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Creating Massive Change Part V

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI


I always strive for simplicity of message and application. Simplicity promotes action. For all of the strokes, there are just 3 tasks you need to accomplish. You need to-


  • Create as much propulsion as possible

  • Reduce resistance as much as possible

  • Optimize the timing of your limbs and body


That’s it! Simple, but not easy.


To increase propulsion-


  • Focus on using as much surface as possible with your arm or leg

  • Create as much pressure as possible on your arm or leg

  • Sustain it for as long as possible


Again, simple, but not easy.


To increase reduce drag-


  • Ensure the body is as straight as possible

  • Minimize up and down motions of the body

  • Minimize side to side motions of the torso

  • Pay special attention to the above when breathing


To optimize timing, we have to look at specific strokes as the rules dictate what will work best. However, there are some generalities that apply to all stroke.


  • Use the momentum of the recovering arms to drive rotation or undulation

  • Appropriately time the arms and legs in breaststroke and butterfly

  • Appropriately time the arms in freestyle and backstroke


When we apply all of these principles to the actual strokes, we get some pretty clear indications of what will be most effective. Too often coaches have a very long list of requirements for optimal strokes. The opposite approach is most effective. Ruthlessly, work on the true essentials and master them. This is more effective than wasting time on improving the 5%. Here’s what matters-


Crawl/Backstroke


  • Thick pull- Create as much resistance as possible on the arms and legs for as long as possible

  • Drive the body- Swing your arms to drive the rotation of your body

  • Skinny posture - Maintain a posture that reduces drag, paying particular attention to alignment of the spine


Butterfly


  • Thick- Create as much resistance as possible on the arms and legs for as long as possible

  • Skinny Posture- Keep your undulation to ‘just enough’

  • Timing- Time your kicks for when your arms enter the water and your arms exit the water


Breaststroke


  • Get thick- Create as much resistance as possible on the arms and legs for as long as possible

  • Forward- Move the stroke forward through the breath and arm recovery as compared to upward

  • Delay­- Separate the arm and leg action to ensure you create force when you’re streamlined

  • Skinny posture - Maintain a posture that reduces drag, paying particular attention to alignment of the spine


Underwater Dolphin Kick


  • Create stability- Maintain stable head and hands from which to undulate

  • Get thick- Create as much resistance as possible on your feet for as long as possible

  • Both directions- Maintain thickness and tempo equally in both directions

  • Skinny posture - Maintain a posture that reduces drag, paying particular attention to alignment of the spine


While I explained what to do, it takes A LOT more to explain how to do it. It took me years! Fortunately, I’ve distilled it all down, and we’ll be exploring it in bite size pieces on the blog.

As we’ll see in the next e-mail, it takes A LOT of work to actually create changes that hold up in competition. We have to focus on the critical skills that matter. We don’t have time to mess around with the minutiae like everyone else does.


It’s not ‘simple’. It’s what works.


Faster. Easier. Better.


Andrew

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