Welcome to Feedback Friday number 22. It’s been awhile since I recorded the last episode. I recently had my second child so I haven’t been getting much sleep, I haven’t had much time for anything apart from the essentials so we’re back into now and I hope you enjoy this video here.

I want you to stick around till the end we’ve got an Eney Buoy 2 which is a friend of mine Eney Jones, she has got these pool buoys that I recommend to all of my swimmers, so. There’s a way that you can win that pool buoy at the end of the video. So just stick around and find out how you can do that. Now in this video, Feedback Friday we look at someone’s stroke to help you better understand what you can do in your stroke, to swim faster, swim more efficiently. This one is swimming around a 125 to 130 which is a very good pace and that’s probably towards the upper end of the field for a lot of triathletes and towards the pointy end of the field for a lot of our swimmers as well. A lot of the swimmers who come to our clinics tend to be between sort of 145 to 215. And for the swimmers who I coach within our Effortless Swimming Membership. We also do get swimmers who are that pointy end who are at the sort of 110 to 120 mark and then from 120 to 130. You’ll see in this video here that even though the swimmer is swimming very well there are three or four different points that he can work on, that he can improve on to eventually get down to low 120s and then under 120. This stuff takes time. Doesn’t happen overnight but as you’ll see there are some things that we can work towards to get him down to that really pointy end of the field. So I’ve already watched through this video. I’ll talk about a couple things that I like that he’s doing here so.

Let’s have a look from the top. Recovery looks really nice, that’s a nice open recovery. I’ve spoken a lot about that in the Feedback Friday videos. Wide open recovery I mean we don’t wanna come too close to the body where we’re getting jammed up in the shoulders. So you can see there, nice and open, entering fingertips first, a fair way out in front. That’s, yeah, very good position. You can see here in the breathing, too, looking straight to the side, that bottom goggle’s still just in the water which is great, so in terms of recovery, breathing, to me that looks really good from on top there. Now, you will see a little bit later in the video, I think he may be pushing a little bit far back on one side especially, but I think there’s room to finish a little bit shorter or just adjust how the hand comes out of the water, which we’ll look at very soon.

One of the things that probably stands out to me the most and once we go to the underwater shot, you’ll see, let’s just cut to that now actually cause the alignment of the stroke, he’s looking good. When we talk about alignment, the analogy I like to use is train tracks. So if you can picture train trucks running line with your shoulders or your ears, every time your hand enters the water, we want it to enter in line with your shoulder or your ear and extend straight forwards. That’s the kind of alignment that I like to see with my swimmers and again you can see here for the most part pretty much from those train tracks. A little bit of crossover there, I don’t worry too much about a little bit of crossover. And to me that all looks pretty good. The left hand slightly wide but I don’t think it’s a major issue in the stroke there. So I think that’s all looking quite good.

Now the one thing that did stand out to me when I looked through it earlier is in the pool phase, the swimmer’s getting quite a good catch, quite a good pull through with both arms. It seems like he’s going for too much power too early. So if you saw our last video, which I’ll put a link to here, that video we spoke about having the catch as your set-up phase, so the catch is from here down to here. And if you try and go for too much power in that part of the stroke, you’re probably gonna find the hand will slip a bit and you’ll get yourself into a position where you’ll not ultimately engage the stronger muscles around the shoulder as well as you could if you use that to set yourself up. I think the right arm looks quite good in that phase of the stroke. You can see here with the left one as we roll through this. See how it looks like he’s just trying to force, probably force the catch, force it with too much power from it early on. So let’s look at that in sort of full speed. You can just see it there. Just maybe going for it a little too much so in that scenario what I’ll normally recommend to swimmers is back off the effort a little bit. Let’s say you’re going for 100% effort with how much you’re putting into that catch. Back off at 10%. So, to swim fast, you’ve gotta stay relaxed as you do it. If you try and tense up and force it, then it’s not really the best way to swim faster and save energy. If you can swim and stay relaxed as you do it, that’s when you get into a nice rhythm. That’s when you can generally have more power in your stroke whereas when you tense up, you’re going to keep wasting effort and energy so if you can back off the effort in that catch phase that to me I think it looks like he’s going for too much power early on.

