How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

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Don Wright
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby Don Wright » Sun Sep 01, 2013 8:59 am

Hi "smootharnie"!

I liked Natalie's dolphin kicking - it's so good for the abs! Despite my naughty penchant for late night snacks of a few biscuits and too much fondness for cakes (what a pity I'm a choco-holic as well) - resulting in a bit of a "spare tyre", around the hips - there are some faint signs that my early morning routine of doing 140 quick dolphin kicks (initiated around the midriff) while outstretched on the bed on my back, are at long last paying off in better abs! :lol: Just don't mention going to the gym to get toned up - I waved "Good-bye" to that when I got to 72 - too much for the arthritic joints. Just relying now on dog-walking, swimming and the occasional burst of activity on an exercise bike! At 5ft 4" (have actually lost 4" in height over the years, shrinkage of cartilage I suppose), I try to keep my weight steady at 154 Lb, but the bathroom scales sometimes show an extra couple of pounds - then its back to an austerity diet for a few days as "punishment" for my follies! BMI is at a "comfortable" level so I've been told. Trouble is, when I shed the few extra pounds, my skin looks a bit like that of a rhinocerous - it's stretched a bit, lost its former youthful elasticity and gone saggy where the adipose tissue used to be. :shock: Am mostly ectomorph form (shame about the remnants of that "spare tyre", :( you know what they say about what we eat "A moment in the mouth, and a lifetime around the middle!") - judging by your choice of "nom-de-plume", you are probably more of an endomorph form.

Bye / Don
Last edited by Don Wright on Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

smootharnie
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby smootharnie » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:16 pm

We are going a bit off topic Don!
If I start with chocolate or chips its gone within an hour, whatever the size. I just dont buy, chips, chocolate or cookies anymore.
90% of all the "food" in the supermarket is rubbish.
Back to basic is best.
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dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:00 pm

well I don't think that I solved it quite yet. I'm going to try that thing up there that Don posted about kicking harder but of course maintaining a very compact kick while trying to kick from the hips with as little knee bend as I can manage.

Don Wright
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby Don Wright » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:19 pm

Hi "dcoughman"!

That business of kicking harder was just one guy's idea for soving the problem from the US Masters Forum. I don't believe you need to kick harder - just tidier! Feet always passing very close to each other, legs a bit straighter, and a shallow'ish kick depth. Think you can let water pressure force your lower leg up a bit on the kick downbeats, but they tell us the upbeats should be done with straight legs, or else the lower legs will curl back a bit causing drag, 'cos they act against the direction of motion. If attempting that doesn't solve the problem, then may need to look more closely at your arm action and "catch-up" drill will enable you to really concentrate on what the arms are doing, one at a time!

Bye / Don

smootharnie
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby smootharnie » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:20 pm

Catch looks good from the front, but together with a bit of overstretching you are still on 23 strokes /25 m.
Grabbing more water up front tp get big pulls should get you fewer strokes if you push through at the end.
You are small with short arms and small hands, you are not using much push in the stroke, or you are causing drag somewhere.
You seem to have 2 main kicks that go together with feets that are sticking a bit out of the water. Hard to see, but it looks like the leg that is attached to the foot is pointing down quite a bit. Could it be your are kicking too much from the knees?
I also think the timing from these main kicks is off. Kicking down at the same side where the hand is entering the water.
I dont think that a bit of fishtailing causes very much drag, but it is a sign that something in the core department can be improved.
Swimming is all about body awareness, and some fitness, so how to achieve more awareness what the middle part of the body is (not)doing?

Maybe swimming with a pull clamped at the ankles could help. This seems to be quite difficult for weaker cores, so it let you feel the muscles that are there and forces you to straighten things out.
This is just a gutt feeling from a non-coach. Never tried it myself, but I think it could help.
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dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:25 pm

thanks smootharnie! I agree that it must be drag. I am not particularly short. I am 5' 10.5"
this morning I went to the pool thinking that I need to work on those main kicks you were mentioning. I also came to the conclusion (before reading your post) that my kick timing is probably off. however, this morning a different coach told me that the fish tailing was still there. He said that when I rotate to breathe that I am sinking my shoulder. I believe that this is a similar point to what karl mentioned about overreaching my extension. when I tried practicing what my coach said he told me that it looked much better. so I will keep working on it.
so many things to work on!

smootharnie
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby smootharnie » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:23 pm

You stroke timing is more kayak style than front quadrant. When one hand enters the water, the other is completely at the back. Mr smooth has the other hand about halfway the stroke at that point.
This way you dont have an outsstretched arm to momentarely support you while breathing.*Freeze at 0.45 sec). You are the opposite of an overglider, and that in part explaines the relative high strokecount.
I think this style is OK for faster swimming, but makes breatbing a bit harder at lower speeds.
Dont know how it effects fishtailing.

