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2014-01-16 9:33 AM

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Subject: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Swim background: no formal, official stroke training, just what I learned as a kid. I'm very comfortable in the water but on the slower side in the pool: +- 2:00/100M but am starting to see some improvement from attending a Masters program for the past 2 months. The coach told me I tend to take a wide kick when I breathe which I've been trying to eradicate. He also mentioned the feet being an 'anchor' and that it is important to keep the kick small, tight and fast as if kicking in a cylinder. Do any fishes have any recommendations on fixing my kick? Things I can think about (imagery) or drills I can do? No, I don't have any video of my swim to post, sorry. Thanks!



2014-01-16 9:45 AM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
The easiest way to fix this is to put a band around your ankles.

http://www.goswim.tv/entries/2218/freestyle---band-kick.html
2014-01-16 9:50 AM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

It's probably not your kick. Generally, if someone is kicking wide or scissor kicking in the water (and yes, usually happens on the breathing side, and I'll say why), it's a balance issue, not a kicking issue. Apology for no video accepted ... but that's really the only way to be sure, in your case.

The two most common roots of a scissor kick I see are:

1) Lifting the head to breathe. This often causes the kicking leg on the other side to either go down (go up at one end = go down on the other) and/or puts you off balance so you need to kick wide. Can also cause a break in rhythm/slowing down/loss of momentum so that you need a big kick to get going again.

2) Stroking arm crosses over the (imaginary) center line down the length of the body. Having it wider out from the body a) encourages a high elbow in the water, which is good, and b) like a thwart on a canoe, the arm provides the necessary body balance on that side so that you don't have to kick big and wide to achieve the rotation you need to breathe.

What might help to work on:

- keep the mental image of sniffing your armpit in order to keep your head down when breathing (or focus on keeping your chin tucked down more)

- focus on initiating the rotation with your hips. Try some lengths (warmup is a good time) with the mental image of making the arm pull back by actually pointing the opposite hip to the bottom of the pool. (That's a bit much but we're trying for imagery to get your body moving in the right directions)

2014-01-16 10:35 AM
in reply to: melbo55


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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

As echoed above, it's almost certainly not the kick - it's an errant stroke. Very common in beginners (I had a bad one.)

 

It helped a lot for me to re-learn to swim using a pull buoy, and even a band around the ankles when I felt like I could manage the buoy, to prevent errant kicking. It might feel like you're drowning at first, but that's a pretty clear sign you're doing it right, in that you're being forced to correct your stroke to the balanced one where the kick doesn't need to compensate.

 

 

2014-01-16 10:37 AM
in reply to: yazmaster

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
You can also use a kickboard (pop it up like a shark fin) between your thighs. It will pop out as soon as you kick unless you 'stay in the tube' .
2014-01-16 10:55 AM
in reply to: IndoIronYanti

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by IndoIronYanti

It's probably not your kick. Generally, if someone is kicking wide or scissor kicking in the water (and yes, usually happens on the breathing side, and I'll say why), it's a balance issue, not a kicking issue. Apology for no video accepted ... but that's really the only way to be sure, in your case.

The two most common roots of a scissor kick I see are:

1) Lifting the head to breathe. This often causes the kicking leg on the other side to either go down (go up at one end = go down on the other) and/or puts you off balance so you need to kick wide. Can also cause a break in rhythm/slowing down/loss of momentum so that you need a big kick to get going again.

2) Stroking arm crosses over the (imaginary) center line down the length of the body. Having it wider out from the body a) encourages a high elbow in the water, which is good, and b) like a thwart on a canoe, the arm provides the necessary body balance on that side so that you don't have to kick big and wide to achieve the rotation you need to breathe.

