Flip turn choices

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IM-prover
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Flip turn choices

Postby IM-prover » Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:46 am

I am wondering if there is a preference to turn in the same direction as the direction you are moving down the pool i.e. if you are swimming clockwise in the lane in a group session and you flip do you turn clockwise (does this feel more natural?) or do you have a preferred side to rotate to always regardless of which side of the pool you are on? Just wondering because I seem to like to turn clockwise and today I was forced to swim anti-clockwise and so resorted to open turns. Maybe I just need to train this way of turning (anticlockwise) a bit more.

Don Wright
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Don Wright » Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:29 am

Not a flip-turner - but intrigued by this! Surely it depends which arm you use as you do your last full arm stroke towards the wall before the forward tumble (vertically!? - not tilted a bit on the side - puzzled by the clock/anti-clock reference unless it's for lane direction protocol). Like most things we get accustomed to doing things in a set way ( I find it difficult to scoop up coins, for instance, with my left hand - it feels weird to use the non-preferred hand instead of my usual right one) - but it's good for the brain to aim for the ability to be able to do things in a non-preferred way, as occasion requires (*). Am sure elites must use either way (without thinking about which arm they want doing the last stroke as they drive into the wall), to avoid wasting time. It's not just with flip turns - we can get "hung-up" on using a particular arm for pressing against the wall when doing open turns - no matter what the lane direction protocol is!


( * Think there's a general principle here - if we want to avoid "plateau-ing" - or even slipping backwards, for body or brain - we always have to be extending ourselves, taking on new challenges. Doing things differently or taking up things which at first sight might seem too difficult. Failure to do this means we get "frozen" into doing things only one way, or feel incapable of tackling new things - that's heading for the grave yard! So the motto has to be "Onwards and Upwards!" )

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Mike A
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Mike A » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:21 pm

I think IM is referring to which direction you corkscrew when pushing off the wall?

The last arm to stroke shouldn't have any bearing on this; by the time you perform the flip, both arms should be back by your thighs and you should be flat, eyes down. Advice for beginners is usually to put the feet against the wall level at quarter-to and quarter-past (i.e. don't start rotating until you've pushed off), but fast flip-turners usually have their feet somewhat angled already (at ten-to and twenty-past, or twenty-to and ten-past, depending on direction of rotation), to prepare the corkscrew.

I don't flip turn often, but when I do, I have a strong preference to rotate anti-clockwise - not sure why! The only time I rotate clockwise is if I come off the wall somewhat unbalanced and am already rotating in that direction (not something that should happen to accomplished flip-turners!).
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Don Wright
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Don Wright » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:00 pm

Mike A wrote:I think IM is referring to which direction you corkscrew when pushing off the wall? ...


You must be right, and also about things like, which arm does the last stroke, being irrelevant - had forgotten how it ought to be done! :oops: I had a mental image of a bod not tumbling vertically, but at an angle to the vertical - which would be a sloppy practice - something I see done in my local pool by one lane swimmer.

On the very infrequent occasions I did F.T.s (some 12 years ago before deteriorating balance/coordination problems etc, meant I had to be content with just open turns) For fun, I tried the "trick" that Maglischo describes on page 291 of his tome - during the push-off, with feet planted apart pointing to about the 2 p.m. position on the wall, and already partly turned clockwise, tucking the top leg (one nearest the surface) behind the lower one during the streamlined push-off, then uncrossing them so the leg movement aids the clockwise turn during the glide, to make the return to a prone posture supposedly quicker! If one adds a few dolphin waggles, gradually turning into a prone position - or even just relying on a twisting of shoulders and head movement during a short glide to get prone - then Maglischo's "leg trick" is redundant/outdated!

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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Sprinter » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:10 pm

I checked my video recordings, and it seems that I always rotate counter-clockwise, independent of the swimming direction.
I guess the reason is that when I lie on my back, and want to turn on my stomach, on dry land, then the natural direction for me as right handed is to turn away from my right hand, to have it free (available).

IM-prover
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby IM-prover » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:37 pm

Yes Don It is good to challenge the status quo which is why, of late, I have been trying to swim bilaterally. However I tried to turn my less preferred way today (anti-clockwise) and it wasn't pretty! I suppose it shouldn't really matter if it is done the textbook way but oftentimes it feels in readying to turn you move from the side of the pool to the other so that the actual turn is done in the 'lane' you will resume stroking and not the lane you were stroking to get there, if you get my meaning. In this move, say right to left it might feel more natural to flip anticlockwise.
Here is Ian Thorpe doing a flip in training which I'd imagine is a lot different to what he used in racing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3FSkkZLwsU#t=1m

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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Don Wright » Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:56 am

Hi "IM-prover"!

