Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by RunnSw » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00


Subject:        Stroke Length: Most strongly related to kicking

Date:   18 Jul 2000 01:20:48 GMT

Technique gurus have noted that stroke length correlates with performance and
have then gone about devising ways to enhance stroke length. So the idea they
come up with is to reach way forward, hold your arm out there in a bit of a
glide phase and add in trunk rotation and front back balance. The kick is not
considered important for anything other than maintaining rhythm.

But the question that no one ever seriously tries to address with data is the
following:  What makes a long stroke long in a successful competitive swimmer?

I don't think that people have made a serious effort to understand this.  It
reminds me of a type of question they used to ask on examinations in medical
school:

Two statements are made ("A" and "B").  Choices of answers are as follows:

1. A is true and B is false.
2. A is false and B is true.
3. Both A and B are false.
4. Both A and B are true and they are related.
5. Both A and B are true, but they are unrelated.

So here are the statements.

A. A long stroke correlates with performance of skilled competitive swimmers in
many (but not all) swimming events.

B. It is possible to achieve a long stroke through an extended forward reach
and retarding the pull until the opposite hand has completed its stroke and
most of its recovery.

My answer to the above question would be # 5, in the above list of choices.

Here's what I've observed...what makes for a long stroke (in order of
importance - most to least).

1. Effectiveness of the kick.
2. Side to side shoulder/trunk/hip rotation
3. Catch effectiveness/efficiency (lack of slippage)
4. Height/Wingspan
5. Hand/forearm extension

I'm sure that front/back balance is important at the level of the novice
swimmer, but all elite swimmers have excellent front/back balance (often
getting that way by kicking); so this is hard to show objectively.

What are the data to support these observations?  Well, they haven't been
published, but anyone who attends a major swim championship meet and is willing
to spend the time watching all of the freestyle races can easily confirm most,
if not all, of these assertions.

Here is what you do.

The single most valuable race to watch is the 400 meter freestyle, long course.
 In shorter races, the majority of swimmers have quite good kicks, making it
hard to compare.  In a short course pool, there is too much artifact associated
with turns and streamlines.  But the 400 is just right.  After you've reached
conclusions from a long course 400, you can proceed to other distances and
confirm that the overall truthfulness of the conclusions holds for all
distances.

So you want paper on a clipboard and a pencil.  At the beginning of each heat,
you score each swimmer's height and wing-span.  Scale of 3.  Short, medium,
tall.  Race starts.  You let them warm up for the first 100, while grading
their shoulder rotation.  Scale of 3.  Slight (water polo stroke-like), medium,
marked. Then, for the second and third hundreds, you get to the real meat of
the matter.  You count their strokes and you grade their kicks.  Stroke count
is just stroke count.  How many to go from one wall to the next wall.  Kick
effectiveness is again scale of three. Slight (leg dragger), medium (this is a
catch all category, which can range from an "effective" looking two beat kick
to an "ineffective" looking 6 beat kick).  This is a bit subjective, but clues
as to an effective kick are the amplitude of the stern wave and the turbulence
of the water.  With some practice, one can learn to distinguish between an
effective kick and a kick which appears to be active, but which is mostly
cosmetic.  A "marked" kick is a brisk 4 to 6 beat kick, which clearly disturbs
the trailing water, raising deep turbulence. The final things to grade/score
are (1) degree to which leading arm is outstretched, scale of three, ranging
from bent elbow entry (e.g. Brooke Bennett crab stroke) to pronounced and
prolonged extension, with "medium" being in between.  And (2) effectiveness of
catch and anchor, with respect to avoiding slippage of the hand/forearm in the
water.  This is very hard to score from the bleachers during a  race, and
really has to be done at the pool deck, walking alongside the swimmer in lane
1.

Now, when you have all of the above data, put them into a series of 3 x 3
tables (three rows; three columns).  But first you need to turn the stroke
counts into "low," "medium," and 'High" categories.  You do this by just
arranging all of your measured stroke counts and cutting (grouping) them into
tertiles or thirds.  Top third (most number of strokes) is "high." Middle third
is "medium."  Bottom third is "low."

So, for each of the factors that you want to compare with stroke length, you
list them in the 3 x 3 table.  The table has three rows (for "high," "medium,"
and "low" stroke counts).  It also has three columns (for "short," "medium,"
and "tall;" for "slight," "medium," and "marked," and so forth.

What you will find is that - by far, the strongest associations are between
stroke length and kicking effectiveness.  I have done this enough times and the
relationship is so obvious that I guarantee you that you will readily concede
that this is a correct observation.  The statistical significance can be tested
by means of a 3 x 3 Chi Square contingency table analysis (just punch "Chi" AND
"Square" AND "table" into a web search engine, and you will readily find what
this means and how to do it).  But you don't need statistics.  The relationship
is that strong and that obvious.

