Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

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micker
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Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby micker » Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:18 pm

Hey guys, im a danish guy that is currently trying to learn freestyle. Im training for the danish version of navy seals, and will mostly be swimming breast, but freestyle is also used for interval training etc im told. I can swim 1km in 22.50 and 300meters in 6.30 in breast (i learned myself from videos) and in crawl, i can swim 25m, and then i die :b it is not a cardio problem, cause my cardio is good, it is a breathing technique og technique in generel problem.

atm im getting help from a swimmer, but i feel like im stuck, and not really learning.

heres 2 videos of freestyle, and 1 video of my breast.

My main problems is my breathing and my elbows dropping i think? Any good drills to learn this from the bottom and up?

freestyle breathing every 2nd stroke
https://youtu.be/vDa9K4_4r9E

Freestyle every 4 strokes
https://youtu.be/HEz7XiS7iBI

chest:
https://youtu.be/IQ_8DqhGHBE


What do you think my problem is, since i die out from 25m freestyle and can swim 1500m chest no problem?

The Dodo
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby The Dodo » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:38 pm

On freestyle, you might get on better "breathing-wise" if you switch to 2-beat kicking (just a "sharp-ish" kick with the opposite leg to the arm entering the water - and time the kick to correspond with that arm entry). If you "die" at present after a length - it could be too much energy is being "gobbled up" by the leg action. There are other possibilities - like you might not be exhaling steadily/sufficiently, although since you are able to inhale on each 4th arm stroke, that exhalation problem is unlikely. Got the impression from your clips that you could benefit by concentrating more on the arm action - making sure you don't push your lead arm down to a catch (which will cause your legs to drop!), just almost drop it down till the hand/forearm are backward-facing - hand vertical and forearm at least 45 degrees down below the surface - before applying effort.

You mentioned a "dropped elbow" - a common fault in the FS arm pull action, which leads to a bad catch and a weak following pull (it's the sort of floppy arm action a very tired swimmer might be reduced to, dragging an arm through the water - the pulling forearm is less than 45 degrees relative to the surface!). On this website they prefer the SwimSmooth style catch in which as the lead arm drops down through the water, the elbow is kept higher than the wrist and the wrist higher than the hand, which can by wrist flexure, be pointed towards the bottom quite soon in the drop down through the water. Having repeated "parrot fashion" what SS recommend (another wise saying of SS is - "A good catch sets you up for a good pull!") - it made me realize that it would be a good idea for you to get the "SwimSmooth" book, which contains a lot of useful info and instruction!


IMO the SS style "catch" is best suited to long distance swims - but there is another popular one (not recommended by SS) called an EVF(Early Vertical Forearm) "catch". Sheila Taormina's book "Swim Speed Secrets" describes this EVF "catch" better than I could, so will leave that to you to investigate!


A lot of swimmers avoid using an EVF catch because they complain of inflexible arm joints, but there is an answer to that problem. If you were to stand upright with one arm pointing to the ceiling and upper arm pressing against the ear on that side - then drop your forearm/hand downwards to the horizontal keeping the upper arm in it's initial position - then your forearm/hand would cross over your body's centre line - a bad fault when swimming FS. However if you repeat this little experiment with the outstretched arm not by the ear now, but pointing at say the 13:30 (right arm) or 10:30 position (left arm) if the head is counted as 12:00 - or maybe a bit further to the side - then dropping the forearm/hand to a horizontal position (vertical when swimming!) can easily be achieved without the forearm/hand crossing your centre line. That's the answer when swimming - you enter the arm into the water in-line with the hip/shoulder on that side, or maybe a bit further out, and then can easily drop the forearm/hand vertically to achieve a backward-facing vertical lower arm ready to apply a forceful pull! The rest of the arm action is much more shallow than in the SS style catch and pull since the upper arm remains parallel with the surface during the pull - but IMO it's very effective!

At an arm's water entry, keep that lead arm outstretched for a short while absolutely straight from shoulder to finger tips, just beneath the surface, until the hand of your recovering arm comes level with the head, then you can start to drop the lead arm down to the catch. I know this is close to "catch-up" arm action - but at least it will give you better balance as you roll to get air. Expect you know the mantra "roll towards the arm going down (allows recovering arm free passage over the water) during the stroking arm's "pull phase", and roll away from the arm coming up (so the arm coming up can clear your hip on that side) during the stroking arm's "push phase". The transition from pull to push phases occurs approximately when the stroking arm points to the bottom. Aim to start your inhalation mid-way during the push phase as your body is rolled away from the stroking arm, and terminate the inhalation as the hand of your recovering arm comes level with the head, and get the head back to the front smartly so you can see your lead arm dropping down to the catch!