I see what you're getting at! : -

IM-prover wrote:... I tried to turn my less preferred way today (anti-clockwise) and it wasn't pretty!... oftentimes it feels in readying to turn you move from the side of the pool to the other so that the actual turn is done in the 'lane' you will resume stroking and not the lane you were stroking to get there ... In this move, say right to left it might feel more natural to flip anticlockwise.


That "gradually moving over towards the lane side in which you intend to continue - before doing your flip" makes a lot of sense - there might be some other bod "hot on your heels" in the old side of the lane - so doing your turn on that old side might cause the other bod to hesitate, or worry about possible head-on collision as you push-off from the wall. Hence can now understand your "choice" of which way to be partly turned after the tumble as you plant your feet on the wall.

Moved house about 2 years ago and I'm still "thrown" by a simple fact. When I go to the kitchen sink for a drink, the sink bowl is on the right of the draining board with the mixer tap column in the centre - which is the reverse arrangement from all the other houses we've ever lived in. So muggins, being left-handed, holds a class in his left hand for steadiness, while standing at the sink bowl, and then has to cross his right arm under the left to turn the cold tap. This is what intrigued me - how our left or right handedness in dealing with matters feels so awkward when we do things the opposite non-preferred way

Was interested in this "preferred/non-preferred" way of doing things - 'cos after a brain scan done last summer due to bad gait/balance problem - was worried if there was any indication of myeloid plaque - a precursor of Alzheimers etc,. Asked my doc for more information about the scan result - and was told no sign of that nasty stuff - just brain shrinkage normal for my age. So I'm sorry about some of my posts - let's just blame it on the shrinkage of the grey matter! Perhaps I should take advice like Proverbs 17:28 to heart! ("Even a fool, if he holds his peace, may be thought wise; keep your mouth shut and show your good sense." Ouch!!! - That hurts! ) ;)

s.sciame
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby s.sciame » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:18 pm

Thanks IM-prover for starting this thread: I guess flipping sometimes "on the weak side" (regardless of the direction you move down the pool) could be a good exercise to improve turn technique or at least to avoid ingraining bad habits over time. Rotating always to the same side may lead to rotate before the somersault is completed, which could slower the turn. I'm especially thinking of distance swimmers which, during long aerobic sets, tend to slack a bit at the walls. According to several coaches the best technique is instead to

"do a tight somersault, split your legs, plant your feet and push off on your back. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart when they hit the wall" ( http://www.aquaticedge.org/flipWide.htm )

So I guess flipping sometimes to the other side could prevent rotating too early and help remembering to pushoff on your back and, only then, rotate. At this point rotating clockwise or anti-clockwise should feel pretty much the same, no? I guess if you try to push off on your back from scratch (w/o somersault) you should be able to rotate to whatever direction quite easily.

I always rotate to the same side when I flip (guess most swimmers do the same), the next time I want to try the other side.

Other ways to improve flip turn technique:

- flipping with a front snorkel: I'm still procrastinating because of water purge issues, anyway with a snorkel you are forced to tuck your chin, keep the head still the whole time and streamline well, otherwise the snorkel starts to sway badly

- swimming and turning with Tempo Trainer in mode 1 or 3 (metronome): by allowing yourself a given number of beeps for the turn you cannot slack and can also monitor every part of the turn. For instance, how many beeps (or fractions of beeps) do you take to complete the somersault? How many beeps to pushoff? How many to glide etc..


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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Sprinter » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:15 pm

"do a tight somersault, split your legs, plant your feet and push off on your back.

I think when that new way of turning came out, then people actually pushed off really on their back, without an angle. But what I can see today with (very) good swimmers is that they don't do that in that extreme form, at the last moment they typically, in my observation, start already the rotation at the wall. Perhaps it's not much, but I think it's often there. Also in the videos at
http://theraceclub.com/videos/fast-swim ... -approach/
you can see it (sometimes).

Be that what it is, I think there is a good chance that for *us* things are different: the speed of the turn is related to the speed of swimming. The slowest swimming at high level, with turning, is at about 1 min per 100m. I guess we are not there (yet ;) ). So most of us will turn, even doing a good nice turn, considerably slower than the elite swimmers, and then I think there is enough time to integrate part of the rotation into the flip -- if you wish so.