What might help to work on:

- keep the mental image of sniffing your armpit in order to keep your head down when breathing (or focus on keeping your chin tucked down more)

- focus on initiating the rotation with your hips. Try some lengths (warmup is a good time) with the mental image of making the arm pull back by actually pointing the opposite hip to the bottom of the pool. (That's a bit much but we're trying for imagery to get your body moving in the right directions)

Thanks to all for the replies, especially your well written/descriptive answer, Yanti.  I'm thinking that lifting my head to breathe or possibly turning it too far to breathe is the culprit.  Not saying what my arms are doing is perfect but I don't think I'm crossing over.



2014-01-16 12:32 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Originally posted by melbo55
hanks to all for the replies, especially your well written/descriptive answer, Yanti.  I'm thinking that lifting my head to breathe or possibly turning it too far to breathe is the culprit.  Not saying what my arms are doing is perfect but I don't think I'm crossing over.




I scissor kick with my left when breathing/rotating on the right. My left leg kicks in order to help with the rotation and this is wrong. Fixing it is a work in progress.
2014-01-16 12:51 PM
in reply to: IndoIronYanti

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by IndoIronYanti

It's probably not your kick. Generally, if someone is kicking wide or scissor kicking in the water (and yes, usually happens on the breathing side, and I'll say why), it's a balance issue, not a kicking issue. Apology for no video accepted ... but that's really the only way to be sure, in your case.

The two most common roots of a scissor kick I see are:

1) Lifting the head to breathe. This often causes the kicking leg on the other side to either go down (go up at one end = go down on the other) and/or puts you off balance so you need to kick wide. Can also cause a break in rhythm/slowing down/loss of momentum so that you need a big kick to get going again.

2) Stroking arm crosses over the (imaginary) center line down the length of the body. Having it wider out from the body a) encourages a high elbow in the water, which is good, and b) like a thwart on a canoe, the arm provides the necessary body balance on that side so that you don't have to kick big and wide to achieve the rotation you need to breathe.

What might help to work on:

- keep the mental image of sniffing your armpit in order to keep your head down when breathing (or focus on keeping your chin tucked down more)

- focus on initiating the rotation with your hips. Try some lengths (warmup is a good time) with the mental image of making the arm pull back by actually pointing the opposite hip to the bottom of the pool. (That's a bit much but we're trying for imagery to get your body moving in the right directions)

So, for the timing of the roll, you START with the hips?  I've been trying to figure this one out and have read all sorts of things that don't quite get through my rather thick cranium.

Say with my right arm fully extended and left shoulder higher, I finish my left leg kick (I think of finishing the opposite side kick to drive the hand as far forward as possible - swimming tall - as I finish the rotation to that side).  Now I'm all stretchied-out in the water.  I start my catch and start to roll, but do I start that roll from my hips and use them to get my arm pulling back, or do I catch and start my arm back and THEN use that rotation to really drive through the mid-pull?

I guess in other words, is the rotation used to add power to and kind of start the catch or a bit later to add power to the pull (hope I got all this right from a terminology standpoint)?

I don't think this is a hijack, as it seems like they're closely related… but if it is, apologies and AARRRRRR, matey!  

Matt

2014-01-16 6:08 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

This is how Dan Empfield (Slowman) on Slowtwitch suggested addressing this issue...

"i've got one more technical tip for you. and one more only. this is it, for the
guppy challenge. with this tip, this concludes the new things you'll have to
think about. this is primarily something i want you to think about during
semi-catch-up. but before i give you the tip, let me show you what i want to
fix:



your mental
task is this: i want your catch to occur immediately before you turn your
head to breathe. i want the hand (opposite the side you breathe on) to penetrate
the water and only then can you turn your head, and commence any rotation
of your body, in order to breathe.

the idea is simply this: your hand
can't overreach - cross the centerline of the body as it hits the water - as a
result of jackknifing at the waist during breathing, if the catch occurs before
you commence any breathing motion.

now, you might say, okay, but, this
is just a drill, right? this isn't actually how you swim in real life? well, not
so fast. watch sun yang swim in slow motion.
watch a couple of minutes of this, specifically when the video is not broken up
by turns. you tell me when the catch occurs: before or during his breathing
motion."