Now there’s a drill that very simple drill, you can do for that, it’s called long dog paddle, which you can see above. Just, I’ll put that video there. We’ve got a program called the Effortless Freestyle program which is a step by step progression with freestyle. It’s a way to help build up your stroke kind of from scratch, get the fundamentals right, and then kind of work towards the harder, the trickier aspects of the stroke. And there are details about that in the description below. And in that Effortless Freestyle Program this long dog paddle drill is one of those drills that we work on for the catch and pull, and in that drill what I’d recommend this swimmer to do is to just think about building up the pressure, building up the power in the stroke, as you go through the pool. So that would mean from here down to here, don’t go for too much effort, just use that to set yourself up, then once you’re about underneath the shoulder we can really start to put a bit more into it, alright. But don’t go for it too early on. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing which is partly related to that, most things are connected in swimming, you do one thing it will affect another. And I think that the effort early on is affecting this part of the stroke. You can see on this left side, this pull position, nice angle with the arm, you can see we’ve got that half diamond shape or triangle on the side shape there. That’s what we want, that’s a really good position. You can see how the fingertips are just pointing off to the side a bit. So it’s just sort of, we want those fingertips to be pointing down, so I think that’s just showing that the angle or the pitch of the hand is just off a little bit. So the pitch of the hand is the way that the hand is angled as you pull through. And just have a look here, how the hand comes out a bit too wide and let’s bring it back a touch so we can actually see that properly on a full stroke. This left hand is actually pulling through and finishing just a bit wide. Notice how it’s about 20, 30 centimeters away from the hip. It’s gotta come in closer to the hip. So if you look at this at where his upper arm is and his torso, see how there’s a big gap there. Once we get about here, we want this gap to be closed up. So have a look at it in this video how the gap is getting closed, a friend of mine Gary Hurring who’s an Olympic swimmer and coach, he calls it closing the gap, closing the window, sorry. And when you close that window then you can really get a much better extension out the back with the arm but if you don’t close up that gap, you don’t finish the stroke correctly, and this left arm is just finishing too wide over the hip there.

Now the other thing partly related to that is on the other side is right here, so, with the right arm, notice how it comes back and right about here actually let’s find another shot, right about here. Okay, this hand, it’s not the best sort of quality video but the hand is just turning into the body, so if you look at the palm of the hand, notice how it’s turned into the body there, so it’s not quite getting the proper extension out the back, he’s not finishing off the stroke as well as he could, just because the palm of the hand is starting to turn in to the body instead of still facing back behind him early on there. Can you see it on this stroke. Just a bit too much there, it’s a little bit hard to see because of the frame rate but that would be another thing, especially on this stroke, alright you can see it’s kind of slicing back there. So it’s just not getting the full completion of it, so that would be another thing we’d look to work on. You will have seen in one of our past videos the tricep extension drill. That’s a really good drill to help fix that. It’s basically where you’re on your side kicking and you’ve just got the elbow into the side and you’re pressing back past past the hip there. You can see that in one of our past videos. Something to do with tricep extension. So, that’s another thing.

Now one more thing that I’d probably look at is just on the breathing strokes, if we cut back to this here. Have a look on the breathing strokes, he’s just over-rotating slightly. So right here, alright the shoulders are just rotating a little bit far. And you’ll see it even more so on this next stroke, so breathing to them, what’s that his left. Alright yeah, I think the shoulders and the hips just rotate a little far. You’ll see the legs splay out back there. So, he’s creating a bit too much drag and resistance there. From that over-rotation through the shoulders and the hips. Now, what should he do instead? Right about here, I’d wanna see him reach out and relax for a little bit longer. So instead of trying to go for that as you mentioned that power phase early on, just reach and relax, reach and relax, hold that arm out front a little bit longer while you get the breath and then we can start to probably turn the head back a little bit sooner but also just avoid that over-rotation so. There are a couple of key things that we’d probably look to focus on. There’s a couple of drills, some of the drills that we’ve used in the Effortless Freestyle program. That will help with that, like the long dog paddle drill to help the power of the pull through, and not going for too much too early. So you can see even at this sort of 125 to 130 pace per 100 marks, there are still things that we can work on. So how can you win the Eney Buoy Two? If you can like the video and comment below with one drill that you think would help this swimmer work on one of those aspects that we looked at. So there’s a lot of different drills you can do. But each one’s got a specific purpose behind it. So if you can comment below with one drill that you think would help, work on one of the aspects of this swimmer’s stroke here, then you’re in the chance to win the Eney Buoy Two and by next Friday, when we upload the next video, I’ll announce the winner of the Eney Buoy Two. So that helps us get found on YouTube. I appreciate your liking, commenting on the video. And hopefully, you learned something from this video that you can take away and practice in your own swimming. My name’s Brenton Ford, this has been Feedback Friday number 22. Thanks for watching.



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