Archives for posts with tag: evf

We have the pool for 3 hours this week, as the juniors won’t be there, so both sessions will last an hour and a half.  The first session will be 7am till 8:30am and the second session will run from 8:30am to 10am.  The extra time gives us chance to do a bit more distance, fit in some technique work focusing on EVF and rotation, include a nice pull set and swim a few different strokes at the end for fun.

Also, we will be changing the times for all saturday swimming session from next week onwards.  We will be running two equal length sessions of 65 minutes each so finishing 5 minutes earlier at 9:10am.  This change has been prompted by the need to get the lane ropes out promptly by 10am for swimming lessons and the Juniors have been having to cut short their session by 5 minutes to do this.  Giving the juniors 5 extra minutes back each week and making the senior sessions equally balanced has been agreed to be the best solution solution all round for the club.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Photo by Tristan Colangelo on Unsplash

Well done for your efforts last week trying to focus on technique and drills in the cold water.  Hopefully it won’t be as cold this week (I have been told that spare parts for the boiler are on their way) and we are going to continue with the focus on pull with some more drills.  I also have a cue to help you think about getting a good catch position.

For the drills please watch the Chloe Sutton video for a refresher on what we are trying to achieve and typical mistakes.  We will be doing the alternating hinge drill as well as some catch-up with a pause at the EVF position.

The other thing I would like you think about when you do these drills is not bending your wrist to make it feel like you are getting an early vertical forearm when actually you are just bending your wrist.  A simple cue I saw recently to help with this mistake, and help with a good catch, is called the wrist watch technique from Triathlon Taren.  I like it.  Check it out.  I hope some of you find it useful too!

After the drills we will be doing an aerobic set and some pull-back sprints to finish.  Pull-back sprints are a fun exercise to see how well you can hold the catch and water when towing someone behind you.  See you Saturday!

Rob

Well done for all your efforts last week trying out the new drills.  We are going to do the same drills again this week to give you another chance to practise your early vertical forearm and really feel the progression as you go through them.  The theme this week is patience.

The 4 drills we are doing again are as follows (see the video from last week if you want a reminder):

  • catch-kick
  • sideline kick with quarter stroke to catch
  • catch-catch-pull
  • catch-up

One of the great things about the progression through these drills, if you do them well, is that they really help you think about being patient with the catch.  This is because the first two of these drills generate no propulsion from the arm at all.  Catch-kick relies completely on the legs and sideline kick with quarter stroke to catch should not either – it is all about practising getting your arm into the catch position but not generating any propulsion.

The second two of these drills, though, start to add in power through the propulsion phase.  This should feel great as you go from the hard work of just relying on your legs to now get the benefit of your arms using your powerful core and back muscles.

This relaxed progression from no power at the catch smoothly through to the power generated later in the underwater pull is a great thing to aim for and one of the things that I see will help most people swim faster and more efficiently.  Rushing the underwater stroke – either from the catch or even later in the stroke – can feel like a good thing and fits well with the triathlon psyche of “work hard and put the power down to go fast”.  However, being impatient with the catch typically makes you swim slower and more inefficiently. It is important to be patient with the catch – putting no power to press downwards on the water – and only starting to build the power gradually when your forearm is vertical.  Your maximum hand speed should not be reached until the end of the underwater pull.  I like to think of it as squeezing yourself past a fix point in the water rather than a more impatient grab for the water and trying to throw it backwards.

Try to use the drills this week to be practise being patient with the catch and take this through into the main set of 75s and 125s.  I will put some more drills in the middle of the main set this week to give you chance to reset and think about it again for the final part of the main set.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Before we do the first set of Winter time trials at the end of November we are going to focus on a good catch from an early vertical forearm (EVF).  And to do this we are going to do some new drills together with some of our old favourites.  So please watch the video below to learn about catch-kick drill and catch-catch-pull drill.  The other key thing I would like you to notice in the video is the importance of a high shoulder position to get a good catch and EVF.  Please think about this throughout the session this week.

After the EVF drills this week we will be doing an aerobic pyramid main set where I would like you to focus on keeping a good high shoulder to help with a good catch before doing some 25m sprints to finish.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We have the pool for 3 hours this week so will be splitting the session into two 1.5 hour sessions starting at 7am and 8:30am.  For those Lane 1 swimmers racing at the National Masters in Sheffield please come along to the 7am session as this will be a race pace session.  For all other lanes, and lane 1 at 8:30am, it will be a longer version of our regular Saturday morning session.

For most of you doing the regular session I would really like you to think about your underwater stroke this week ands making it really effective.  The 3 sets after the warm-up to do this are as follows:

  1. A pull set with paddles where I would like you to think about being very patient at the catch and focusing on the push and back-end of your underwater stroke.  Paddles are a great to give your a bit more time and feel to do this.
  2. A technique set where I’d like you to focus on getting into that nice high EVF position even as you rotate your body.  We will be doing some Unco drill to help you do this.
  3. A second main set of aerobic 100s where I would like you to focus on EVF and the push at the back-end of your stroke on alternate lengths.  The turnarounds will get short at times so don’t stress about the turnaround and focus on being as relaxed as possible by working on your technique so you won’t need much rest after each.