Had another look at the video:
Also you seem to pull you head underwater and to the left Freeze 0.40 and 0.42.sec. This in itself causes the rest of your body to fishtail.
Keep the head stationary and look a bit more to the front. This will give you more body awareness.

Curious about the pull between the ankles thing. Would you be so kind to try this for me?
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dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:51 pm

By the way, SmoothArnie, I want to thank you for your input. I appreciate it!
I won't have a chance to be in a pool until Monday. When you say a pull between my ankles you are referring to a band or are you referring to a pull buoy? I think that both will make the fish tail worse. Actually the band will be worse than the buoy.

It is interesting that you say that my stroke timing is the opposite of the overglider as that is what I was. I was the classic overglider. The personality was me to a T. I have been working to correct that for months and now you notice that I have kayak timing. Interesting!

So now I know that I need to work so that I no longer pull my shoulders (and head) underwater. Yes keeping the head stationary is a good thing to think about also. I was thinking about that in the pool this morning!

Sinking my head is a remnant of my overgliding.
Last edited by dcoughman on Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

smootharnie
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby smootharnie » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:12 pm

No problem. as long you give feedback about progress, things stay interesting.
Band together with puill at the ankles is better. That way you dont have too squeeze the legs so much.
It could be that the fisgtailing becomes worse at first, but hopefully you become more aware of the fishtailing and can then counteract it by usng the right core muscles.
I dont know, just an experiment.
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dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:49 pm

today I tried making the changes that we discussed. I kept a steady head trying not to sink my shoulders, etc. I tried to use correct kick timing, etc. but my coach told me that the fish tail is still there.
so today I tried the band after swim practice. I was a little hesitant bec someone usually pokes fun whenever I whip out a gadget for the pool. anyway, the coach who has been helping me was there and he thought it was a good idea to try. so I jump in and I try using it the way I thought it was described on the ss blog. namely, breathing every 5 and keeping my stroke rate up. so my coach says why are you swimming so hard? I say to keep my feet and hips from sinking. so then my coach jumps in and shows me how to do it. he was not swimming hard or rushing. on the contrary! he looked relaxed and used a gentle glide. when I tried it again it felt much better. I tried to stay balanced in front and aware of my hips and feet.
using the band was a great idea! i plan to use it in my warm up often in the near future. thanks!

smootharnie
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby smootharnie » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:10 pm

Credits to Solar, after rereading saw he already suggested the pull/ankle/band thing at the end of his post. Reinventing the wheel, so to speak.
Hope your core stays awake after the novelty of the new sensor inputs wears off.
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dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Mon Sep 09, 2013 7:24 pm

Yes you are correct! Thank you Solar!
But I can't wait to try again Wednesday morning. I didn't have time this morning to try swimming again without the band. Some of us do have to get to work ;-) That is the reason that I want to use it in my warm up.

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SolarEnergy
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby SolarEnergy » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:43 pm

smootharnie wrote:Credits to Solar, after rereading saw he already suggested the pull/ankle/band thing at the end of his post. Reinventing the wheel, so to speak.
Hope your core stays awake after the novelty of the new sensor inputs wears off.

Well not much credit deserved here. The combination of a pull buoy worn at ankles level + ankle band is just standard procedure to fix fishtailing habits. In fact, I prefer this over ankle band drill (no pull), as the later is more suitable for improving balance issues.

Still, I appreciate your comment Smootharnie, because this case, like several will not be solved by improving the OP's understanding of the issue. Guys, if "understanding" the problem was enough to fix it, we will rapidly run out of job. This issue is one that can only be fixed by:
1. Practicing the right things
2. Re-assessing the situation by taking regular footage.

