Friday, January 29, 2016

Is Your Elbow Really Dropped Or Is It Just That Your Hand Is Too High?

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This week on the Feel For The Water Blog we have a new Swim Smooth video clip for you. If you've ever been told by a coach that you need to get your elbows higher then we'd pose to you the question, is your elbow really dropped or in fact is it just that your hand is too high? A change in perspective that could make all the difference to improving your stroke technique.

Paul Newsome takes a look during a during a recent video analysis session (featuring a little help from 18 times Olympic Gold Medallist Michael Phelps):




To correct this area of your stroke, use our Catch Masterclass program, either on DVD or in the Swim Smooth Coaching system webapp:

www.swimsmooth.com/catchmasterclass.html

app.swimsmooth.com/section/bX/fw/catch-masterclass

Swim Smooth!

5 comments:

Jonas said...

Thanks, Paul. I hadn't thought the way you describe it here: the problem is in the hand being to high, not in the elbow being too low. I am gonna check what I do in my next swimming session. You gave us a good tip here. Thanks !

Steve Nayler said...

This definitely worked for me. Swim smooth coach Steve Bailey pointed it out and I immediately dropped 5sec/100m with no extra effort,
in fact it was easier. It felt wrong at first, as if I wasn't reaching far forward enough, but in reality by reaching down I get into a proper pulling position straight away. It's noticeable that there is no glide, I'm putting power into the pull pretty much as soon as my hand is in the water. Stroke rate has gone up a bit so I've spent the winter getting used to that but now reckon I've knocked another 5secs off. More than 2 mins quicker over 1500m...happy with that.

Sarah Leah said...

Great, thanks so much for sharing the video analysis. Spearing....it's the future :-)

Tim said...

Hi Paul,
Great observation as always and what might seem like semantics is actually all about getting the instructions across in a way that is clear and can be accurately followed.
I have arrived at a similar change in description and thought with regard to reaching forward with the arm entering at the front. Many coaches and mannuals encourage this and concentrate on the finger tips. As you have so well documented in the Swim Smooth method this can lead to the arm rising upwards after it has entered the water and is classically seen in the "overglider". I found myself doing the same in the past in repsonse to that instruction. More recently I found a way around this by concentrating more on reaching forward at the shoulder. This is harder for me because of shoulder immobility due to clavicle fractures etc. But it does stop me from overreaching with the hand. While doing this it is important to remember your point about keeping the arm / hand in line with the shoulder so that the arm does not cross over. This is also imporatnt in avoiding lateral (side to side) flexion at the shoulder end of the torso and having the shoulder move medially towards the neck, because in this position it is harder to internally rotate the arm at the shoulder making it harder to flex the forearm at the elbow while reaching forward, and harder to keep the hand below the elbow. The shoulder movement to aim for is "distraction" away from the torso in an upwards direction.
One other point that might be worth mentioning is that the width of the hand position at the start of the catch can be influenced not just by the position of the upper arm relative to the torso but also by the degree of shoulder rotation. The swimmer in your video could bring the hand in by rotating more at the shoulders.
Many thanks for sharing your expert insight. Immensely valuable as always.

zackme said...

Hello,
Regarding the angle between arm and forearn during the catch, what do you think of the concept of a much smaller angle (I d say about 30-40 degrees), with the hand vertically below the shoulder but also very close to it (15-20cm). The idea behind this approach I heard is to reproduce the way we instinctively/optimally position out hands and body on the edge of the wall before we push/pull ourselves out of the pool (when we are done swimming), i.e hands shoulder width apart but with the upperbody/shoulders very close to the wall and hands?