Suck air in quickly, the window of opportunity is short - and exhale steadily without forcing stale air out!
Last edited by The Dodo on Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:36 am, edited 5 times in total.

Shenaram
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Shenaram » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:20 am

Non-expert here, my advice is as good as it is free...
Please anyone corrects me if there is any mistake.

1. Being exhausted on a short distance as you describe leads to think that more oxygen is consumed than it is inhaled.
Might it be that you are using too many (groups of non propulsive) muscles, simultaneously or not, and/or too many (groups of) muscles for your current physical condition?

2. From the videos it seems to me that your legs and hips are sinking, even in your breaststroke one.
Is it possible that your fast kicking (crawl) is trying to compensate this uphill body position?
I see that often in the swimming pools in my area. Intense kicking but little forward propulsion.

By the way, your breaststroke video shows that you have strong legs.

Sincerest wish in reaching your goals.

Shenaram
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Shenaram » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:43 am

SHORT ANECDOTES
worth what it is worth

I see many non-advanced (not necessarily complete beginners) kicking like hell, subsequently getting exhausted after 25 or 50 m. Surprisingly, they would not want to swim slower or with less kicking as they are convinced that it is the way they swim the best. Years later they still swim that way.

Some other swimmers (minority) swim with little power but do swim longer distances, eventually perfecting their technique and building some strength owing to more repeats.

-----

My lovely wife very recently started swimming crawl, in addition to breaststroke, with no prior experience in swimming (other than just floating). She uses the technique that I call "ice cream stick technique", i.e. laying flat on surface of the water and paddle with the arms as good as possible, no restriction on breathing. After a few sessions, only a few minutes each session, she can swim more than 150 m with no pause (less than a second at each turn). I hope she can swim a full kilometer soon, provided that she practices a bit more than a few minutes each session (we are not yet there, she is a bit of a lazy lady).

She says that she is not out of breath after these 150 m, she is only having some back muscle fatigue. I think it is due to her trying to breath from the front like water polo swimmers. On the other hand, her legs are rather close to the water surface although not yet straight and tight. She is not kicking much yet. The body position is quite close to horizontal with the hips licking the water surface frequently, a little less when she tries to breath.

She is not at all an athletic person. In the last 25 years, she has not practiced any sport on a regular or unregular basis. If I write that she is rather a couch potato, she would certainly tear off my tongue and burn it to ashes, therefore I will restrain from doing that.

The Dodo
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby The Dodo » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:51 am

Shenaram wrote:... Being exhausted on a short distance as you describe leads [me] to think that more oxygen is consumed than it is inhaled [you meant EXhaled - - the "blowing up" with stale air problem]

From the videos it seems to me that your legs and hips are sinking, even in your breaststroke one.
Is it possible that your fast kicking (crawl) is trying to compensate this uphill body position?
I see that often in the swimming pools in my area. Intense kicking but little forward propulsion.


I didn't pay much attention to that, but you are right because there is not much evidence of heels breaking the surface, although the feet are moving up/down at quite a rate! The low-lying legs business could be due to pushing the lead arm down too forcefully, instead of making that FS non-propulsive drop to a catch a more gentle action than the following pull/push phases.

IMO, the same idea applies when swimming breast stroke - think it's better as the arms are outstretched in preparation for their scooping action - to let the arms drop gently, as the hands/arms move diagonally down/out, until one can get a good "grip" on the water (i.e. the "catch") and get the hands/forearms in a good backward-facing attitude for the following strong scooping action. From experience would suggest that the inhalation is started during the gentle drop to the catch, before the arms do the strong scoop - otherwise the mouth may be uncomfortably close to the water surface, with the risk of taking in water instead of air!

I've only recently discovered in FS that "pushing the head down a bit" below the level of an arm entering the water" helps elevate the legs - it need only be a quick/brief nod downwards to get the effect! (It is particularly noticeable in fly stroke, where Phelps for instance leaves his hands up by the surface but has his head lower than the under-surface of the upper arms.) I've tried the same thing in FS using normal FS arm action, but with a brief head nod downwards at each arm water entry - while using a rather sloppy legs together fly leg action - it was shown in a "GoSwim" video clip several months ago. In FS parlance the method is called "Pressing the Buoy" - some like the idea and others snort with disgust! ;)

