I am going to work on improving the Freestyle I teach and coach with various methods I have looked at. Some are from Karlyn Pipes-Neilson and the Dutch coaches Stewart Melton talked to at his British coach’s conference and Bill Furniss.
- The body position must be horizontal and streamlined. The top of the head should be in the water and the eyes must look down.
- The hands enter in advance of the head in a line with the shoulders ,kicking should be done with the arms stretched out in front , shoulder width apart.
- Arm pull : Fingers enter the water first in advance of the head approximately a hand space away from fully stretched. Extend in front .The fingers slide forward and the back of the hand is as close to the surface as possible. The hand and forearm press slightly down to the catch position. Think about the area from forearm to fingertips. ( Press up action). At catch position the forearm and hand form one paddle, the elbow bends and the forearm and hand press downward to a position directly in line under elbow with the fingers pointing to the floor. It is a wide pull/press. Keep pressing the hand, forearm paddle with the fingers pointing down to a point where they feather out of the water, out and round in a relaxed recovery position. This is much more relaxed than the traditional elbow out first recovery. The later puts a lot of strain on the rotator cuff. There should not be too much rotation from side to side. It is the extension of the arm on entry that gives the body the rolling action from side to side.
TEACHING PRACTICES Use Beeper for tempo. Beep (hand in) Beep (other hand in)
- DOG PADDLE DONE FAST HEAD UP GETTING THE ARM AND FOREARM TO ACT AS ONE PADDLE AND PRESS DIRECTLY DOWN AND FORWARDS AGAIN. ( Gives a fast catch)
- WATER POLO STROKE HEAD UP TEACHING POINT FINGERS POINT TO FLOOR. WIDE PULL. RELAXED RECOVERY. FEATHER ARM OUT AND ROUND TO ENTRY.
- SAILING STROKE FROM STEWART FOR OLDER SWIMMERS.
Have swimmers put finger tips on wall and keep forearm and fingers in a line. Lower arms level with forearms and fingers. Slow. Imagine a sheet of glass.
Think about putting fingers on a box and press up. Open hand helps to reduce tention. Learn to use lower palm and wrist instead of fingers. Try pushing against another person. They hold their hand up in front of you and you try and push them down using fingertips. You will feel the tension in forearm and shoulders. Then use the lower palm and wrist instead. The fulcrum is the wrist and you use the latimus muscles, much easier and stronger position.
1 Hand position 2 Fingertips placement 3 Wrist awareness 4 Umph at the front 5 Exiting the stroke (feathering out)
- CATCH DRILL
Face down in the water left arm extended in front opposite arm at hip. Press forearm down under the water until directly under elbow, fingers pointing to the floor. Return to extended position and roll head towards side of arm on thigh. Upper arm must stay parallel to the surface. T.P. Centre elbow over hand must keep length.
FAULTS: Forearms pulling too wide or coming inside the elbow. MUST BE IN LINE WITH THE ARMPIT.. Keep hand on hip as still as possible. Don’t go for speed go for strength and feel.