At the end of the session will be a few different stroke for fun after all the concentration on improving your underwater pull during the session.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Most people have now pretty much finished their race seasons so we will be starting Winter training this week for most lanes.  However, I know quite a few lane 1 swimmers will be competing in the National Masters in late October so I will keep the faster sessions going for lane 1 until then.

The technique work for lanes 2, 3 and 4 will be starting with sideline kicking before going into an aerobic main set of 75s and 125s.  I would really like everyone to take their time over the drills and aim to swim them as comfortably and relaxed as possible.  The drills we are doing this week, and for most weeks, are best swum with your head down and breathing as little as possible.  You can only do this in a relaxed way if you are rested and take your time to have good enough rests after each 25.  So take your time, relax and try to take advantage of the time to work on a great high-elbow pull, with excellent early-vertical-forearm (EVF), and combine this with a rotation as you build through the drills.

The main set for lane 1 will with USRPT fast 50s – which is ideal 200m race pace training – so aim to swim all of them at your 200m race pace and miss some out as soon as you drop off this pace.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We are going to keep the technique work going throughout January, as we did last year, before we start the build towards more race pace swimming from February onwards.  And for January the focus is going to continue to be on the underwater part of the pull by focusing on connecting your catch, with good EVF, to the powerful push part of the underwater pull.

This week I would like you to focus on your posture and shoulder position.  This should help you get more power in each stroke.  To illustrate the point I have a videos and two pictures to illustrate the point.The video here is from Brenton Ford at Effortless Swimming that illustrates the difference in strength possible with a good posture.  To focus on posture this week I would like you to think about keeping your shoulders forward and near your face during the pull.  You can see the difference between a poor and good shoulder position  in the photos below.

These photos are from Sheila Taormina’s excellent Swim Speed Secrets book and show Jack maintaining a high and forward shoulder position which helps engage his strongest muscles for a powerful pull, and also helps keep a vertical forearm for longer through the pull.  The drills we will be doing this week will help you focus on this.  Please work on your shoulder position during both the drill and main set and see if you can feel the difference in power connecting your catch to the powerful back-end of your underwater pull.

We will stick with the usual pattern of doing time trials every 2 months – on the last Saturday of the month – and the next time trials will be at the end of January.  We won’t be doing any speed work before then so any improvement in your performance is most likely to come from technique. So please focus on your technique over the next few weeks by getting a good lever, with an early vertical forearm, to push yourself forward using a strong core rotation all controlled with shoulders near your chin.

See you Saturday,

Rob

We have the pool for 3 hours this week, as the juniors won’t be there, so both sessions will last an hour and a half.  The first session will be 7am till 8:30am and the second session will run from 8:30am to 10am.  The extra time gives us chance to do a bit more distance, fit in some technique work focusing on EVF, include a nice pull set and swim a few different strokes at the end for fun.  See you Saturday!

Rob

An EVF is important to set up you for the underwater pull but only fully effective if you use that good EVF position to get the power from the push phase of your underwater stroke.  This is what I would like you to focus on during the session this week.  Aim to keep your vertical arm accelerating and pushing the water straight backwards right to the end of the push-phase.  Engage your core for extra power during the push.

To help we will be building up from drills focusing on the EVF catch and then into full strokes with the push as well.  As part of these drills we will be trying a new drill called catch-catch pull that was in one of the videos I shared a couple of weeks ago from Effortless Swimming.  Look at the video below from 3:46 onwards for a demonstration:

In December I will be alternating the sessions I swim and coach to give the 7am session a chance for some coaching.  This week I will coach the 7am session and swim during the 8am session and change next week.

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

Well done to everyone that has been brave enough to watch yourself on video and see what your stroke really looks like rather than what it feels like you are doing.  We have one more week of video and EVF drills before our first time trials of the Winter and I will write a bit more about what I am looking for in the time trials next week.

Back to this week, though, and the most common question I get on EVF is what should a good EVF look like?  If you look at many elite swimmers like Rebecca Adlington or Sun Yang on Youtube you will see extreme examples of what is possible for EVF by the very best in the world.  Few of us are ever likely to get near these extreme EVF positions but all of us can improve and get better.  And for many of us, improving EVF is one thing that is likely to make a big difference in swimming speed and efficiency, which is why I bang on about it so much!

So what should an EVF position look like for a regular swimmer?  The picture below is a clip from an Effortless Swimming video analysis of Triathlon Taren, who I know some of you follow.  The straight red line from his shoulder to wrist shows where he is with his catch at present and he is aiming to improve by getting to more of the bent red-line position shown on top of it.  You can watch the full video podcast showing this from this link.  

So how do you improve your EVF?  Many different drills can help and we have been practising many of those that I think can work well.  The following video from Effortless Swimming is also excellent and well worth a watch.  I particularly like the suggestion about shoulder position to help with a good EVF position, which is something you can all try this week.

After the EVF drills this week we will be doing an aerobic set of 200s, 150s and 100s before doing some pull-back sprints to finish.  I will be using lane 1 again this week for more video work during the pull-back sprints for anyone else that wants to be filmed.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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