Monday, October 5, 2009

The Conveyor Belt Visualisation

Here’s a neat visualisation to help you remove deadspots from your stroke.

Deadspots normally lie right at the front of the stroke, the lead hand gliding in a stationary 'dead' position for a period of time causing the swimmer to slow down between strokes. Not only do you lose speed here but many stroke problems occur in this dead period, such as dropped elbows and wrists – adding drag and ruining your feel for the water.

Problem: Swimmers can find it hard to co-ordinate removing these deadspots, when they try they often end up accelerating every other phase of their stroke but leave the deadspot in place!

If you’re in that situation here’s a little tip to help you, we call it 'The Conveyor Belt Visualisation'. Imagine you are swimming over a conveyor belt in the water (you could also think of it as a treadmill):

What you have to do is simple, try and keep one arm stroke on the conveyor at all times – so as one stroke finishes at the back you begin catching the water at the front. As you do this try and stay relaxed and find a new rhythm, there will be a temptation to swim harder but this isn’t necessary. In fact, as you remove the deadspot and become more efficient, you can reduce the effort in your stroke a little to swim at the same speed – great!

Use the conveyor belt visualisation as a drill to practise a new improved stroke timing. Depending on your individual stroke and style, the 'conveyor stroke' may be too extreme for you to be comfortable swimming over longer distances – you might need a very small delay between finishing at the back and starting at the front. That’s OK as long as that lead hand never stops and pauses – it’s always in motion: either extending forwards with your body roll, gently initiating the catch by tipping the fingertips over and bending the elbow or pulling backwards on the water. If you watch him closely, this is how Mr Smooth swims.

We've opened a thread to discuss and asks questions about this blog post in our forum here:

Swim Smooth!


Anonymous said...

The Catch Masterclass DVD is the best instructional I have viewed in 20+ years. Kudos.

Question on the first move down from full extension, which is where my dead spot appears like anyone else in most cases.

I have my elbow above my wrist above my fingers. Is it okay to begin down the first 6" or so with no elbow bend. Not a true straight arm b/c by the nature of my elbow above wrist above fingers it's NOT a straight arm by my understanding. BUT my confusion comes in b/c there is a window of time there where I can't internally rotate my humerus until the arm gets lower in the water. So, how do I go about lowering that arm? Simply reducing the angle of my arm pit until I feel I can safely begin that elbow bend?

Thanks Paul! When are you coming to the States?

Adam Young said...

Hi there, thanks for your feedback about Catch Masterclass!

I think from what you are saying that you could do with entering and extending forwards just a touch deeper in the water. This will help you catch and engage the water more naturally and bend the elbow earlier.

You don't really want to internally rotate the shoulder by rotating your arm, this easily leads to shoulder injury. As your body is partly rotated onto your side you should be able to extend forward and catch the water without rotation of the arm/shoulder. Think about drawing your shoulder blades together in this position and you should find you can do this without any internal rotation of the shoulder.

Hope that helps. We hope to visit the US in 2012 - watch this space.