Friday, March 28, 2014

Scissor Kicks Are Caused By Crossovers

In the vast majority of cases scissor kicks are caused by crossovers:


The swimmer crosses over the centre line in front of the head, over-rotates and then the legs scissor apart to stop them flipping over onto their back. Over time this becomes a habit in the stroke and feels normal - in fact most swimmers with a scissor kick don't even realise it is there.

In a sense the swimmer doesn’t have two problems but one. Remove the crossover and the scissor kick disappears permanently all by itself. But try to tackle the scissor kick directly with kicking drills and it keeps coming back without first removing the crossover.

How to remove the crossover? By improving your posture and alignment in the water using side kicking exercises, thinking about drawing your shoulders together and back to bring the lead arm straight:


Read the full description of this drill here.

Swim Smooth's Cause And Effect Methodology

Crossovers-causing-scissor-kicks is the most famous example of our "Cause and Effect" approach to stroke correction which is the backbone of all our coaching products. It's a philosophy which greatly simplifies stroke correction and hugely improves the chances of its success.

There are around 20 other C+Es that we employ at different times for different faults ranging from shortness of breath right through to mastering catch technique. Our best selling Book, DVDs and Swim Type correction guides all use this simple but powerful principle to permanently improve your swimming.

Swim Smooth!

15 comments:

Jonas said...

Yes, I agree cross-overs and scissor kicks are connected: removing the first, you remove the second. Many people are hampered by their legs in moving forward smoothly. The key here is to coordinate the arms stroke cycle with the kick cycle (2 or 6 beat kick) so as to move forward smoothly and to integrate the kick with the whole body movement (especially with body rotation). I would like Swim Smooth to hang a post about coordination between arms and coordination between arms and legs. In my view, Swim Smooth does not pinpoint enough the importance of it. A lack of coordination is the reason why many triathletes do not glide in the water and tend to have an "Arnie" style.

Joaquim Torres said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joaquim Torres said...

Hi Swim Smooth,

I learned a very effective drill for cross-over. When entering the hand in the water, instead of pointing your fingers to the wall in front of you, try pointing your thumb. More or less like I described in this article:

http://www.semraias.com.br/2014/02/15/aponte-o-polegar

The article is in Protuguese, but the pictures speak for themselves.

Best,
Joca.

shuggie said...

Hi Paul,

What do you think about Joca's suggestion about pointing the thumb forward? Any concerns it could create another problem that subsequently needs correcting?

Adam Young said...

Hi Joca,

I guess we'd say the danger with asking someone to do that is they'd tend to overdo it. We also view it as a flaw as it tends to cause the fingertips to rise up towards the surface and drop the elbow:

http://www.feelforthewater.com/2013/07/flaws-in-seemingly-perfect-stroke.html

Along similar lines, we prefer to ask someone to think about their middle finger as they swim, pointing straight down the pool:

http://www.feelforthewater.com/2010/11/your-middle-finger.html

Hope that helps!

Adam

Adam Young said...

Hi Jonas,

What method would you use to coordinate a six beat kick with beginner swimmers? Bearing in mind that swimming at 60 SPM is 180 kicks per minute.

Adam

Joaquim Torres said...

Hi Adam,

You're right. There's the risk of rising the fingertips.

I was thinking of this technique more as a drill than a focal point, i.e., swim 25m or 50m pointing the thumbs forward, just to get a sense of how it feels to swim not crossing over, then swim another 25m or 50m normally.

Would you think that even using it as a drill would be harmful as well?

Thanks,
Joca.

Martin Grimberg said...

I have corrected this problem using a pullboey.

Anonymous said...

Adam and Paul,

The images that Joca posts on his website:

http://www.semraias.com.br/2014/02/15/aponte-o-polegar

do appear to show pros (I assume they're pros) using the thumb-forward technique he suggests.

How do you interpret that?

Thank you.

Emily @ My Little Lasik said...

Nice, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Adam & Paul,
I was wondering what you thought about the drill we have to do in our Triathlon club sometimes. This involves having a band round our ankles and a pull buoy between ankles, then swimming. Obviously you do cannot kick (scissor or otherwise), but the aim is not to let your legs sway from side to side. Needless to say my legs do sway from side to side, and I was told this was because I was not rotating enough at the front, but too much at the rear. Your comments on this drill as an aid curing scissor kicks, or if you think it is of any benefit otherwise, would be appreciated.
All best wishes,
Barbara

Paul said...

Hi Shuggie / Anonymous

Like Adam mentions above, this is very much an elite "Smooth" swim type trait: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2013/07/flaws-in-seemingly-perfect-stroke.html - in our experience if over-done this can lead to the elbow of the extending arm dropping in the water. I coach Guy Crawford (über-fish and sub-48 IM swimmer) who does this and it's something we've worked on to improve with good success. As Adam also says, our preference is for the middle finger to be the point that extends truly forwards.

Hi Martin,

You haven't corrected the problem with a pull buoy - merely masked it - be careful not to become over-reliant upon that.

Hi Barbara,

Like Martin above a pull buoy (and a band) have benefits for other aspects of the stroke, but they don't "cure" a scissor kick, merely mask it and prevent it happening.

We have some points on bands swimming here:

http://www.feelforthewater.com/2013/07/swimming-with-band-isnt-easy-but-great.html

Cheers

Paul

Paul said...

Hi Shuggie / Anonymous

Like Adam mentions above, this is very much an elite "Smooth" swim type trait: http://www.feelforthewater.com/2013/07/flaws-in-seemingly-perfect-stroke.html - in our experience if over-done this can lead to the elbow of the extending arm dropping in the water. I coach Guy Crawford (über-fish and sub-48 IM swimmer) who does this and it's something we've worked on to improve with good success. As Adam also says, our preference is for the middle finger to be the point that extends truly forwards.

Hi Martin,

You haven't corrected the problem with a pull buoy - merely masked it - be careful not to become over-reliant upon that.

Hi Barbara,

Like Martin above a pull buoy (and a band) have benefits for other aspects of the stroke, but they don't "cure" a scissor kick, merely mask it and prevent it happening.

We have some points on bands swimming here:

http://www.feelforthewater.com/2013/07/swimming-with-band-isnt-easy-but-great.html

Cheers

Paul

jim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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