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2015-04-14 8:02 PM

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Subject: Underwater video from my coach
I'm almost embarrassed to post this but I will in hopes that some of you can offer me pointers. I know I look pretty bad in this video, and I can sort of visualize what I should be doing better, but any tips on what I should focus on? My coach says I'm crossing over too much with my left arm (watch arm) when I'm breathing, but that seems like only a small part of the problem.

BTW-- I'm on the left in this video, coming toward the camera. My regular pace for 100m is about 2:20-2:30.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/cxoxq8xnih22gqk/Jen_TS10_12April15_underwa...

Here's another one from a previous week's practice:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zwudnx36sb5lvq4/Jen_TS_2015_week6_main_foc...


2015-04-14 8:51 PM
in reply to: jennifer_runs

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

Ah don't be embarrassed, it's how we all learn together.

First things first. You're really reaching down towards the bottom of the pool. Your arms are almost straight. Take a look at the image down below compared to what's called a high elbow catch next to it. A high elbow catch will be more powerful and efficient.

#2- you're not getting enough reach. You should imagine that you're reaching for something way up on the top shelf, and your pull starts from there. Try to "grab" onto the water and pull yourself over it. One thing I've done is laid down on my bed and reached my arm forward and over the edge, then tried to pull my body over the edge. It seems like a silly exercise, but it got me into the feeling of really grabbing and pulling my body over something vs the feeling of windmilling your arms through the water.

 

#3- You're rolling, that's good, but you're wiggling too. Imagine you're a pig on a spit. There's a rod going from the center of the top of your head, down through your body, and out your feet. You should only be rotating around that rod.

 

Don't be discouraged. Watch lots and lots of videos on youtube of pro swimmers before you hit the pool. I used to swim next to an incredible girl who was a big college swimmer, and when I did I automatically felt my own form get better just by watching how she'd glide through the water





(jen.jpg)



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2015-04-14 9:32 PM
in reply to: trijamie

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

Those are the exact same points I was going to point out.  Your arms aren't crossing too much in front of your body.  I've seen a lot worse.  You are making a windmill motion, but like he said above, you're not "grabbing" the water with your forearms.  I like to think of it like this:  imagine the men's parallel bars in gymnastics and they are submerged in the pool just below you.  Now imagine they're made out of ropes.  Now imagine you are floating above them and you have to pull on them to make progress across the pool.

 

2015-04-14 9:33 PM
in reply to: trijamie

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

also, look at your hand.  Your fingers are spread open.  Close your fingers more so that they become an oar instead of a flyswatter.

 

2015-04-14 10:17 PM
in reply to: sungirl919


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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Well the good news is your technique isn't particularly good. It would be worse news if your technique was good and your pace for 100m was about 2:20-2:30! As others have said, you're dropping your elbow, you're rotating, but awkwardly, there's no fluidity to your stroke, which is slowing you down, your legs are splaying/scissor kicking which is creating drag, this could be because your whole face is coming out the water to breathe i.e both goggles exit the water, it should only be one google, your legs then splay to balance your body. Your stroke rate is a little slow. I can't tell from the videos, but your body position may not be quite right, legs seems to be dragging in the underwater video. This is rectified by head down (chin on chest) bum up, ensuring you fully exhale underwater. I try and push my head down like there is a weight on it or someones imaginary hand pushing my head down. There are probably 25/30 things you're doing wrong, some less important than others. I'd try and focus on one or two things at first, get them sorted then work on the next 2 or 3. Trying to work on all 30 will do your head in. e.g work on high vertical elbow. Use a pull buoy and paddles.
2015-04-14 10:27 PM
in reply to: #5108164

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Some good observations already.

I noticed you over-rotating on a few of your breaths. This will cause you to scissor kick to stabilize your body (creates lots of drag). Try this drill using fins... swim a length breathing to the right but only rotating your head enough so that one goggle stays in the water. You should be able to see underwater in the next lane when you take your breath. On the return length do the same thing but breathe to the left...you won't be able to over-rotate if you keep one goggle submerged.

Try to limit the number of things you want to focus on for correction in each session so you don't get overwhelmed.

Good luck and post another video after you've had some more practice time in the pool.



2015-04-15 6:51 AM
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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
I agree w/ what everyone has said above for the most part except your hand doesn't have to be closed. Something about leaving small gaps in your fingers creates webbing or something and is bueno.

I absolutely love this drill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKGFATUfdkw

Do this drill and focus on getting only one lens out of the water when you are breathing.

