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  • #29216
    Mat Hudson

    To your previous questions (sorry, I have been slammed with some writing assignments to help another coach finish his book)…

    1. Do you only practice in your personal, short pool? Do you have a chance to go swim in a 25 or better, a 50m pool? If you could get in a longer stretch of uninterrupted strokes, that can also have the effect of helping a breakthrough. Sometimes, for some things really short repeats work well and sometimes long stretches of repetition is more helpful to allowing our nervous system to dial in a correction or adjustment.

    2. I suggest starting with the segmented 1-2-3 kind of action in the drill so that one can slow things down, separate the parts to more easily examine and shape those parts. Then you gradually need to blend them together in their ultimate sequence, and speed up the motion back to normal movement speed. If you have one arm that feels not quite right but you can’t tell exactly what it is, and you have the other side feeling close to right – then slow things back down, segment the parts again and then, detail by detail, compare what’s happening on your strong side to what happening on the weak side to hone in on the detail you need to work on.

    3. upper hip is ‘open’, ready to ‘close’ – that makes sense.

    4. Good question –

    1-Arm with Lead Arm Extended is particularly good for isolating the ‘set the catch’ moment and for noticing the transfer of force from catch side to streamline side. It is much easier to move in slow motion to carefully shape and time each part of that sequence.

    1-Arm with Hidden Arm is particularly good for connecting the catch to torso rotation and making sure the torso is empowering the catch rather than lagging behind. But it is hard to move in slow motion, and I observe the ‘set the catch’ moment gets sloppier because it is so much more challenging to maintain balance with only one arm in play.

    The phrase ‘extending with authority’ has some positive potential – you want to be very intentional about sliding into skate and fully extending, lengthening that side of the body UP TO  the point where you would start to contort the spine to lengthen farther, or to strain the muscles to do it. There are quite a few tissues being stretched along that body line and somewhere there is going to be one of those that reaches its limit on being comfortably lengthened – past that point it will be straining or stretching into its plastic range (provoking change of structure), which might be necessary for conditioning purposes at certain times, if it is inappropriately short, BUT we don’t want to stretch tissues into that plastic range or strain as a repetitive habit. In your case, you can aim for extending ‘with authority’ into your best, taut streamline without strain.

    This could very possibly reveal how your softer (less extended) body has been compensating for instability and thereby feel more difficult when you fully extend into skate. If you can avoid straining your body to do so, I would be inclined to have you work in that more extended, more unstable streamline.

    5. The glide time is dependent on tempo, and tempo is set according to your swimming mode. Mode = the kind of swimming situation are you in, or training for.

    When first learning to establish a new skill we may slow the tempo way down so you have time to examine and adjust each part. This would result in a longer glide time. In one way, gliding longer is easier because one can postpone a possibly destabilizing swing of the recovery arm. In another way, gliding longer is more challenging on stability and streamline skills because one cannot cover up problems with more rapid movements of the appendages (which have unknowingly been helping stabilize the torso because the torso isn’t good enough at it on its own yet), and deviations in streamline cause more rapid deceleration between strokes, so one might feel strong urge to propel sooner to compensate.

    It’s good to inquire whether it is expected or good to experience increased challenge in some of these drill modes, or adjustments made in drill mode, especially when one is expecting things to get easier if a correction is made.

    If you happen to use a Tempo Trainer, then for some reference point, swimming or drilling with 1.60 seconds or slower between strokes is considered really slow. 2.00 seconds would be about the limit of reasonable drill-strokes (when alternating sides). But we might swim along and do strokes in ultra-slow motion (or wear fins and flutter along), like taking 2 seconds to move through the stroke cycle, because the longer we have to hold streamline, the more it will expose issues in stability and streamline, if that is what we want or need to work on.

    But in general, swimming in drill or in normal speed whole strokes, you should feel that one side is always holding the line (the stream-line), only extending, not moving, while the other side is moving. Only one side is moving at a time, except for that brief moment of the arm switch in front.

    6. I think jellyfish are fascinating and beautiful – but no, we don’t want a jellyfish body when we swim. Wrong role model for mammals!


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