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swinging arms and zig zag swimming

 
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good4age




Joined: 09 May 2006
Posts: 1642
Location: wiltshire

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 9:49 am    Post subject: swinging arms and zig zag swimming Reply with quote

At the pool today I was observed swimming with an wide, out-swinging arm movement that made me zig zag along.
I had no idea this was happening and would like to know what drill would help me to swim with more forward momentum and to ensure that my recovery arm is not swinging out sideways. I was told it is my rotation that is poor but that does not mean a lot to me at this stage.
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Swim Smooth




Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 1487
Location: UK and Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Goodforage

Did the observer mean that your hand was actually entering the water at the front quite wide, or that your arm during recovery (i.e. the time that its out of the water going from back to front) is swinging wide?

I have a nice visualization drill which I call the "Bird" drill (for obvious reasons) which I explained at http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=239770&highlight=#239770 which would help you think about where the hand is being placed into the water at the front if you are either too wide or particularly if you are crossing over. The focus is to think about the hand entering forward in front of the same shoulder - combined with good body roll, this will make for a nice, smooth and streamlined stroke.

If its a swinging arm that you have during recovery, then yes, we would need to address how well you're rolling through the water. A lot of people may think that if your arm is swinging low to the surface of the water during recovery that you simply need to think about lifting the elbow high at this point (the classic 'high elbow' or 'shark fin' look). Even with excellent flexibility this will be severely restricted if you do not have any body rotation.

The easiest way to think of body rotation is to stand-up and imagine your whole body like the meat of a kebab-stick (I know that sounds crude!). Now imagine that you have a skewer going right down the middle, so from the top of the head, down the centre of the spine, out between the legs and down between the toes. Now when you're swimming you want to be rotating along this line, or what people refer to as "the long axis". This movement is initiated from the hips, balanced by the legs, but seen most profoundly in the shoulders (as these are the widest, therefore move the furthest). Many people simply twist the shoulders and forget about the hips or try to leave the legs kicking up and down without that rotation. This often leads to the hips swinging from side to side which just increases drag. If you read through the "Corpse Kick" drill at the bottom of this link http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=202367&highlight=#202367 that will describe a good drill for working on this, likewise you may find the visualization of being stuck inside a huge Smarties Tube (as explained here http://forum.slowtwitch.com/gforum.cgi?post=701786;search_string=search_string;guest=6500795#701786) to be quite easy to think of when you're actually swimming.

Simply getting used to kicking on your side at 90 degrees with the lead-arm out-stretched (i.e. this will be the arm closest to the bottom of the pool when you're on your side) and the other arm by the side, ear resting on your shoulder of the out-stretched arm will also help you with this, as it will feel quite strange to begin with. When you do swim normally, you won't be rotating right to 90 degrees (as this drill serves to exacerbate this), but do try and aim for about 45 (even 60) if you can. You'll find that this rotation enables you to then pick that recovering arm out of the water, with a nice high, relaxed elbow and prevent the swinging that you have been observed as doing. Eventually, working simultaneously with body roll drills and pure high elbow drills will have this sorted out for you.

I highly recommend goodforage employing the services of a good coach to help you with this. You'll also find video analysis to be an excellent tool so that you can actually see what's happening and thus be more 'aware' of what is going on.

Have a good day and keep us posted.

Paul
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good4age




Joined: 09 May 2006
Posts: 1642
Location: wiltshire

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you. It is the latter that was observed, swinging wide on recovery and apparently I have had the problem sometime. There is a small group of teenagers training with their coach when I am in the pool and when I chatted with him this morning, he told me he has observed this error before. I need to swim more on my side he told me.
I have tried to work on rotation but seem to have a problem getting it through to my body and controlling it.
I will certainly do the swim on the side drill again, with fins.
Could it have something to do with my breathe timing. Question
When I was learning to front crawl I was quite stressed at getting a breathe and maybe breathing too early. I am much more relaxed now but could I have kept an error which is now affecting my rotation.
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Swim Smooth




Joined: 22 Aug 2005
Posts: 1487
Location: UK and Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2006 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi goodforage, you'll find the side kicking drills (and then the progression which is to kick on your side for about 6 seconds, take one arm over the top of the water as normal, almost catch-up the other hand before rolling through onto the other side) will systematically help your breathe timing as it will become part of the motion.

I'm in favour of the fins, there's no excuse for not developing your kick as well, but you'll find that initially these will give you the support and propulsion that you need to develop this - they'll also promote better ankle flexibility which in turn will help imrpove your kick!

Keep working with it and see how you go.

Thanks

Paul

P.S The UNCO drill as described at the bottom of this thread is another good one for working on your body roll and breathe timing systematically http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?p=192867&highlight=#192867 - takes a bit of time to master, but a great all-round drill.
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