 

2014-01-17 9:58 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

So, for the timing of the roll, you START with the hips?  I've been trying to figure this one out and have read all sorts of things that don't quite get through my rather thick cranium.

Say with my right arm fully extended and left shoulder higher, I finish my left leg kick (I think of finishing the opposite side kick to drive the hand as far forward as possible - swimming tall - as I finish the rotation to that side).  Now I'm all stretchied-out in the water.  I start my catch and start to roll, but do I start that roll from my hips and use them to get my arm pulling back, or do I catch and start my arm back and THEN use that rotation to really drive through the mid-pull?

I guess in other words, is the rotation used to add power to and kind of start the catch or a bit later to add power to the pull (hope I got all this right from a terminology standpoint)?

I don't think this is a hijack, as it seems like they're closely related… but if it is, apologies and AARRRRRR, matey!  

Matt




This starts to get a bit heady here, but I'll do my best to explain. Leading the rotation with your hips is driven (or anchored is a better term) with a good kick. Think of swinging a bat or golf club. your hips lead the swing before your shoulders come around. In order to do that though, you need to have your feet firmly anchored into the ground so you can leverage off of them. translate that to swimming and that means that you need an effective kick that IS TIMED PROPERLY in order to "plant" your feet in the water so your hips can come around. Does the hip motion add power to the stroke like the hip motion adds power to the golf swing? Absolutely not. (And this is where a lot of people get this wrong) They are 2 different motions. In golf the hip motion is horizontal across your body and the swing is across the body, so they compliment each other. In swimming the hip motion is horizontal across the body and the pull is vertical, perpendicular to the hip motion, so they can't help each other. What the hip rotation does do is rotate your body so that you use the really big muscles for the pull, i.e. the lats and back muscles. lying flat in the water those muscles are closed out of the equation.

Having said all that, rotation is a partnership with the shoulders (pull) and the hips (kick). Most triathletes have a horrible kick and time the kick so that the opposing foot kicks during the pull (right arm pull, left foot kick), and those opposing forces cancel out a lot of the rotation. So that type of swimmer will either swim flat or have a shoulder driven rotation (Laure Manaudou or Janet Evans). Those who kick and pull on the same side (Sun Yang or Phelps) with have a hip driven stroke. The hip driven tends to be a more powerful stroke but it can also wear you out quicker. Shoulder driven will allow for a faster tempo bc you're not pulling as much water with each stroke, which can also be less tiring. The shoulder driven stroke also tends to cause more injury (shoulder) as you tend to be a little flatter in the water.

Does that make any sense?
2014-01-17 12:38 PM
in reply to: tjfry

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by tjfry
Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

So, for the timing of the roll, you START with the hips?  I've been trying to figure this one out and have read all sorts of things that don't quite get through my rather thick cranium.

Say with my right arm fully extended and left shoulder higher, I finish my left leg kick (I think of finishing the opposite side kick to drive the hand as far forward as possible - swimming tall - as I finish the rotation to that side).  Now I'm all stretchied-out in the water.  I start my catch and start to roll, but do I start that roll from my hips and use them to get my arm pulling back, or do I catch and start my arm back and THEN use that rotation to really drive through the mid-pull?

I guess in other words, is the rotation used to add power to and kind of start the catch or a bit later to add power to the pull (hope I got all this right from a terminology standpoint)?

I don't think this is a hijack, as it seems like they're closely related… but if it is, apologies and AARRRRRR, matey!  