For some time I strived to always do a turn as explosive as possible, independent of the swimming speed. Somehow I got lazy about that ...

- swimming and turning with Tempo Trainer in mode 1 or 3 (metronome): by allowing yourself a given number of beeps for the turn you cannot slack and can also monitor every part of the turn. For instance, how many beeps (or fractions of beeps) do you take to complete the somersault? How many beeps to pushoff? How many to glide etc..

I think the somersault (flip) itself should take less than a beep (I believe that's true for me, where my highest stroke rate is 120 strokes per minute).

I guess at "our" level the biggest problems leading to a slow flip turn are deceleration at the approach, and then getting stuck at the wall. Perhaps there is some mental effort needed, forcing yourself to get aggressively into the wall, flip with power, and get off as quickly as possible.

IM-prover
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby IM-prover » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:27 pm

Attached below is a picture of the amazing Katie Ledecky in mid flip turn. Sorry the compression has made the image almost a bit 'arty' looking. But what can be seen here, just about, is how Ledecky uses her arms after the somersault is completed and she needs to rotate onto her front as she blasts off the wall. Although she has somersaulted onto her back there is a slight anticlockwise bias (as Sprinter pointed out is common these days) and if we could see her feet on the wall I'd imagine her right foot might be slightly higher than the left and both feet might be at the 11 o'clock position. What we can see though is how she is using her arms to assist in the rotation. Her left arm doesn't do anything except make its way into streamline. Her right arm, however pulls down on the water, a slight jerk as though she is about to but not quite pat herself on the top of her head, before it changes direction and makes its way into streamline. This pulling down of the right arm raises the right side of the body rotating the body around it's long axis gradually but steadily as it drives off the wall with the right leg finessing the turning and the left leg (the deeper one) providing the more straight line power.
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IM-prover
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby IM-prover » Thu Apr 07, 2016 4:32 pm

Following on from my last post of Ledecky's turn I thought this video shows her turns from above the water view. Here she is racing in a 25m pool so plenty of turns to watch! What's interesting in the early part of the race is that she takes an extra breath before dunking into the flip turn, This bonus breath taken on her left side is followed by a straight arm sprinter-style recovery drawing her into the turn so her arms are by her side when she does flip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu7SFIp ... tml5=False

s.sciame
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby s.sciame » Fri Apr 08, 2016 1:26 pm

IM-prover wrote: Although she has somersaulted onto her back there is a slight anticlockwise bias (as Sprinter pointed out is common these days) and if we could see her feet on the wall I'd imagine her right foot might be slightly higher than the left and both feet might be at the 11 o'clock position.


And here is Sun Yang, planting his feet at 12 o'clock (look at min 2:30 for an optimal view):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvM3JYC--hM

Not that 12 o'clock is better than 11 or viceversa, it's just a personal choice. If you like to rotate clockwise when turning, my guess is that you plant your feet somewhere between 1 and 3 o'clock (1 is ok, 3 would be a slacking turn imho). To rotate anticlockwise you should plant your feet between 9 and 11 (again 11 ok, 9 slacking), OR at 12 like Sun Yang and rotate later. So, if your goal is to get used to turn both clockwise and anticlockwise with the same ease, my guess is that 12 o'clock simplifies the things.

By the way, I have a question for everyone who flips with a snorkel: do you plant your feet at 12 o'clock or?

I believe 12 is better to keep the snorkel still and avoid sway. Today I did some practice on this, sometimes the tool moved so badly, creating a lot of drag. My take is that it's better to flip straight, plant the feet at 12 o'clock, get the arms in streamline position EARLY before pushing off in order to make sure that the snorkel is locked between the arms, pushoff on the back and rotate gently. A lazy turn with the arms getting in streamline position while pushing off is not allowed when wearing a front snorkel, do you agree? That's another great property of a snorkel, it forces you to turn the right way.

