"Smartening up"?

Go down

"Smartening up"?

Post by Don Wright on Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:39 am

Have come to realize that my efforts at doing 6-beat kicking in FS are worse than pathetic!  To remedy that I looked up Sheila Taormina's description of what I ought to be doing, and also referred back to those excellent diagrams in Maglischo's old tome. I don't seem to have very good "proprio-perception" so think it would be wise for me to concentrate on the proper 6-beat kick routine while doing 4-arm stroke inhalations - that will give me more time to observe/correct my faults!  As "Sprinter" knows well from his efforts to just help me doing flutter kicking while on my back - it turned out to be a rather "fruitless" task!  Am currently exploring other possible "avenues" to improvement.  A major problem in my case is that my feet are in a semi-frozen attitude (due to the ravages of arthritis),  the max angle between my shins and outstretched insteps is probably of the order of 115-120  degrees - if I attempt to "point the toes", the toe-end of my insteps do flex slightly - but the upper part towards the shins seems fixed - so on a FS flutter kick downbeat there is a high probability that I am "hooking" water forwards! Rolling Eyes

There seems however to be the possibility that by getting the foot much higher at the start of each kick downbeat - that I may be able to increase, what little effective range I have, for those "kick downs" - and this can be achieved by "pressing the buoy", pushing the head down below the level of the upper arm as I do the arm extension just after water entry following recovery.  My initial efforts at doing this seem to be most promising (just kicking while prone and head pushed down a bit) - so will pursue that line of thought!  This reminds me of some old advice that "SolarEnergy" gave us on the old SwimSmooth forum - in which he described as a young lad, how his coach bawled out to him to "Tap your feet on the surface!".  Yes I know it makes the stroke rather  "splashy" but it seems to work.  In all our strokes it seems most important that we strive to keep those darned legs up high.


Am not worried about problems in inhalation in FS while "pressing the buoy" for the major part of the stroke cycle - there seems to be a "buoyant reaction" to pressing the head down which aids getting the mouth clear of the water line at the required time.


Last edited by Don Wright on Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:45 am; edited 1 time in total

Don Wright

Posts : 148
Join date : 2017-07-11

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Smartening up"?

Post by Tom65 on Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:07 am

Don Wright wrote:

Am not worried about problems in inhalation in FS while "pressing the buoy" for the major part of the stroke cycle - there seems to be a "buoyant reaction" to pressing the head down which aids getting the mouth clear of the water line at the required time.

Probably helps form the bow wave, but that was a revelation to me when learning to swim, found I had to consciously press my head down and breathing became much easier, still check it from time to time, normally after an unexpected mouthful of water.
avatar
Tom65

Posts : 49
Join date : 2016-12-06

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Smartening up"?

Post by Don Wright on Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:06 am

Tom65 wrote:
Don Wright wrote:

Am not worried about problems in inhalation in FS while "pressing the buoy" for the major part of the stroke cycle - there seems to be a "buoyant reaction" to pressing the head down which aids getting the mouth clear of the water line at the required time.

Probably helps form the bow wave, but that was a revelation to me when learning to swim, found I had to consciously press my head down and breathing became much easier, still check it from time to time, normally after an unexpected mouthful of water.

Hi Tom!

When I wrote I don't seem to have very good "proprio-perception" - I didn't admit then, to the problem I've had in counting the number of kicks/cycle.  It is all too easy for me to cheerfully count 1-2-3 as I do the head-down stroke, and do the same as the other arm recovers - ah! - but does my counting actually tie up with the kicks I do - Doh! (Yeah, I know I shouldn't count till the kick is actually done!)  I did have a re-read of what Paul Newsome wrote in the SwimSmooth manual - about age-groupers 6-beat flutter kicking. Think he made the point it just needs to be a light action that helps keep the legs up near the surface - aiding balance but not providing much in the way of propulsion  (that can be left to the would-be sprinters)!  Have recently found that this business of "pushing the head down" while FS kicking, plus using the "passing the elbow" idea to give a stronger "push" up to the surface (particularly on the non-inhalation arm strokes) - seems to help me get along faster.  But I expect that means my feet break the surface a lot, producing a lot of "splosh" - but that ties up with what "SolarEnergy" told us on the old SS forum "Tap your feet on the surface!".  The "head pressed down" action must bring those legs up higher!  

As part of my usual routine I do a couple of lengths "pressing the buoy" leaving the legs absolutely idle - copied that idea from a "GoSwim" drill clip I once saw. The demo chap did quick normal FS arm action/snatched inhalations.  I suppose the head action does impart a bit of undulation along the rest of the body, so that might augment forward movement.  Also, I always need to do that "push down of the head" when doing FS with bilateral breathing - 'cos am very awkward inhaling on my "less happy" side.  So a "push down of the head" just before inhalation on that awkward side helps me avoid water intake mishaps, due to the subsequent buoyancy uplift.

As part of the general "smartening up" have spent time "re-styling"  Rolling Eyes  my back crawl.  Yonks ago I was using the "Maglischo described" double down-sweep/double up-sweep action for each arm's UW action.  Until arthritic problems in the wrist joints made that too painful to continue - so I reverted to doing a simple semi-circular arm sweep - until recently. Am now trying to take "on board" the arm action style described in Sheila T's book (Swim Speed Strokes) and find that a definite improvement over the simple semi-circular arm action.  It seems to involve more concentration on the orientation of the hand/forearm (pulling back till the stroking arm is in line with the shoulders, then pushing back/down a bit, till the hand is beneath level of the thigh, before releasing pressure on the water, prior to turning the palm on its side so as not to pull the hips down as the arm exits).  It doesn't require much wrist bending - plus, providing better forward movement than using the old semi-circular sweep.