Matt

This starts to get a bit heady here, but I'll do my best to explain. Leading the rotation with your hips is driven (or anchored is a better term) with a good kick. Think of swinging a bat or golf club. your hips lead the swing before your shoulders come around. In order to do that though, you need to have your feet firmly anchored into the ground so you can leverage off of them. translate that to swimming and that means that you need an effective kick that IS TIMED PROPERLY in order to "plant" your feet in the water so your hips can come around. Does the hip motion add power to the stroke like the hip motion adds power to the golf swing? Absolutely not. (And this is where a lot of people get this wrong) They are 2 different motions. In golf the hip motion is horizontal across your body and the swing is across the body, so they compliment each other. In swimming the hip motion is horizontal across the body and the pull is vertical, perpendicular to the hip motion, so they can't help each other. What the hip rotation does do is rotate your body so that you use the really big muscles for the pull, i.e. the lats and back muscles. lying flat in the water those muscles are closed out of the equation. Having said all that, rotation is a partnership with the shoulders (pull) and the hips (kick). Most triathletes have a horrible kick and time the kick so that the opposing foot kicks during the pull (right arm pull, left foot kick), and those opposing forces cancel out a lot of the rotation. So that type of swimmer will either swim flat or have a shoulder driven rotation (Laure Manaudou or Janet Evans). Those who kick and pull on the same side (Sun Yang or Phelps) with have a hip driven stroke. The hip driven tends to be a more powerful stroke but it can also wear you out quicker. Shoulder driven will allow for a faster tempo bc you're not pulling as much water with each stroke, which can also be less tiring. The shoulder driven stroke also tends to cause more injury (shoulder) as you tend to be a little flatter in the water. Does that make any sense?

Is either of the styles of kicking 'right' or 'wrong' or is it just how a given individual kicks?



2014-01-17 3:11 PM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Not really wrong or right. I gave examples of great athletes using each, but I should add that both examples of the shoulder driven or alt foot kick stroke both have had massive shoulder problems that are common when you swim flatter in the water.
2014-01-17 4:15 PM
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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by tjfry Not really wrong or right. I gave examples of great athletes using each, but I should add that both examples of the shoulder driven or alt foot kick stroke both have had massive shoulder problems that are common when you swim flatter in the water.

Criminey...

First, thank you for the response(s).  Actually quite helpful to picture (literally and mentally) what is going on.

I've been trying a 6 beat kick (two little and one big finish kick timed opposite full opposite arm extension).  Sounds like that's the shoulder killer…  But I *thought* that this was the "right" way to do it so that the kick helped make a stronger rotation (kicking your pelvis around), pull harder AND drive a longer extension.  Maybe I'm thinking of all this the wrong way, though.

Swimming is getting too much like golf for me - a bazillion things to think about and many of them conflicting (I haven't golfed in years).  I don't want to think, I want to swim.

Mind you, I'd be happy to be half the swimmer of anyone you mentioned (obviously).  I'm just trying to figure out how best to swim as an old guy/adult onset triathlete!  

Thanks again for the above.  Maybe if I close my eyes and think more about it (whilst sipping gin with the Better Half), it'll all come together - or get a coach.    You can bet I'll be thinking about the above tomorrow in the pool!

Matt

 ETA:  I'm definitely going to see what it feels like to "anchor" my arm with the catch and move my body around it, rather than pulling/pushing my body along with my arm.  I really like that imagery.
M



Edited by mcmanusclan5 2014-01-17 4:17 PM
2014-01-17 5:00 PM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

Originally posted by tjfry Not really wrong or right. I gave examples of great athletes using each, but I should add that both examples of the shoulder driven or alt foot kick stroke both have had massive shoulder problems that are common when you swim flatter in the water.

Criminey...

First, thank you for the response(s).  Actually quite helpful to picture (literally and mentally) what is going on.

I've been trying a 6 beat kick (two little and one big finish kick timed opposite full opposite arm extension).  Sounds like that's the shoulder killer…  But I *thought* that this was the "right" way to do it so that the kick helped make a stronger rotation (kicking your pelvis around), pull harder AND drive a longer extension.  Maybe I'm thinking of all this the wrong way, though.

Swimming is getting too much like golf for me - a bazillion things to think about and many of them conflicting (I haven't golfed in years).  I don't want to think, I want to swim.

Mind you, I'd be happy to be half the swimmer of anyone you mentioned (obviously).  I'm just trying to figure out how best to swim as an old guy/adult onset triathlete!  