Your kick looks like it is creating more drag than propulsion. I would do pull buoy drills focusing on body alignment. With the buoy swim with your toes pointed trying to reduce drag and then w/o the buoy try to replicate that position while kicking. This will probably be hardest so I would focus on the other stuff first.

EDIT: just read the part where someone recommended using paddles. You could use paddles here, but its not necessary. It won't aid your form on this drill, but it will make you go faster.

Edited by Lupy 2015-04-15 7:05 AM
2015-04-15 7:17 AM
in reply to: Lupy

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
You've gotten some great replies.

I'll just add that it doesn't look like you're trying to pull yourself through the water. It looks like you're just doing arm circles in the water. You really need to work on your reach and your pull.

A couple of good drills would be catch-up and one arm. Try and really feel the power of your pull propelling you forward on those.
2015-04-15 9:38 AM
in reply to: Jet Black

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Thanks everyone. I have a few good things I can work on.

Kind of disappointed that these pretty basic things weren't pointed out by my coach.
2015-04-15 1:18 PM
in reply to: sungirl919

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by sungirl919

also, look at your hand.  Your fingers are spread open.  Close your fingers more so that they become an oar instead of a flyswatter.

 




As suggested above, not this.

This: http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=...
2015-04-15 1:52 PM
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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by sungirl919

Those are the exact same points I was going to point out.  Your arms aren't crossing too much in front of your body.  I've seen a lot worse.  You are making a windmill motion, but like he said above, you're not "grabbing" the water with your forearms.  I like to think of it like this:  imagine the men's parallel bars in gymnastics and they are submerged in the pool just below you.  Now imagine they're made out of ropes.  Now imagine you are floating above them and you have to pull on them to make progress across the pool.

 




I always pretend I'm swimming in jello and have to plant my arm and pull my body past it. Similar idea- focus on getting more pull out of each stroke. As you pull your body past your forearm allow your elbow to bend. As I pull I start with a pretty straight arm reaching out in front, but it's at 90 degrees as my had passes under my body perpendicular to the bottom then it extends again.

(Unlike the picture posted above though, my upper arm is about 45 degrees from the surface as my hand sweeps under my body in an S shaped pull. I think this allows more pull from the bicep - but either way my conformation would not allow me to hold the position in that picture- or maybe it's just a funny angle in the picture taken earlier in the stroke than I thought.)

Another image that helps me is I had a master's coach who told me to think about hooking my arm over a big heavy barrel and pushing it behind me as a swam (I have a tendency to slip my shoulder back and this was designed to stop that.)

Edited by Moonrocket 2015-04-15 1:54 PM


2015-04-15 1:55 PM
in reply to: Goosedog

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

See if this helps you visualize what you are doing (the same thing I do when I swim.....but getting better).  Swimmers will tell you that they are not moving water or propelling themselves through the water, like you are probably trying to do from seeing the video.  They say, "the water doesn't move, you pull yourself through it".

So.....pretend you are laying on top of monkey bars and pulling yourself across them.  You actually anchor your hand (the weirdest ting to get through my head)....and then pull yourself toward it.  The kids watch me and laugh.....because I have this idea, they say, of my arms and legs being a motor that propels me like a boat motor would.  They like to say, "pretend you are swimming in molasses".....with the idea being that you can swim just as fast through that medium as you can through water......and they eve have a video of some dude swimming through molasses. LOL

"Put your hand in the water....bend your wrist and point your fingers to the bottom of the pool, and pull yourself across the monkey bars.", they said........it helped. 

2015-04-15 2:03 PM
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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by jennifer_runs

Thanks everyone. I have a few good things I can work on.

Kind of disappointed that these pretty basic things weren't pointed out by my coach.


There's plenty of good swim/technique suggestions here, but I think your second sentence may be worth exploring. I'm kinda surprised that he/she didn't mention the high elbow and other stuff mentioned here. You may want to ask your coach about that. How much are you paying him/her? Does he/she provide you help with the other parts of your training?

BTW, I apologize if this is a sore subject...



Edited by LarchmontTri 2015-04-15 2:09 PM
2015-04-15 7:40 PM
in reply to: jennifer_runs


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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by jennifer_runs

Thanks everyone. I have a few good things I can work on.

Kind of disappointed that these pretty basic things weren't pointed out by my coach.