One day, I have 2 huge fishtailers in 1 class (squad training stuff). Well I pulled them out, both of them, then let them use my Camera/Monitor. They spent a few sessions filming themselves then visualizing the result, then back to more drills/sets then filming again, etc...
SolarEnergy
Charles G. Couturier, Canadian Swimming / Triathlon Coach

dougsaar
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dougsaar » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:55 pm

It appears to me that you have very little rotation of the hips while your shoulders rotate……also note how the legs are not rotating with the shoulder roll and are dead flat in the water causing this crooked picture. I would do some dry land ‘standing’ rotation ensuring the hips rotate with the shoulders as well as…. kicking on my back ……arms at my side…..rotating left and right making sure my leg kick goes with the rotation.

dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:27 am

thanks. let me give a quick update... I'm working closely with a different coach who video taped me and has me working on a couple of things. I'm working on a steeper smoother entry and driving with the hip, leaving my lead hand out longer, keeping the elbow on my lead hand up, and here is the big one: anchoring my lead hand and driving past instead of pushing water toward my feet. I'll let you know how it goes.

smootharnie
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby smootharnie » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:37 am

Does your new coach have a TI background? ;)
Interesting.
Your catch and pull rotation timing looked quite good to me, and the anchering hand is only a mental illusion, but these mental images can be powerfull.
Let us know how you are doing with this adapted stroke and how it feels.

Getting a twisted motion from a lot of shoulder rotation compared to hip rotation makes some sense.
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dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:26 pm

yes I think our head coach and all of the coaches under her emphasize TI. I'll let you know how it goes. it definitely does not yet feel easy or natural but I'm working on it with an open mind. and hoping for great improvements.

dcoughman
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby dcoughman » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:04 pm

I also used to think that anchoring the hand was only a mental image, however, I think that the main idea of anchoring the hand is not stroking too fast. otherwise you end up spinning your wheels and overworking your stroke but not going as fast as your potential. I have to apologize because I hate to say that I am finally becoming a believer in TI. I already know to avoid overgliding but there are many points where TI works.
anyway I've been working on the pointers that I was taught and I am definitely making real progress. today I was given another pointer which I have already read in the ss blog. the pointer is to start the breath earlier but not to rush the breath. I am really excited because finally after years of swimming with only modest improvements I am now improving.

smootharnie
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby smootharnie » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:51 pm

SSSttt, dont merntion, otherwise you will be banned :)
I must admit, having a soft spot for TI. Rather see a good TI swimmer instead of a triathlete with a bad stroke grinding away garbage miles.
But keeping momentum during TI seems to be difficult. Even their coaches have a problem going from outstretched arm to a nice catch before they have decelerated.
I guess this stall often gets ingrained because your are learning TI at slow speeds. While learning you have other things on your mind, keeping balanced and streamlined.
After a while you can keep a nice glide and it feels nice taking a rest and gliding forward. Then you sense you are decelerating and start taking a new stroke.
That is the problem. You are too late if you wait until that moment. Going to catch and pull from stationairy hand becomes too hurried and is even slipping in a lot of cases.
Shinji seems to keep his speed reasonably constant because he is so perfectlly streamlined , doesnt have a big gap and doesnt swim at extreme speed (but still fast at 1.20/100m).
Comparing top Ti swimmer Shinji with a top SS style swimmer Shellley Taylor Smith from underwater shows more simularities than differences.

If we introduce the BSCCC score they both achieve high points. Shinji bit beter streamline (but Shelley very nice streamlined ankles), Shellley better Catch and Continuation.
B-- Balance -- Keeping the body horizontal
S- Streamline -- No parts sticking out.tight and streamlined
C- Core -- Is core part of the stroke
C- Catch --Underwater arm mechanics
C- Continuation --Keeping a constant propulsion

The difference between a good and a bad swimmer are far greather than the differences between a good TI and a good SwimSmooth swimmer.
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sharkbait
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Re: How do I get rid of my fish tailing habit?

Postby sharkbait » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:36 am

Coming in a bit late on this one....
I think you may be over-reaching which is causing your spine to bend, which is causing your legs to go sideways. Reach with your arm, not your body. You need to keep that spine straight. One way could be to think about the distance between your ribs at the side of your chest, imagine they will expand/contract if your bend sideways, so as you reach you focus on the side below that arm and keep it still, this should give you a point to focus on to help you keep solid.
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