On fly  (to which am deeply attracted!) I found it helpful to make up a simple mantra to get "into" each stroke once the arms have recovered from the previous stroke (or outstretched at push-off from the wall)  SHOVE (do a vigorous dolphin minor kick downbeat) - NOD (the head down below level of upper arms under-sides to initiate major kick upbeat, with feet breaking the surface) - then CATCH.   I haven't got as far as formulating a short mantra for the "guts" of the arm action yet . Smile There are a couple of actions that need to be almost simultaneous, so can't think of a brief single word to describe them.  The pull initially up fairly close to the surface needs to be started, focusing on pulling with the hands as they go a bit deeper - but then switching the focus to do the out/around action of the elbows to end up with them almost under the body with forearms/hands out front, in line with the rest of the body, hands below the head or neck probably.  Simultaneously the heels need to be brought up closer to the butt and the head raised in preparation for a later inhalation. The big up-sweep of the arms and the back/down action of the lower legs/feet kicking down, should enable us to get a safe inhalation.  No wonder I can't think of a single word to describe that lot!

Saw a young bloke recently doing a length of fly - arms going like bees wings, but little surface evidence of leg down-thrust to aid motion.  I noticed he was stretching his arms cautiously after doing that fly dash - so I suspect he found it rather a strain on the arms.  It just reminded me of the need to draw the elbows/forearms/hands in, almost under the body in preparation for the big up-sweep.  Without those seemingly dropped elbows - there is a lot of strain on the arms!

I haven't ingrained into my noddle yet, the habit of presenting the insteps of the feet at a good angle during the dolphin kick downbeats. Sometimes I remember, but most often don't  Sad  - too busy concentrating on what the rest of the body is doing (*)!  Think the big toes should be kept almost in contact throughout the kicking - but keep the heels together during kick upbeats, and just part them during the latter part of the kick downbeats - so as to present the insteps in a more effective direction. The major kick downbeat final phase of the lower legs/feet down-thrust, needs to be quite vigorous, so as to help "lever" the front end of the body higher to facilitate inhalation, otherwise the mouth may not clear the water line.


* The old YouTube video clips of "A Shaw way to fly" are in 3 "lesson" clips, and give a "leisure swimmer" aspect of fly stroke.  It lacks the detail of the proper arm/leg actions that should be attended to, for serious competitive swimming.  It is nevertheless well presented and most of us can find something useful that can be learnt from it! : -

Lesson 1 : -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QRElrG-NtQ

Lesson 2 : -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-YEAEN3amE

In the dry-land simulation "standing drill" of lesson 2, the "voice-over" says "Direct the knees forward" - to imitate the start of the major kick downbeat - before pulling the arms through. There is also, a brief section  (circa time 2:00 on the clip) on the "Breast-Fly" drill, in which the arms are recovered UW as in breast stroke - while the body does the normal fly stroke undulation/kicking - so as to avoid over-water arm recovery, which causes a quick re-entry of the head into the water due to the weight of the recovering arms etc,.  Think this drill is particularly good for those of us having difficulty snatching a breath in the  normally short inhalation window.  Initially, until the arm action is correct/effective (by which, I mean getting those elbows beneath the body and forearms/hands out in front, lower down, at about 45- 60 degrees below the surface!) - one can in "breast-fly" raise the head and inhale during the very early part of the pull, shortly after the catch.

 Personally, I find the following sequence helpful as a little prelude to doing a series of proper full strokes. Do a "head-down non-breathing" stroke (making sure those feet/ankles break the surface at the end of the major kick upbeat, so that when the heels are later drawn towards the butt - then the feet may disappear below the surface, but the lower legs are well positioned for the final "back/down thrust" phase of the major kick downbeat).  Then do a single "breast-fly" stroke in which the initial part of the arm's out-sweep, using a forearm/hand pressure down/back after the catch, with head raised, to help clear the mouth above the water line for a good early inhalation (as in proper breast stroke). Then repeat that 2 stroke sequence, till the "muscle memory" recalls what the action of a full fly breathing stroke should be!  Rolling Eyes

IMO, if one can't hear a little splash from the heels surfacing at start of the minor kick upbeat (done as the arms recover) - then that indicates faulty undulation, possibly a "hiccup" in what should be a continuous unbroken undulation, with a "rebound" upward after every "downward" action.

Towards the end of lesson (3) the "voice-over" says "Butterfly is arguably the most intelligent of the strokes!" - Hmmmm! Wink

It also shows the "demo lady" swimming a very relaxed long-ish distance fly in calm OW conditions.  (BTW I do like the quiet peaceful relaxing audio background throughout the clips, with occasional bird calls, "fishy" sounds, and on one occasion even a distant lawn-mower!) : -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDFQ5ccLQJ0

 Also, there is a final shot on the at the "credits" stage, showing a diagrammatic snaky body undulating continuously (BTW note the push-down of the head as the arms enter!) - that's what we should aim for, I think![/b]

Don Wright

Posts : 148
Join date : 2017-07-11

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: "Smartening up"?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum