Balance Strengths (what you are doing well)
- Keeping head down in the water at moments
- Keeping a long body line at moments
- Head is changing position a lot (lifting and turning) – aim the head and keep it steady like the head of a torpedo travels steady to the target.
- Entry and extension of arm too shallow – need ‘Ski Jump’ shape (but this path is dependent on Recovery to set up Entry)
- Extension (Skate) target is too shallow – (dependent on Entry)
- Hips not brushing the surface – (dependent on core engagement and hip alignment)
- Legs not parallel to surface – (dependent on hip alignment)
- Arm and head are on tracks at Skate Position
- Legs stay fairly quiet between kicks
- Bending at waist – need to connect and align hips-and-thighs to torso with ‘Tippy Toes’ focal point (see this focal point description on the 101 Focal Points page)
- Legs not staying in line with spine – line up legs on ‘Shishkabob Spine’ and keep ankles close to this axis.
Drills to use:
- Superman to set position
- Superman to Skate to hold focal point as you transition
- Skate Position 3 seconds, then 3 strokes to check focal point in finish Skate Position
- Skate Position 3 seconds, then 7 strokes to hold focal point continuously
- 1x length of whole stroke to test your focal point
Long, straight, stable Skate Position is the foundation for all other parts of the stroke.
So, let’s use the analogy of building a beautiful wooden sea kayak (like they build here in North America) – we first need to Build The Frame, which gives the water something to support.
For your frame you need to get those hips and legs connected to the torso, and aligned straight behind the body, not angled downward. Your bent legs are suggesting that they are bent like that in order to be ready to push the hips up on each kick. Just like when standing at military attention, the torso, hips and thighs should all be in one tall, straight line, not bent at all. It’s just that when one lays down in the water this position gets lost when no gravity is there to put it in place.
The Torpedo drill and the Superman drill in the TI videos are what are teaching this core connection and alignment. Then you carry that alignment into Skate Position. While doing these drills the sensation you may look for is that you feel like your waist is getting thinner and tighter, as if someone is stretching you from head to toe. The kind of core muscle engagement we are looking for comes from stretching longer in the middle rather than by pulling inward (like when doing a sit-up). I think most yoga forms a champions of this kind of long, strong core development.
The puzzle is that when you restrict your legs in order to bring your hips and legs into alignment like this, they will sink and then what do you do? I recommend that you use short ‘zoomer’ fins for some part of your practice (but not all) – not for kicking, but simply to let the legs glide behind the body with virtually no kick or effort, and stay near the surface. This will allow your legs to get in position, require you to work on your core connection, and build skill for it. It is too early to work on the kick so you need a way to turn off the concern for the legs while you work on the core.
Once you build a better frame from ribs to knees you will have a better shape which the water can more easily support. It will then become easier to keep the hips and legs near the surface.
Your first priority is to build this frame.
The second priority is to improve the shape of the frame at certain points.
The third priority is to work on transitions from Skate to Skate (the recovery).
- This reply was modified 2 years ago by Coach Mat.
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~ Coach Mat