMO it is important when swimming to do a quick periodic monitor check around the body (arm/leg action) on what we are actually (rather than what we hope) we are doing!

Re your tip (A) - I am probably very much out-of-date now  but I understood that when obeying Maglischo's "body roll mantra" - the inhalation could be started during the push phase or up-sweep to the surface by the stroking arm, because then the hip on that inhalation side would be tilted out of the way of the rising arm as it completed it's UW stroke.  Also the initial body roll towards the entering arm helped the other arm to clear the water as it started it's recovery - arms "kayaking"!

 However!!! - it seems to me, that a lot of FS swimmers today, are using an arm action style in which the inhalation is started soon after the arm enters/extends on the inhalation side - while the body is in  a flatter posture (i.e. "Goodbye" to the old body-roll mantra!?).  Must admit that I tend to use this "more modern?" inhalation timing for inhalation, when using an "arm-catch-up" FS style, and also when doing inhalation on every FS 3rd arm stroke, when the time comes around to do the inhalation on my "less happy" inhalation side, to avoid balance problems.

When one tries to get the arms moving in a more continuous manner (a "mite" faster - eliminating any glide - but making the non-propulsive down-sweep to a catch slightly slower than the other UW stroking arm phases - and the "disposition" of the arms such that the lead arm is nearly, or, at the catch as the rear arm starts recovery.  Taking care that only one arm is actually doing propulsive work at any time, so as to avoid water flow conflicts) - the momentum forwards is such that possible balance problems are so short-lived as to almost be ignored.

Perhaps am in a "fools paradise" (what you don't know, you can't worry about!) in thinking that one needs only, when doing the "periodic round the body" check, to keep the feet fluttering in the recommended way - toes close together, ankles tilted slightly inwards to give a relaxed pigeon-toed presentation of the insteps, and big toes almost brushing against each other  - with heels a few inches apart as the feet pass up/down! I.E. keeping a "tidy" tail-end - not a "propeller" with it's "blades" all over the place!

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Re: 2 Tips to stop feet splaying out / Scissor kicking

Post by mushroomfloat on Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:50 pm

Yes i swim the FQS 3/4 catch up style with an early breath now i think about it just breathing earlier should keep the legs inline as opposed to breathing later on the upsweep (same result as cutting the pull shorter on the breath i imagine) breathing late on the upsweep will cause the legs to scissor for balance

i think with the catch up style there is also rotation of the shoulders in the fore & aft planes as well as hip / body roll

This "roll towards the arm going down and roll away from the arm coming up" mantra is interesting and i often wonder what it means since if you roll towards the arm going down are you not automatically rolling away from the other arm coming up?

or is this where shoulder fore & aft plane rotation comes in? with some sort of longitudinal twist throught the torso putting a delay in between rolling down and rolling up?

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Re: 2 Tips to stop feet splaying out / Scissor kicking

Post by Don Wright on Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:02 am

mushroomfloat wrote:Yes i swim the FQS 3/4 catch up style with an early breath now i think about it just breathing earlier should keep the legs inline as opposed to breathing later on the upsweep (same result as cutting the pull shorter on the breath i imagine) breathing late on the upsweep will cause the legs to scissor for balance

i think with the catch up style there is also rotation of the shoulders in the fore & aft planes as well as hip / body roll

This "roll towards the arm going down and roll away from the arm coming up" mantra is interesting and i often wonder what it means since if you roll towards the arm going down are you not automatically rolling away from the other arm coming up?

or is this where shoulder fore & aft plane rotation comes in? with some sort of longitudinal twist throught the torso  putting a delay in between rolling down and rolling up?
Yes!!! -  Maglischo wrote of  the body roll mantra in his tome "Swimming Fastest", after examining the performance of elite swimmers at that time.


When, despite angina problems I "went back to serious( Rolling Eyes ) swimming" for gentle exercise circa 2001 (after previously going just once a week for "a little paddle", due to deep absorption in other interests)  - I "devoured" the info on FS in Maglischo's tome and tried to put the ideas into practice.  This meant the old "S-bend" style UW arm action.  Starting the UW stroke with one arm outstretched and moving it gently out/down to a catch, there was very little automatic body roll involved in getting the arm down to the catch ready to start the curve of the almost semi-circular "in-sweep" - i.e. the action of drawing the arm back in the direction of the ribs on a circular arc.  This was the "era" when everyone went "overboard" on the idea that the longer one could make the UW stroke path - the more time it gave to apply muscular effort (this idea also found it's way into the UW arm action of back crawl, with the use of  "double pulls and double pushes", separated by intermediate phases of raising the stroking arm nearer to the body and closer to the surface, before starting a second pull or push) - and hence move faster! (Well that was the idea at the time - since disproved!) However in FS, the action of drawing the arm closer to the ribs on a circular arc, automatically produced a strong body roll, deeper onto the water on the side of that arm.  Hence the first part of the mantra - "Roll towards the arm going down".  Am not sure how the other part of the mantra "..and roll away from the arm coming up." originated - but certainly, one can put a lot of "oomph" into the "push phase" and the idea that one ought to move the hip out of the way of the arm coming up to the surface "caught on". Perhaps the application of extra "oomph", was facilitated by a body roll away from the arm coming up to the surface - pushing the water back/out! "A propos" the latter business, I remember with some amusement, a tip that ex-Olympic five-time gold medallist sprinter Tom Jager gave on a DVD to some kids he was coaching "Try to fling as much water as you can on the side-deck, as you push your arm back up to the surface!" - not very elegant, but effective!


When by chance, I later came across the SwimSmooth website/forum shortly after it's start - I tried their ideas of how one should do the UW arm stroke - and found to my surprise that the body roll was not automatic (the arm's UW path being only a very gentle "C" curve) - and that I had to take deliberate action myself if I wanted to obey the old body roll mantra!

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Re: 2 Tips to stop feet splaying out / Scissor kicking

Post by mushroomfloat on Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:56 pm

Yes, i follow KPN's teaching and she says "V wide to V narrow"
ie enter and catch wide but the arm draws back into the body on the pull then relaxes and sweeps out 45deg into the recovery.

I triained it alot on dryland and basically you trace a teardrop shape with each arm the fat bottom of the teardrop being the circular exit into the recovery
i found if i trace a teardrop shape one arm at a time then i get a nice long fast glide in a 3/4 catch up style
(i try to put 3 kicks into each extension to power through any deadspots at the front)

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