Take a close look at a tennis player or a baseball pitcher. The most work is done by hip rotation, but if we would rotate our hips with a constant speed nothing would happen at all.
Tennis player, baseball pitcher, swimmer, or in any other kind of sport we have to learn to accelerate at the right moment. For instant, the baseball pitcher will give the ball the last spin at the very end. There is no difference in swimming but the most difficult part in swimming is, seemingly we do not have a fixed reference point. A baseball pitcher for example stands on the ground. Our body is moving horizontally relatively to the water and water is an unstable environment, which makes swimming technically to a difficult sport to learn. In addition, our sensory system in our body is not prepared for this watery environment.
As swimmer, we do have a reference point when our finger, hand, wrist, forearm structure enters the water. The finger-hand structure makes the catch first then we pull our body over the finger-hand-wrist-forearm structure. In other words, if we would climb a ladder using our wrists for holding the rungs and the extended fingers would simulate the catch. Basically, the entire finger-hand-wrist forearm structure should not move at all; it holds the spot allowing the body to rotate by adjusting the angle of shoulder-arm-wrist-hand finger during the pull.
When we begin to rotate the trunk muscles twist around our spine. These muscles contracting and the energy get transmitted to the shoulder-upper arm-lower arm-wrist-hand-finger-water until the rotation is completed. In order to understand these moves we have to train our sensory skills, in other words we have to learn where our limbs are at any given time during the swim.
We learned so far:
lengthen your body,
hide your head, anchor your hand,
rotate the body, and swim slippery.
How do we get there?
|The term is: front quadrant swimming|
To mention is, that the under water hand has not done the catch yet and the hand should be at the vertical line approx. under the forehead. The finger-hand position does not point to the bottom of the pool or lake. The line approx. represents the movement of the finger-hand-wrist-forearm structure. At the end of this movement, near the hips, your hand should give the water the final spin which brings you into the final end of the rotation.
The only issue with an almost catch up style as shown in the picture above is, the potential for shoulder injury is higher.
How do we start?
The hand breaks through the water, leaves the elbow slightly higher than your hand.Bend the elbow (and possibly the wrist a bit), point your fingers, hand, wrist, and forearm structure towards the bottom of the pool or lake (this is the beginning of the catch).Point the fingers, hand, wrist, and forearm structure towards the bottom of the pool, press on the water (backwards) (this is the end of the catch).
Very important - NO S CURVE – Do not move the finger-hand-wrist-forearm structure away from pointing at the bottom of the pool or lake. The shoulder- elbow – hand- angle will change but do the best that the entire structure keeps pointing to the bottom. That is your reference point. In other words, that is our traction control in swimming.At the same time as you begin the catch, the opposite arm should be almost at the location of your head.At the same time as you finish the catch and begin the press, the rotation to the opposite side starts. Finish your stroke when you feel a major loss of pressure on your hand and lift your elbow and bring the whole arm up into the air for its recovery.That needs to be trained during every workout you intend to do.
|If a swimmer presses the hand down instead of pulling,
the ball joint of the shoulder will slam into the top of the socket pinching tendon in each cycle.
|In our swim drills we focus on minimizing
drag and not maximizing propulsion.
Drill to carry out
Side arm side kick and count while gliding 21-22-23
Push off from the wall on one side with the lower arm extended forward and keep kicking. The other arm rest on your leg and is stretched out. Your nose points to the bottom of the pool and while breathing you turn your head sideways take a breath. The recovery arm passes your head begin to rotate to the other side while the hand enters the water. Once on the other side count to 23 and do the same with the other arm.
Once you have mastered this drill we do a very neat exercise. Distance per stroke means, how much distance can you swim during one stroke. That does not mean that you have to reach out as far as you can with your arms, it means how much power can you add during the under water stroke. Doing this, we exercise a drill called “stroke count (SC)”. The lesser strokes you do the more energy you conserve. Say we have a 25m pool and you are 175cm tall. 25m divided by 1.75m gives you 14 comfortable strokes. In drill sets you should bring it down by 4 strokes, meaning 10 strokes.
This important exercise needs to be trained during every workout you intend to do.
A comfortable set would be: 50m drill - 50m SC - 50m Swim
(Focus on stroke count) 50m drill - 50m SC – 50m SC - 50m Swim
(10s. rest for each 50m) 50m drill - 50m SC – 50m SC – 50m SC - 50m Swim