Tri Swim Coach
I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.
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April 2010 Swim CHAT with Coach Kevin Koskella
Discussion on preventing over-rotation, free golf, strength and core training, the importance of the kick and high turnover vs low turnover.
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[QueenZipp] I had underwater video the other day....I still over-rotate.
[Tri Swim Coach] Well good for you for getting the video done, have you been able to work on the over-rotation?
[QueenZipp] Yeah, now I know why I am slow....the hard part will be fixing it....got a new coach though.
[Tri Swim Coach] What has your coach told you to do about it?
[QueenZipp] My old coach wasn't explaining the fix in a way I understood and we parted ways a couple weeks ago...the people at the clinic (all masters coaches) said something about letting the hips lead the shoulders and only going to about 45 degrees.
[Tri Swim Coach] Yes that makes a lot of sense.
[QueenZipp] Yeah, not sure how the hips lead the shoulders but he said by letting the core do the work I would get over more and that would give me more extension for the catch which I thought was the issue.
[Tri Swim Coach] Yes I've seen people try to rotate from their shoulders and it doesn't really work out. Using the core (hips, belly button) for your rotation is the way to go.
[QueenZipp] Well, my over-rotation is so bad you can see the top of the hip from the back.
[Tri Swim Coach] What has helped remind you to not over-rotate so much?
[QueenZipp] Nothing yet, got any mantras or tips I can use to talk myself into the right form?
[Tri Swim Coach] You can practice with just hip rotation, head down. Aim for rotating just to 40 or 45 degrees. Slowly add back in arm strokes. Think about slicing your hand in the water and rotating at the same time.
[QueenZipp] That's the other thing....my head tends to be too low. Slice? Ha, it looks like I gently place it!
[Tri Swim Coach] It could be posture...keep the back of your head right about at the surface and you're good to go. The hand should slice in and forward at the same time. It's the most efficient way to go. So for the over-rotation, practice a couple of things:
1. Count strokes. Figure out what an avg stroke count is for you.
2. Play "Free Golf"- do a set of 50's where you count strokes and get your time on each one to get your "score". Lower your score for each 50 until you can't anymore.
3. Get a pair of Freestyler paddles. Do a straight swim with them each time you get in the pool. They will help your stroke to become more efficient.
[QueenZipp] Avg stroke count is 18 give or take per 25 yards. I can do 16 if I REALLY think about it
[Tri Swim Coach] Doing free golf will really help you to focus on efficiency and cut down on over-rotation
[QueenZipp] How will golf keep me from over-rotating?
[Tri Swim Coach] Free Golf forces you to figure out the most efficient way to get through your 50. The more you do, the more you will notice little (and big) things that you can do to keep lowering your score.
[Tri Swim Coach] Most paddles are bad for shoulders, these are actually good! I can't use paddles for the most part- bad left shoulder...but the freestylers are made for not hurting your shoulders but actually strengthening.
[aquagirl] I am pretty close to chucking it all and becoming a duathlete....or maybe just a cyclist. I am sick of trying everything to get faster....and seeing ZERO results. I am NOT going back to Masters...it was useless.
[Tri Swim Coach] I've got an idea aquagirl. A lot of what we do in the pool (and on bikes and running) is wasted training. We used to call it "garbage yardage." To get FASTER, really FASTER not just keep from sinking or being a little more efficient, you have to train differently.
[QueenZipp] So how does one build for distance without a lot of garbage yardage?
[Tri Swim Coach] Well you still need to get yardage in, but you will have to incorporate a couple of things. One is sprinting. It seems counter-intuitive to work on sprints when you are training for a 1 mile triathlon swim, but you MUST do this to get faster.
[aquagirl] I have been doing that since September.
[Tri Swim Coach] Do some 25's and 50's fast a couple of times a week.
[Tri Swim Coach] So the second thing is strength training. You have to be strengthening your core to get faster in swimming. Lots of pool time helps but it is not enough to get you over the top in your training. Yoga and Pilates have a ton to offer for swimmers.
[aquagirl] OK...but when your stroke is NOT efficient.
[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, good point...stroke efficiency is still the #1 priority which is why I say, never stop doing drills and checking in with your stroke. Do you have a video of your stroke I could look at some time? Just email it to me.
[lkc01234] Not that I don't believe my boyfriend...just wanted to get a 2nd opinion. We were talking about kicking yesterday and I'm aware that some triathletes don't kick. But he was basically saying that kicking was taking away 60% of my energy and putting out little difference.
[Tri Swim Coach] He's right, generally. I'm not sure if it's specifically 60%, but you definitely do not need a FAST kick for a good swim. In fact most people waste more energy on their kick than they get propulsion from it. The important thing is to have an efficient kick, so that you can properly rotate your hips and keep yourself at the water's surface.
[lkc01234] How does that change with a wetsuit since your legs would float?
[Tri Swim Coach] It just means you don't have to work as hard.
[lkc01234] And you mentioned working on your core as advantageous to swimming - which makes sense but what are good exercises for your shoulder muscles that pull?
[Tri Swim Coach] Don't worry too much about the exercises at this point. Stick with working though the drills and improving your balance in the water.
[lkc01234] So I should start doing "drills"?
[Tri Swim Coach] Drills, yes. You can find a good start HERE .
[rkreuser] Ok, I got completely sideways over Gary Hall Sr.'s post on ST and it made a ton of sense. Debunk or confirm this. He postulates that TI teaches pull and glide, and being as slippery as you can in the water. But stroking as few times as possible makes it so you spend more time decelerating than accelerating. Gary's position was...get your turnover up. Don't play the minimum stroke length game...stroke as fast as your cardio will let you, you'll spend less time decelerating = faster. In some really obtuse pool trials, he's right.
[Tri Swim Coach] Depends on your goal. That's good advice if you already have good technique and you are competing in the 50-400 meter range! Doesn't help many beginning-intermediate level triathletes though!
[rkreuser] My goal? Go as fast as possible on minimum training. Does it work for a 1:35/100m dude? On no training?
[Tri Swim Coach] Better to work on technique and then incorporate some sprinting into your workouts a couple times a week.
[rkreuser] Other than just volume, one of the most beneficial workouts I've found is 15 or 20x100, 25ez, 25 sprint, 50 ez. Gets you used to moving and getting passed the tri crowd, then back in the groove. Are you a fan of that?
[Tri Swim Coach] Rick- YES! Love that set. Nice work coming up with it.
[KathyG] How do you learn to feel water better? I swim a lot, form is pretty good from swim coaches and folks have seen my video but I get little propulsion. I am working on sculling and dog paddle to work on feeling water.
[Tri Swim Coach] It's all about the drills and improving technique. Swimming a lot is good but if there are flaws they will just be emphasized. I like the basics- just kicking on your side is a good one to help with feel for the water.
[Tri Swim Coach] Ok, I must be going....it's sprint night for me! Thanks everyone for coming and making this a lively discussion! Keep in touch at http://www.triswimcoachonline.com and we'll see you next month!
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