Thanks again for the above.  Maybe if I close my eyes and think more about it (whilst sipping gin with the Better Half), it'll all come together - or get a coach.    You can bet I'll be thinking about the above tomorrow in the pool!

Matt

 ETA:  I'm definitely going to see what it feels like to "anchor" my arm with the catch and move my body around it, rather than pulling/pushing my body along with my arm.  I really like that imagery.
M

"just swimming" will reveal a lot of this over time if you are paying attention.

So you can (hopefully) pick up the differences, here are two examples.

Here is Sun Yang. around the 6-8 second mark watch how his pull and is kick are coming from the same side of his body (he uses a modified 2 beat kick, so ignore the flutters for right now and just look a the dominate kick) at about the same time.

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

 

Here is Janet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJNIjU2VzCI

Right around the :26 second mark, Notice that her kick doesn't come at the beginning of the pull like Sun, but rather right at the finish of the pull, or when the the opposite arm enters the water. Tempo is different as is the rotation.

 

Good luck.

 

 

2014-01-17 7:09 PM
in reply to: tjfry

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Can you elaborate more about Laure Manaudou being shoulder driven?

in the context of this clip?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbelgVrdsSk

She strokes on the same side she is kicking although the kick is later in the arm cycle than someone like sun yang or phelps. I wouldn't have described her as shoulder driven although from the surface she looks a little "army"...but not to the extent that Janet Evans does.

Would you say she is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum?
2014-01-18 1:27 PM
in reply to: tjfry

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
I will second everything TJ just said. But with one important aspect that I think needs to be highlighted and that is found in both a good hip driven stroke or shoulder driven stroke. In both techniques, the hips and the shoulders are connected through a very engaged core.



2014-01-18 1:33 PM
in reply to: snappingt

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
One thing that added additional improvement was seeing if my toes would touch each other while kicking. That helped reduce the scissor effect but most improvements will come from what has already been stated.
2014-01-18 1:40 PM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by AdventureBear Can you elaborate more about Laure Manaudou being shoulder driven? in the context of this clip? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbelgVrdsSkShe strokes on the same side she is kicking although the kick is later in the arm cycle than someone like sun yang or phelps. I wouldn't have described her as shoulder driven although from the surface she looks a little "army"...but not to the extent that Janet Evans does. Would you say she is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum?

 

On the slow-mo parts at the end, you can see that the kick starts as the pull is almost finished (my eye is drawn to the left arm and leg so that is what i'm referencing). By comparison Sun's is at the start of his pull in the catch phase when the kick comes down. So if the shoulder (pull) is leading or starting the rotation, it's going to be a shoulder driven stroke. If the kick and the pull start the rotation process together (or even the kick just before the pull in some cases) then you have more of a hip driven stroke. It can change throughout a swim as people will mix up the tempo or change their stroke to engage new and fresh muscles so the others can rest. I know from my own swims I can definitely feel an entirely different stroke when I switch the timing.

2014-01-18 1:42 PM
in reply to: tjfry

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by tjfry

Originally posted by mcmanusclan5

"just swimming" will reveal a lot of this over time if you are paying attention.

So you can (hopefully) pick up the differences, here are two examples.

Here is Sun Yang. around the 6-8 second mark watch how his pull and is kick are coming from the same side of his body (he uses a modified 2 beat kick, so ignore the flutters for right now and just look a the dominate kick) at about the same time.

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

 Here is Janet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJNIjU2VzCI

Right around the :26 second mark, Notice that her kick doesn't come at the beginning of the pull like Sun, but rather right at the finish of the pull, or when the the opposite arm enters the water. Tempo is different as is the rotation.

 Good luck.

This definitely helps - thanks for the links (I could google for quite some time without finding the right examples, it seems).

