Thursday, November 20, 2008

'Go Swim Straight-Arm Freestyle with Scott Tucker' trailer

[UPDATE: This post is being bombarded by spammers, hence I have had to disable commentsjust for this post. Feel free to comment on other posts within this blog.]

I was helping someone with their freestyle one night and their arms were crossing over so badly that it was painful on my shoulders to watch.

Each of their hands would enter the water directly in front of their opposing shoulder and then catch water directly under their opposite side of their body in very asymmetrical, wiggly, way. Consequently their rotation was as wobbly as a worm on a hook and there was an amazing amount of wasted effort and oxygen.

When I would tell the person they were crossing over, they were surprised and tried to correct it but there was no change during the next few hundred yards this person swam.

I then told this individual to swim "straight arm catch-up" making sure their hands entered the water thumb first and directly in front of their shoulders. The ensuing results were both quick and astonishing. There was an immediate speed improvement and a well defined rotation which rendered the swimmer with less fatigue and fewer strokes per lap. They could feel it immediately and this person just wanted to go swim lap-after-lap enjoying the ride.

As for me, though there was terrific improvement in their stroke, I felt guilty because I was in "violation" of the "higher elbow" maxim that Eddie Reese, David Marsh and others evangelize. I ended up telling myself that at least this particular swimmer only has one problem now with their stroke rather than half-a-dozen.

Now, after seeing this trailer, I am reminded that swimming is just as much as art as it is a science and that stroke styles are about what your own particular body and mind can accomplish and nothing more. Also note that this particular person is a bit uncoordinated and over simplifying the stroke with a set of directions that they could follow made swimming really fun for them.

I am buying this DVD for this person for the Holidays [Link]


Tony Austin said...

Whoever you are, I think this may be the best sprint stroke for me but I would have to modify it to look more like a Janet Evans stroke since my shoulders are tight.

Tony Austin said...

WOW! Thank you I am very flattered. Thank you for the advice. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have a daughter who swims club level in the denver area who has just adopted straight arm recovery style in an attempt to alleviate pain due to a shoulder problem. Which areas of the shoulder are utilized more in this type of recovery vs high elbow? Or will it tax the shoulder further?

Tony Austin said...

I must stress that I am not qualified to answer. My individual, unqualified, opinion, believes that any damage to the shoulder is being done under the water not in the air.

Anonymous said...

We have introducing the Fixed Arm Recovery in our Competition Swim Clinic program for the past three years with great success. We have 250 swimmers that come to us for "stroke mechanics" for 30 sessions each Fall, Winter and Spring. We have NEVER injured a swimmer in 35 years of teaching. Strsaight Arm Myth: The shoulder problem fear is "baloney" when the stroke is developed properly with the properly sequenced roll. Actually it has less potential to hurt a shoulder than strokes teaching the silly "finger drag". The shoulder problems are more often associated with high mileage overtraining programs. Keep in mind that the swimming 8000 yards a day is the equivalent to running 32,000 yards or 19 MILES a day. Assuming 10 strokes per arm per length of a 25 yard pool a swimmer will put 3200 rotations per shoulder. Hmmm multiply this times a rotational flaw and it isnt hard to see why so many swimmers have problems grinding up their shoulders. Swimming even one half or one third that mileage can injure a swimmer.... If you want to know more about shoulder injury and stroke causes read Al Dotson's report...look him up. Want more on stroke mechanics, reply to this note. I'll keep posting. Lou Sharp

Anonymous said...

I have been teaching swimming for over 10 years. I rely on using straight arms to help. My students with rotation and to ensure that that are reaching forward and rotating sideways especially when they are learning side breathing. I find that my students who have longer, Lankier arms have a very difficult time performing a bent elbow, especially when they are going through their growth spurts and their bodies are not responding the way they want. I find that the straight arm recovery reinforces a strong core and rotation, especially when in conjunction with a front quadrant style of swimming. Lastly, for my students with shoulder pain, I like them to use straight arms because I want them to focus on using their hips to help them get their arms out of the water rather than stretching their arms and using less rotation. Lastly, I work with kids ages 3 thought 12. Straight arms just come more naturally for them. Parents sometimes seemed concerned that their children are unable to do the bent elbow and it's just so nice to be able to tell them that it's not required to be a great swimmer, it all depends on what works best and great swimmers take time to find what works for them.

Tony Austin said...

I am down with that 100%