You’ve got very nice entry points now. Been working on those, eh? :))))
We’re going to clean up the force vectors – making sure you are driving force directly forward, with no variances to the side, and pressing straight back with minimal scull toward center-line of the body.
If we didn’t use this imagery when you were in Kas, I will introduce you to it now. Imagine a ladder underneath and parallel to the surface of the water. The rails of that ladder line up with your tracks, with your shoulders. The rungs are placed exactly where you want to catch and hold a point in the water in front of you. You can adjust the depth of that ladder up/down a little to dial in the perfect depth for where you are going to get a grip on that point in the water and hold. That point you grab is (within reason) fixed at the T intersection of the rail and rung. Your hand holds that point and your rotate your body over and past that point in the water, as if the hand were holding a fixed point.
If there were a real ladder positioned in the water beneath you, you could actually do this – hold that ladder and slide your body forward along that ladder. You can imagine that if you pressed upon that real, solid ladder in any other direction your body would start veer in the opposite direction. If you press directly backward and line up your skate position with the ladder, you would slide quite nicely along the ladder.
You slide from hand-hold to hand-hold. Your stroke length determines where the next hand-hold is, and your tempo determines the timing between them. The ladder urges you to keep parallel to the ladder all forces that flow through your body – minimize anything that causes you to go up/down, side/side or flexing. Your body is firm, long, lean like the frame of a sweetly fast sea kayak.
So, visualize those rails guiding your entry and extension.
Visualize hitting your target and holding it right there at the T intersection of the ladder – not too wide (right extending arm) and not too narrow (left extending arm).
Visualize holding that point with your hand – no sculling – and instead use the rotation of your body to find the most slippery, path of least resistance forward for your Skate shaped body.
I can see you now! Can you?
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~ Coach Mat