Odd that I was timing my kick more like Evans last year in the wetsuit during OWS and now that I've tried to develop more of a kick, I'm doing a 6 beat that is more like Yang's (I have a two little kicks and then a big one) - but the timing is opposite!  I was kicking kicking at the beginning when on the same side and now when I fully extend on the opposite side…  

I'm going to try "swimming like Yang and then Evans" (I can't believe I even wrote that) today at the pool.  I think my timing might be a quarter stroke off with BOTH approaches - so this is very helpful.  Maybe I can even get one of the kids to come with and video some stuff!

Thanks
Matt

2014-01-18 5:08 PM
in reply to: tjfry

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Originally posted by tjfry

Originally posted by AdventureBear Can you elaborate more about Laure Manaudou being shoulder driven? in the context of this clip? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbelgVrdsSkShe strokes on the same side she is kicking although the kick is later in the arm cycle than someone like sun yang or Phelps. I wouldn't have described her as shoulder driven although from the surface she looks a little "army"...but not to the extent that Janet Evans does. Would you say she is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum?

 

On the slow-mo parts at the end, you can see that the kick starts as the pull is almost finished (my eye is drawn to the left arm and leg so that is what I'm referencing). By comparison Sun's is at the start of his pull in the catch phase when the kick comes down. So if the shoulder (pull) is leading or starting the rotation, it's going to be a shoulder driven stroke. If the kick and the pull start the rotation process together (or even the kick just before the pull in some cases) then you have more of a hip driven stroke. It can change throughout a swim as people will mix up the tempo or change their stroke to engage new and fresh muscles so the others can rest. I know from my own swims I can definitely feel an entirely different stroke when I switch the timing.




I'll go with that general description. Except she is not rotating when she pulls, for example her right side is down and remains down as she strokes with the right...I don't see any torso rotation start until she intimates the kick with the right leg, then the whole body rotates even though her right side pull is almost done.

I was just wondering if you saw something that I hadn't noticed before or if we just have a different way of describing a similar thing. If I had to categorize, at least based on this I'd say she's hip driven with an early pull. Just my take on it.
2014-01-18 8:21 PM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

can't drive something if you're not leading it.



2014-01-18 8:29 PM
in reply to: snappingt

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick

Originally posted by snappingt I will second everything TJ just said. But with one important aspect that I think needs to be highlighted and that is found in both a good hip driven stroke or shoulder driven stroke. In both techniques, the hips and the shoulders are connected through a very engaged core.

I only know what I see with regard to swimming and swim training.  I wish I had a dollar for every yard I watch my kid train that has core strength at it's root.....and the result has been dramatic. I have watched these kids do 2000 yards of underwater dolphin kicks (explained to me as core building) in a 7500 yard workout...which seemed ridiculous to my uninformed swim knowledge....but the times keep plummeting.

2014-01-19 10:34 AM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Politely, I think you might be mistaking her breathing pattern and her turn of the body when she breathes for hip engagement. But from my experience, that stroke looks to be very shoulder driven.
2014-01-19 4:21 PM
in reply to: snappingt

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Originally posted by snappingt

Politely, I think you might be mistaking her breathing pattern and her turn of the body when she breathes for hip engagement. But from my experience, that stroke looks to be very shoulder driven.


I think it's just a difference in terminology then...here is what I'm seeing: Her right arm strokes, (she is not breathing) the right arm is more than halfway through the underwater stroke, but her torso has not yet turned, right hip & shoulder still down. her right leg begins its kick and at the earliest moments in the kick the torso rotation begins, the right arm finishes and the left shoulder/arm enter the water and extend.

What am I missing?
2014-01-19 5:32 PM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: correcting wide kick or scissors kick
Swim with a pull buoy between your knees, most effective drill I know of. Forces you to keep your knees together and limits your range of motion. Can also hold it between your ankles as well.
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Give me a motivating kick in the a** PLEASE

Started by zagagirl
Views: 863 Posts: 17

2004-10-28 12:49 PM the bear

Spinervals kicked my $#@

Started by soupaman
Views: 814 Posts: 17

2004-09-21 12:40 PM soupaman
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