Another way to get some decent leg propulsion when swimming FS for bods with low-lying legs, is to "naughtily" introduce a bit of knee bending for the start of each kick downbeat in the flutter kicking, instead of trying to keep the legs almost straight. As a straightened leg is recovered to the surface after a kick downbeat, the heel is drawn forwards ( a bit like the action of drawing the heels towards the butt when recovering the legs in breast stroke! That drawing the heel towards the butt involves bending the knee, but draws the sole of the foot forwards in a more horizontal attitude which is more effective for the following kick downbeat. That way, one can use part of the frontal area of the shin as a partly backward-facing area for a pushing action, as the leg is straightened towards the end of each kick downbeat. When the legs are kept almost straight in flutter kicking - it is mainly the flappy flexible feet weaving up/down that contribute to propulsion - but of course, poking a bent knee into the water flow under the body is going to produce more drag. Also such kicking is a more "deliberate" leg action than a normal FS leg flutter - which might mean it is a bit more expensive in terms of energy outlay!

For some of us ordinary FS swimmers who have a strong arm action (in my case an EVF catch, pull and a strong push that flings water backwards) and who get minimal propulsion from the legs - it seems we could almost leave them idle. In fact I've tried that with an idea mentioned a long while ago on the foru, - every time an arm enters the water on my breathing-side I flick the hip on that side downwards smartly, to send a "wiggle" along the relaxed leg/foot on that side (while the other relaxed leg "does it's own thing"!). But, maybe I'm just fond of doing this in FS because I have a bit of a limp when I walk, favouring the leg on my "more happy" breathing side! :roll: .

micker
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby micker » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:10 am

Wow this is a lot of text.

btw this video was taken after i trained front crawl for a couple of weeks. i learned breast swimming by my own, watching videos and trying to mimic.

So, in conclusion, i should try to get a system where i kick less? or? a lot of your text i had a hard time grasping the intent of, do you have some specific drills/steps i should take? to improve?

like

1. do this train that
2. when you learned that do this

etc

Im sure that it is not a cardio problem that im fatiqueing since i run 4 times a week, strength 3 times, core 3 times, march 1 time and swim every 2nd day (my training schedule for elite forces is heavy i know).

also, i am willing to change to every style whatso ever, i dont mind if i kick slow or fast, i just wanna learn. In time id love to do a iron man aswell, where i know i should not include legs too much.

bonus question: my 300m time with breast is about 6.30, what is a realistic time to get down to within 3 months in breast? and is it posible to surpass that 300m time with 3 months of learning crawl?

Shenaram
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Shenaram » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:22 am

The Dodo wrote:
Shenaram wrote:... Being exhausted on a short distance as you describe leads [me] to think that more oxygen is consumed than it is inhaled [you meant EXhaled - - the "blowing up" with stale air problem]


I indeed meant more oxygen consumed than inhaled.
In that oxygen flow state (less incoming than used), the body is certainly in oxygen deficit, say at each cycle, subsequently the oxygen level in the blood decreases and leads to exhaustion.

-----

In my non-expert opinion, one of the solutions to that type of exhaustion (anaerobic, as opposed to endurance aerobic exhaustion) is simply either:

1.a To inhale more oxygen
or
1.b To consume less oxygen,

i.e.

2.a Breath in more (of course needs to breath out before)
or
2.b Avoid using unnecessarily muscles / use the necessary muscles less intensely.

Shenaram
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Shenaram » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:13 pm

micker wrote:Im sure that it is not a cardio problem that im fatiqueing since i run 4 times a week, strength 3 times, core 3 times, march 1 time and swim every 2nd day (my training schedule for elite forces is heavy i know).

also, i am willing to change to every style whatso ever, i dont mind if i kick slow or fast, i just wanna learn. In time id love to do a iron man aswell, where i know i should not include legs too much.


I am not a certified swim coach nor an elite swimmer.
My opinion is only worth what is worth.
English is not my mother tongue, therefore my writing may sometimes convey wrong impressions or interpreted wrongly.

-----

Most on-land athletes (even at elite level) believe that, owing to their high level of training, their stamina must directly transpose to swimming. However, they mostly do not realise that, with the face is in the water, they cannot breath whenever they need, and in quantity they need, while on land, they do not even think about it.

If memory serves, there are some threads in this forum discussing this subject. On land, athletes breath in and out several dozens of times every minutes, maybe 50, maybe 60, 70, 80 times per minutes. To replicate this cadence in the water, one should breath EVERY STROKE, not every 4th stroke, not even every 3rd stroke. It is very understandable that non-advanced swimmers feel exhausted after 25 or 50 m when the latter is considered.