To be honest, if he has 15, 20 other people he's probably put you in the "too hard basket". Your stroke needs a lot of work and a few tips here and there from your coach won't be sufficient. You need some one on one time with a coach, who can concentrate solely on you. In saying that he should be pointing out some of the fundamental problems with your stroke, which would, at the very least, enable you to do something about it.
2015-04-15 7:59 PM
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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by zedzded

Originally posted by jennifer_runs

Thanks everyone. I have a few good things I can work on.

Kind of disappointed that these pretty basic things weren't pointed out by my coach.


To be honest, if he has 15, 20 other people he's probably put you in the "too hard basket". Your stroke needs a lot of work and a few tips here and there from your coach won't be sufficient. You need some one on one time with a coach, who can concentrate solely on you. In saying that he should be pointing out some of the fundamental problems with your stroke, which would, at the very least, enable you to do something about it.

I've been with him for a while in much smaller groups to start with, and he gives a lot of attention to each participant. I'm with a bigger group now, but there are usually less than 10 people. He video tapes us every other week and watches us all. It just seems like he focuses on the wrong things-- we do tons of drills and the only thing that has really helped me has been "fists" drill which taught me how to properly roll my body (which apparently I'm overdoing now anyway!). We've done stuff like high elbow drill but what I've really been missing is what's going on under water. I've heard rave reviews about this group where people say they go from where I am to under 30 min/mile.

I really like him and his caring attitude, but it's clear that it's not really working for me now.

Edited by jennifer_runs 2015-04-15 8:00 PM
2015-04-15 8:04 PM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by Left Brain

See if this helps you visualize what you are doing (the same thing I do when I swim.....but getting better).  Swimmers will tell you that they are not moving water or propelling themselves through the water, like you are probably trying to do from seeing the video.  They say, "the water doesn't move, you pull yourself through it".

So.....pretend you are laying on top of monkey bars and pulling yourself across them.  You actually anchor your hand (the weirdest ting to get through my head)....and then pull yourself toward it.  The kids watch me and laugh.....because I have this idea, they say, of my arms and legs being a motor that propels me like a boat motor would.  They like to say, "pretend you are swimming in molasses".....with the idea being that you can swim just as fast through that medium as you can through water......and they eve have a video of some dude swimming through molasses. LOL

"Put your hand in the water....bend your wrist and point your fingers to the bottom of the pool, and pull yourself across the monkey bars.", they said........it helped. 




That's probably the best visual I can imagine-- I'll try tomorrow and let you know.
Thanks.


2015-04-15 9:53 PM
in reply to: sungirl919

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

Let me reiterate, "close your hand more"-- not completely like the photo.  There's a large gap between two of your fingers.

2015-04-16 1:02 AM
in reply to: jennifer_runs


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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by jennifer_runs

I've been with him for a while in much smaller groups to start with, and he gives a lot of attention to each participant. I'm with a bigger group now, but there are usually less than 10 people. He video tapes us every other week and watches us all. It just seems like he focuses on the wrong things-- we do tons of drills and the only thing that has really helped me has been "fists" drill which taught me how to properly roll my body (which apparently I'm overdoing now anyway!). We've done stuff like high elbow drill but what I've really been missing is what's going on under water. I've heard rave reviews about this group where people say they go from where I am to under 30 min/mile.

I really like him and his caring attitude, but it's clear that it's not really working for me now.


Hmm there's not much point in spending the time videoing you, if he's not going to do any video analysis. Your dropped elbow is so glaringly obvious, any half-decent swimmer, let alone a coach, should be able to point it out. That's not to say he's a bad coach, but like you said, it's not really working for you. If you're keen to put in a bit of time and maybe spend a bit of money, you can significantly improve your times. Some ideas:

- get some one-on-one coaching from a reputable swim coach
- get a professional video analysis done. We have them in Australia, it's around $250 for 2 - 3 hours of swimming, filming and analysing what the issues are with your stroke and more importantly how to fix them
- carry on with your current coach, but pro-actively seek out his advice, however, rather than asking for general tips on how to improve your stroke, perhaps ask for help with specific aspects of your technique e.g developing the high elbow catch, "do I drop my elbow", "what can I do to stop it dropping", "can you watch me this lap to see if that's any better"
- check out the bazzillions of youtube clips, I found these very useful

Watching your videos, it looks like you're working quite hard in the water, when you come to wanting to work on certain aspects of your stroke, if you're putting in a lot of effort it can be quite hard to focus and concentrate on improving your technique. What I do is try and make it as easy as possible to swim e.g using buoyancy shorts, pull buoy, fins, paddles etc you've got extra buoyancy and propulsion, you can swim with much less effort and can take the time to watch your arm, for example, as you work on maintaining a high elbow.
2015-04-16 6:36 AM
in reply to: zedzded

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

He would be my ex-coach.  I'm not as nice and diplomatic as others on this thread.  As zed pointed out, the elbow drop is so obvious that it's negligent of him as a coach to take your money and not point out basic things like that.  There's no excuse for it.