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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Mike A » Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:17 pm

Another interesting point about Sun Yang's turns is that he does a little dolphin kick to initiate the flip. I've noticed most elites don't do this (especially not sprinters!), but perhaps when you've got 6'6" to flip over you need a little extra help! ;)
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby IM-prover » Fri Apr 08, 2016 2:42 pm

Hi Salvo,
I think that Ledecky is a 12 o'clock foot-planter similar to Sun Yang. I think it is the right hand gesture as both arms extend into streamline that sets the bias as to which way she is going to turn. I also think she turns her head somewhat in the direction she is turning which may also help the shoulders to center the head again. So in summary the turning starts from top to bottom.
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Sprinter » Fri Apr 08, 2016 3:05 pm

Mike A wrote:Another interesting point about Sun Yang's turns is that he does a little dolphin kick to initiate the flip. I've noticed most elites don't do this (especially not sprinters!), but perhaps when you've got 6'6" to flip over you need a little extra help! ;)


I remember to have seen this recently, hm, where was that ... ha, it was with my own recordings -- so there we have a "Sprinter" doing that :D

I just watched the 14:31:02 again; actually it seems the additional help with the turn is only seen rarely with Sun Yang (as far as I see), and from time to time also with others. Sometimes you see him taking additional strokes before the wall. Perhaps that has all to do with the greater variation in such a long race -- sometimes you are a bit further away from the wall, sometimes closer, when approaching.

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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Don Wright » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:09 pm

Not about choices (unless it's a case of "do or not to do it"! ;) ) Thought I would re-visit my little efforts at this skill - but ended up with similar problem as on last attempts. OK, so I manage the tumble, but as my head comes on around facing upwards, bent arms moving above the head and legs straightening out to reach the wall - the back of my shoulders hit the pool floor - water probably 4.5 ft deep uniformly - so am really too low down at that time! It's almost as if my legs are momentarily too vertical during their flip over, and drive my body down to the pool floor (a bit like the effect of a "duck dive" only a different way round!). Has anyone got any suggestions to remedy this - perhaps it's due to me not curling up enough during the forward tumble!?
Last edited by Don Wright on Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mike A
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Mike A » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:30 pm

I've also been known to hit the floor occasionally in the shallow end - occupational hazard! The idea is to get in as tight a ball as possible, and get over as quickly as possible - I was taught "chin to the chest, then look for your knees". If you feel like you're not quite making the last part of the turn, you can use your arms to help a little by "throwing water behind your ears". Some people also find that turning their hands palm-down before flipping helps them to get over. However, I don't think any of these tricks are recommended for competent tumblers, as they tend to slow down the whole process.
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Don Wright » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:42 pm

Thank you Mike! I'll try that "chin tuck, looking to the knees and curl up a bit more"! I was pressing the palms downwards, towards the bottom, when my arms were at the sides, just before the head down bit - to assist my rotation forwards.

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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Don Wright » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:30 am

Found a clip by Melissa Hubley in which she describes at 0:52 in the clip - what is very close to the effect I currently get (apart from going so low, the back of my shoulders bang against the floor tiles! :roll: ). Melissa calls it common mistake #1 "The Turtle"! Ends up with the body too deep, and in my case pushing off with back only just above the floor tiles - so taking a long time getting back prone near the surface. She attributes it, to not keeping the legs straight for long enough, immediately bending the legs to get the knees close to the body - so the body sinks down before the tumble is properly underway!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaKy8Ox1lKE

From that info, and judging by some of Maglischo's stills from his tome - it seems I should keep the legs straight until my head and shoulders are piked UW relative to the legs. Head/shoulders/upper chest approx at 90 degrees to the still straight legs for an instant, arms out in front ready to pull the head forward between them - before drawing the knees up close to the chest and completing the tumble. I know that makes it sound like a "paused" attitude, but I realize it's all a quick uninterrupted action. Will be practising it a lot at my next session - I'll get it right eventually (Mmmm! What's that saying about "Old dogs find it difficult to learn new tricks"! ;) )

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Mike A
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Re: Flip turn choices

Postby Mike A » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:29 am

Good tip, Don - I'll focus on that one next time. I think that's where the "look for you knees" advice comes from - it makes you concentrate on moving your head towards your knees rather than the other way around.

So much about the flipturn is counter-intuitive. I remember when first learning I always wanted to turn too early - because, instinctively, you sense that you're rotating on an axis through your shoulders or chest, but in fact the centre of rotation is really nearer the hips.

I think another challenge for we intermediates (/mere mortals) is that we're approaching the wall with a good deal less momentum than elites (or even decent club swimmers). I reckon that extra speed really helps, both with the flip and with the push-off, with some of the momentum being preserved in the 'elastic collision' (with the leg muscles providing the elastic).
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