In my opinion, elite swimmers not only built superior cardio-pulmonary capacities but they have acquired the right technique and balance, AND use only the muscles that are needed when needed to match the amount of oxygen inhaled. They have the ability to relax all muscles but the necessary ones to propel their body forward.

If I may use rude words, most non-advanced swimmers wiggles their limbs, head, fingers, toes, face, and other invisible parts unnecessarily, therefore depriving the propulsing muscles from hard earned oxygen. Please include me in this group of non-advanced swimmers, as I am one.

One other thing that on-land athletes may not necessarily realise is that water is hugely denser than air (say 800 - 1000 times more), therefore a little change in body position may hugely increase / decrease water drag (as in water resistance to movement), therefore oxygen consumption and ultimately speed. Correcting the body position and alignment may certainly reduce the exhaustion feeling, in my opinion.

micker, as you primarily speak of exhaustion and not speed, this is my non-expert opinion:
- better body position (more horizontal, in particular the hip and legs closer to the water surface)
- better breathing (more attention to in and out breathing, and more frequently)
- better management of oxygen for forward propulsing arm movements (avoid movements that do not propel the body forward).

I am sure that you will, if not already have found, many drills on Youtube or others to perfect these aspects of swimming.


micker wrote:bonus question: my 300m time with breast is about 6.30, what is a realistic time to get down to within 3 months in breast? and is it posible to surpass that 300m time with 3 months of learning crawl?

300 m in 6:30 are 2:10/100 m. Anyone please correct me if I am again wrong, but it does not seem unrealistic for an accomplished athlete, provided that attention to technique, breathing and effort management is paid properly.

Good luck with your progression.

Sprinter
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Sprinter » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:22 pm

Shenaram wrote:SHORT ANECDOTES
I see many non-advanced (not necessarily complete beginners) kicking like hell, subsequently getting exhausted after 25 or 50 m. Surprisingly, they would not want to swim slower or with less kicking as they are convinced that it is the way they swim the best. Years later they still swim that way.


In order to swim *fast** you need a good kick. Developing the kick from the beginning seems the best way to do (otherwise it gets much harder).
There is NO PROBLEM in principle getting exhausted from a strong kick, if after some time, say a month or so, that improves.
A really good propulsive kick needs a lot core engagement, and that takes a good time to get used to. That is a VERY GOOD WORKOUT.
Those who cut off the legs completely miss this workout. Dry-land core workout helps a lot here. And that's a good thing -- the training comes as a package,
"dry-land" and "wet-water" support each other.

The problem in my opinion with many beginners is not at all that they kick "too much", but they are kicking very badly.
And that can harm the stroke. So a reasonable way to go ahead is to have
- good kick training (only kick, flat and on the side); recommended to use a swimmer's snorkel
- good pull training (with a (large) pull buoy), no use of the legs
- overkick training, to integrate the kick into the whole pull
- bringing it all together, swimming normal, with different focus points.

For the kick, keeping the legs rather straight, engaging the core, and keeping the feet together all the time, are perhaps the most important aspects.
As for the arms and hands, over time one needs to develop the feel for the legs and the feet, so that one can *feel* the propulsion.

Having a good kick is a lot of fun. Swimming becomes more like flying, with the kick delivering the basic propulsion (the "flying"), and the pull sits on top of that,
is for speeding up.

The above is, as I believe, the "classical" way of swimming, which I would recommend as a default. Sure, everybody needs to experiment with different styles, but I would always start with the default.

Regarding exhaustion, there are two basic reactions: minimise energy consumption, to avoid the problem, or *maximise* energy consumption, to grow.
I would go for the maximisation, not minimisation. And I think that comes much more natural with the kind of heavy training micker is doing. So I think the "heavy" fast style of swimming is more appropriate here than some kind of "relaxed swimming".

Kicking hard IS very demanding. Done properly (legs very straight, plus hard fast snapping action of the lower legs), the right muscles seem to be developed properly only (at least initially) through swimming, while dry-land core training (see the Race Club http://theraceclub.com/ for excellent dry-land training videos) *enhances* this.

nofins
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby nofins » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:46 pm

Hi Micker, great streamline push off. It's difficult to tell on videos but I think I see:
Hand crossing over on entry rather than going forward in front of the shoulder
Losing support of the lead arm when breathing
If you are aware that you are dropping your elbow then you are right that your catch won't be good.
The drills I do are skulling, doggy paddle with pull buoy, 6/1/6, 6/3/6.
If you can it's worth looking at swimsmooth.guru and the fault fixers

micker
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby micker » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:02 pm

I tried doing this drill today to work on balance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYsZn1-zKVg from 15 seconds and foward. the swim part went fine, i felt like i was on top of the water and streamline, slowly blow air out of nose, when i then go for a breath of air, i SINK like a kilo of cement lol... what can that be?

thanks nofins, i will try looking up videos on the drills you mentioned :) i considered getting a snorkel and seeing if its my swimming or breathing that exhaussts me

Shenaram
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Shenaram » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:36 pm

micker wrote:I tried doing this drill today to work on balance:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYsZn1-zKVg from 15 seconds and foward. the swim part went fine, i felt like i was on top of the water and streamline, slowly blow air out of nose, when i then go for a breath of air, i SINK like a kilo of cement lol... what can that be?


