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Lost Your Catch? Coach Mandy

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Lost Your Catch?   Coach Mandy Empty Lost Your Catch? Coach Mandy

Post by cottmiler Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:43 pm

I am enjoying Coach Mandy,s youtube videos on swim techniques and this particular one took my interest.

https://youtu.be/NlASMiee6XM

As with any drill it,s easy to do a few metres and think you have mastered it but that is most unlikely. After only a total of 3km of this I am finding that I need a more accurate kick since the catch is harder to locate with a closed fist. My body balance is poor too unlike coach Mandy. I think it is a very useful drill.

Conversely, a report on three top coaches views on a range of drills showed that none of them used the fist drill!

https://scientifictriathlon.com/tts69/


cottmiler

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Post by Sprinter Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:59 pm

I believe any drill, like the fist drill, is mostly harmful for swimming, since everything what you practise is only a practise for *itself*, not for anything else. Practising the fist drill, you will get a bit faster with it, and you will become a worse swimmer overall. The fist drill only makes sense if you want to get better with the fist drill (for whatever reasons), at the cost of "normal" swimming.

Just think about the mad ideology behind it -- "don't swim with your hands"! So it will feel bad when using your hands, you will feel guilty (the ideal of all these drills is to be completely motionless, and then, by miracle, the spirits of the water will propel you forward (if that ever really happens, make sure you don't get smashed at the wall)).

Okay, that happens when you do the fist drill or any such drill for its own sake. There is exactly one way (and this is also completely obvious) to get anything out of it: any such drill is only a *contrast drill*, and you must never forget what the real target is (for the fist drill: to increase your propulsion when you swim with your open hands).

So one must always follow up on any such drill with the real thing, immediately. For the fist drill, I believe a nice mixture is to swim units of 50m altogether, first 25m with fists, second 25m full hand, with fixed stroke rate, and trying to increase the speed considerably in the second half (that's the target!!). Then via the constrast you get a better feeling for using your full hand (that's what's it about!). I did that, to check it, today in the 50m pool (that's nicest for such a mix -- 25m is enough to get into it, and you can continue from the drill to the real thing without interruption). After roughly the third round I felt the improved usage of the lats in the second half -- and that's the underlying motivation for such exercises, to get the lats engaged with using the hand moving perpendicular to the ground for the important part of the pull/push, from the middle to the finish. I believe the fixed stroke rate is important here, and counting the beeps, otherwise you don't get any real feedback (which is in the numbers, in the real, measurable speed gain, for the same stroke rate, when swimming with full hands).

Sprinter

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Post by Don Wright Sat Oct 23, 2021 9:19 am

I watched that video clip with some horror!  As an "oldie"  I wondered if some old good things have been forgotten?

I had the impression that a well-timed kick, to offset entry drag, as the recovered arm entered the water and extended - was the right time to "almost" allow the hand and forearm to drop "as a fixed unit" under gravity, (no premature pushing down causing the legs to drop) until the forearm was at an EVF catch, and then strength should be exerted for the pull phase. (Perhaps I've got stuck at the catch style advocated in Sheila Taormina's old book, and furthermore just 2-beat kicking so there is the danger of legs dropping below the horizontal!  Well "oldies" need to minimize energy expenditue to keep going! Laughing )

  Perhaps I'm just "olde-fashioned" and not unduly fussed by speed, but (oh sacrilege!!!) personally, I grab a little glide time, while in stream-lined attitude, before starting the drop to an EVF catch. After all the powerful upsweep of the previous UW arm stroke has provided some good forward momentum, augmented by that drag-offsetting leg kick at the arm entry.

Don Wright

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Post by Sprinter Sat Oct 23, 2021 1:31 pm

Hi Don,

I don't understand your first paragraph, but anyway, I believe in your second paragraph there seem to be some basic misconceptions.

First the kick only offers propulsion as a strong continuous fast kick, and then by necessity there won't be any "timing" involved here. The 2-beat kick demonstrated in the video has no propulsion, but is just done for lift and counterbalancing. Since you are also doing a 2-beat kick, your kick will not contribute any propulsion (just try it out -- just doing the 2-beat kick). If one is swimming slowly, then one also will kick slowly, and so also here there won't be any (relevant) propulsion.

From the hand entry to the final position, where the arm is fully extended (but without any additional shoulder movement -- that is dangerous for the shoulder, and doesn't gain anything), the movement should be straight and swift. The competitive swimmer wants the hand nearly parallel to the surface (if not doing windmilling), while otherwise compromises are needed.

Now from the fully extended position, there should be no pause (this only costs energy altogether), and there should be no "drop". The elbow immediately starts to bend, and also the arm as a whole moves down. The whole point of the fist-exercise is that it releases pressure from the hand, and so makes it easier to keep a "high elbow". "High" here only means higher than the hand, so that without any bend in the wrist the hand can become perpendicular to the ground as soon as possible, and stay so. (Bending the wrist has proven to be inefficient -- the human body is not a machine, but needs unity.)

At the beginning of this "pull", there is little power and little pull, but the power increases and so should the speed of the hand -- always pushing back the water, which needs the "high elbow".

Now in the video the bending of the arm isn't very visible, and this is the main flaw of the video: the main purpose of closing your hand is that you can fully concentrate on bending the elbow (immediately), maintaining a high elbow.

Sprinter

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Post by Sprinter Sat Oct 23, 2021 2:01 pm

Just some more on the importance of bending the elbow as early as possible:

The straight-arm swimming is a very special technique for sprinting, and needs great strength and years of training. It plays no (positive) role for I guess 99.9% of all swimmers.

For all the other swimmers bending the arm is needed to excert power on the water.

If the arm is still straight when it's at an angle of say 45 degree, then it's too late, and very little power can be created from there on. The point is NOT that much power has been lost before getting to that position (there isn't much to gain for almost all swimmers), but that bending of the elbow and the engagement of the lats needs PREPARATION! Don, I have often the feeling that since you come from engineering, you often imagine the human body as a kind of programmable machine, with the joints moving independently in all possible directions. If that would be the case, then having the arm straight at an 45 degree angle, and only then giving the commands "bend elbow to 90 degree" and "pull full power" would work (if executed immediately) -- but the human body needs to start preparing the bending, and needs to start feeling the lats, before it can get fully working. Especially engaging the lats is not easy.

Sprinter

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Post by cottmiler Sat Nov 13, 2021 12:42 pm

This Skills n' Talents chap is excellent in terms of detail and technicalities but sometimes hard to understand as a beginner:

https://youtu.be/Qnk_W5rzs2I

By the way, I have done 20 km of fist drill over a number of sessions now and I found with other drills that it takes that distance to start to feel tangible benefits. Occasionally I did a few Finis Fulcrum swims too which concentrates on forearm thrust.

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Post by nightcrawler Mon Nov 15, 2021 8:31 am

cottmiler wrote:This Skills n' Talents chap is excellent in terms of detail and technicalities but sometimes hard to understand as a beginner:

https://youtu.be/Qnk_W5rzs2I

By the way, I have done 20 km of fist drill over a number of sessions now and I found with other drills that it takes that distance to start to feel tangible benefits.  Occasionally I did a few Finis Fulcrum swims too which concentrates on forearm thrust.

I like this guy's channel.

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