2015-04-16 9:01 AM
in reply to: jennifer_runs

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by jennifer_runs

I'm almost embarrassed to post this but I will in hopes that some of you can offer me pointers. I know I look pretty bad in this video, and I can sort of visualize what I should be doing better, but any tips on what I should focus on? My coach says I'm crossing over too much with my left arm (watch arm) when I'm breathing, but that seems like only a small part of the problem.

BTW-- I'm on the left in this video, coming toward the camera. My regular pace for 100m is about 2:20-2:30.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/cxoxq8xnih22gqk/Jen_TS10_12April15_underwa...

Here's another one from a previous week's practice:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zwudnx36sb5lvq4/Jen_TS_2015_week6_main_foc...


Thank you so much for posting these videos. I was able to visualize what I was doing wrong and using tips in this thread I was able to correct my stroke quite a bit.
2015-04-16 12:01 PM
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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Thanks for the tips everyone. I'm glad my videos helped someone else at least.

I went to the pool today and I tried focussing on the high elbow and bent arm pull today. It definitely felt different but I wasn't any faster- and I could really feel it in my neck and shoulders. I was always told that my lats should feel it the most. Maybe I just need to build up more strength overall.

Or maybe I am just one of those "can't be helped" people.

Edited by jennifer_runs 2015-04-16 12:03 PM


2015-04-16 12:23 PM
in reply to: jennifer_runs


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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

Originally posted by jennifer_runs Thanks for the tips everyone. I'm glad my videos helped someone else at least. I went to the pool today and I tried focussing on the high elbow and bent arm pull today. It definitely felt different but I wasn't any faster- and I could really feel it in my neck and shoulders. I was always told that my lats should feel it the most. Maybe I just need to build up more strength overall. Or maybe I am just one of those "can't be helped" people.

 

You definitely can improve a lot - you've definitely got low hanging fruit to pick up on the swim!

It does take time and training though, so don't expect any miracles. It can get discouraging when some folks post "wow, fixed my dropped elbow and swam 10sec/100 faster instantly!" but more often than not, those are overstated gains, often from one isolated set, since a 10sec/100 gain for all sets is a very big improvement, like a whole different category of swimmer. 

And while it's true you should be predominantly focusing on technique, technique, technique at your stage, it is definitely true that you won't see MOP speeds until you later get your swim muscular endurance up enough to pull harder and increase turnover. 

2015-04-16 12:24 PM
in reply to: jennifer_runs

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach

Nonsense. Keep at it and you will get it. I agree with the people above that you'd do well with some one on one time. When you do something different like the high elbow, it may feel "wrong" but it just feels that way because it's different than what you're used to. Try updating one aspect at a time and maybe post another video in a few weeks and we can see what kind of progress has been made.

2015-04-16 12:39 PM
in reply to: trijamie

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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Thanks guys. I'll keep at it.

I'll stick with this group-- I will only be attending three more sessions-- but then do more work on my own or with a different group just for fitness. If my coach videos me again I'll post later.

I do get discouraged when I hear about people who claim to "instantly" improve by huge amounts of time when the fix one little thing, but I know those are often overstated claims. I also expect it's somewhat like running in that improvements often seem to come in big steps but after a lot of consistent work.

One thing I've never liked in my coach's philosophy is that he tends to de-emphasize fitness. He says, "if it were all about fitness, many of you should be much faster than me" (because we have some pretty fast runners and cyclists in the group). But that is forgetting about fitness specificity. I know I need more swim fitness.
2015-04-16 12:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Underwater video from my coach
Originally posted by jennifer_runs

One thing I've never liked in my coach's philosophy is that he tends to de-emphasize fitness. He says, "if it were all about fitness, many of you should be much faster than me" (because we have some pretty fast runners and cyclists in the group). But that is forgetting about fitness specificity. I know I need more swim fitness.


Not to discount swim fitness, but if his alternative focus is technique, he might be sort of right when it comes to swimming. You see all the time much older and much rounder folks jump in the pool and absolutely kill it. Their 18 years of swim practice from the age of 4, with ingrained impeccable technique, will swim circles around the fittest adult-onset swimmer. With a few exceptions, of course.






Edited by Goosedog 2015-04-16 12:56 PM
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