Sorry to ask, I am not intending any offence, but how do you know that you are streamlined and at the water surface?

Sometimes I struggle to figure out if I am really in the optimal position if I do not focus really intensely on feeling specific parts of my body (hips, heels, shoulders, etc.). Usually, it is better for me to ask somebody educated to look underwater to be sure.
Last edited by Shenaram on Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

micker
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby micker » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:59 pm

Hmm i dont know, i could just feel it i guess, might be wrong though :D could feel my back and heels at the water surface kinda. Not that i can keep that balance while swimming fully anyway

Shenaram
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Shenaram » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:01 pm

Body balance and body position is important, I think.
I hope that you can progress quickly, in any case!

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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby gregorywannabe » Wed Aug 03, 2016 9:22 am

Both your arms are crossing over, i.e. are very need or over the mid-line when out in front of you. You need to imagine railway tracks at shoulder width and extend your arm along these tracks. This will have a number of positive flow-on effects, including stopping your body wiggling/bending sideways as you swim, and setting you up for a better catch.

gw

micker
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby micker » Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:13 am

Thanks, will try to remember :) i think its cause i swam so much catch when trying to learn.

Any ideas why i sink like a stone when training balance drills and going for breath?

Shenaram
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Shenaram » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:25 pm

micker wrote:Thanks, will try to remember :)
Any ideas why i sink like a stone when training balance drills and going for breath?


I am sorry that the drills are not going well.
I think that it is quite difficult to diagnose a problem without seeing it, ideally in a video.

If I dare a tentative cause analysis, without knowing anything about what you did:
a. It might be bobbing instead of sinking
b. It might be slowing down instead of sinking.

I see that sometimes. When the body is not in a horizontal position, legs are partially propulsing it upward. When turning the head for air, the leg propulsion is partially or completely disrupted, removing the prior upward help. When the swimmer's balance is weak, the body tends to get vertical. In a completely vertical position, only the top of the head and maybe the forehead could breath, if they were meant to. When in a completely horizontal position, the mouth and the nose should reach air anytime the head is turned (provided that the way is cleared by turning the shoulders).
Both cases a et b might be related, or not. I am not knowledgeable enough to assert that.

There is a video from SolarEnergy where it can be seen (between 0:11 and 0:42, at 0:11, 0:31, and 0:42). To get his mouth out of the water, the poor learner has to turn on his back in despair.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avdqgups-sI

I am not meaning that the OP is doing as in the video, or that he is at the same level. The learner in the video is obviously just starting his journey in swimming, while the OP has shown his abilities in his Youtube videos. I am just assuming that it could be one possible cause: not being really horizontal and not consistently kicking really horizontally. It might be something else, this is only my non-expert thought. Anyone please correct me where needed.

Best of wishes in your drills, micker.


NOTE: where is SolarEnergy gone? He was such a knowledgeable person!
Last edited by Shenaram on Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

micker
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby micker » Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:11 pm

Some time next week, i will do all of the drills mentioned here, and video tape what i can so people can see the mistakes easier.

I only swam freestyle for like 2-3 weeks so i think i am a mega beginner so every retarded mistake a person can posibly do, i am probably doing :p but i will (hopefully) adapt quick and become better.

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Mike A
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Re: Correct/help me with freestyle ( VIDEOS INSIDE )

Postby Mike A » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:41 pm

Hi Micker, I see there are some useful points on this thread. You might also benefit from reading this previous discussion:-
http://www.swimsmoothforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4694

For me, the breakthrough with freestyle came from swimming with a pullbuoy, so I could stop kicking and concentrate on everything else without getting exhausted! Once I got reasonable at swimming with a pullbuoy, I introduced a gentle 2-beat kick (i.e. one kick per arm-pull).

You may need to slow down a little in order to go further initially. The speed will come back later.

Hope that helps!
Why not join your SwimSmooth Forum friends at swim.palstani.com


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