Once you have confirmed this relationship with a number of swimmers, it is fun
to make some individual correlations.  A few examples from the Janet Evans
Invitational this weekend:

1.  In the 400 and 1500, there were great races between Erik Vendt, Ryk
Neethling, and Chris Thompson.  Vendt is a shrimp (i.e. a short guy) with a
superb kick.  Neethling and Thompson are two tall guys with relatively weak
kicks (particularly in the 1500).  Vendt had the lowest stroke count, longest
stroke of any swimmer in the 400, despite being only 5'10" (and I think this
height is an exaggeration).  33 - 34 strokes, compared to > 40 for skyscrapers
Neethling and Thompson.  The latter two, by the way, both have great front back
balance, good shoulder rolls, and a long straight forward extension.  What they
lack (most of the time) are great kicks.  But watch what happens in those parts
of the race where the kick intensity is ratcheted up for both Neethling and
Thompson (when mounting a charge or sometimes when powering off of walls).
Their stroke counts go down, noticeably, as their kicks go up.  And then they
settle into the middle part of the pool in the middle part of the race and
their kicks go down, while their strokes go up.

Same thing with the women.  Claudia Poll and Lindsey Benko are skyscraping
women with usually weak kicks and very short strokes.  Lots of short kids swam
with great kicks and much lower stroke counts.  Obvious, obvious, obvious
relationship.  Nothing else (height, wing span, side to side rotation, even
long forward arm extension) is nearly as obvious.

My all time favorite example, however, is an up and coming young high school
distance swimmer named Aram Kevorkian, whom I have been watching since he was
12 (now, I think, 18) and who swims for North Coast Aquatics, in San Diego
County.  Aram has a very unusual stroke, to say the least.  Much of the time
(although he does change around at different stages in his races), Aram swim
with a long, slow stroke with his left arm and a much shorter and more rapid
stroke with his right arm.  Sure enough, when the left arm is reaching
forward, Aram starts to kick like blazes, but, during the right arm reach and
pull, his
kick goes entirely to sleep.  The result is like his stroke is being driven by
an electric motor, which is regularly shorting out during each cycles, only to
have power immediately restored.

So you want to know why elite swimmers have long strokes?  It's because they
have great kicks.  If you believe that long strokes are the key to successful
competitive swimming (and I don't believe that they invariably are the key to
success, with prime examples being short stroking Claudia Poll - 1:58.02 on
Saturday at the Janet Evans) or Brooke Bennett, or even Janet Evans herself
)...as I was saying, if you really believe that long strokes are the key to
success, then you should be teaching kicking at the very top of the stroke
length pyramid, because it is the kick, far more than anything else, which
produces stroke length in elite competitive swimmers.

- Larry Weisenthal

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Dperz » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>if you really believe that long strokes are the key to
>success, then you should be teaching kicking at the very top of the stroke
>length pyramid, because it is the kick, far more than anything else, which
>produces stroke length in elite competitive swimmers.

>- Larry Weisenthal

More on this from Coach Paul Bergen
To attain maximum speed a swimmer must have a high enough tempo and
good or great Distance Per Stroke,this only happens with a good or great kick.
The goal is to have as high a tempo as possible with as low a  number of
strokes as possible.

Dan Perz

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Donald Graf » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Larry, you're double-posting again.  :-)

But thanks for the excellent and stimulating post!

I would like to query you on a few points.

Quote:
> 2. Side to side shoulder/trunk/hip rotation

You're being very ambiguous on a very important point here.
Do your slashes mean "and", "or", or what? Do you agree with the point that in elites
the hips stay relatively flat while the shoulders exhibit the greatest extent of roll?
Can you please elaborate on the meaning of your point 2 above?

Are you able to cite any elite swimmer that has a *significant* hip roll?

Interesting in this regard is a comment by Bud McAllister in the current issue
of Swimming Technique (in which I note you have contributed an excellent article).
"I didn't see detailed films of [Ian Thorpe], but I'm sure he also has
tremendous hip rotation as he pulls."

Well, it just ain't so. Please examine the clips of Thorpe at my site. Do you think
that this idea of *hip* rotation may be the modern day version of the Emperor's New
Clothes in swimming?

Quote:
> And (2) effectiveness of
> catch and anchor, with respect to avoiding slippage of the hand/forearm in the
> water.  This is very hard to score from the bleachers during a  race, and
> really has to be done at the pool deck, walking alongside the swimmer in lane
> 1.

How do you assess this?

Thank you,
Don

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Huub Toussain » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:

> Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com
> Newsgroups: rec.sport.swimming
> Date: 18 Jul 2000 01:30:27 GMT
> Subject: Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

> Subject:    Stroke Length: Most strongly related to kicking

> Date:    18 Jul 2000 01:20:48 GMT

> Technique gurus have noted that stroke length correlates with performance and
> have then gone about devising ways to enhance stroke length. So the idea they
> come up with is to reach way forward, hold your arm out there in a bit of a
> glide phase and add in trunk rotation and front back balance. The kick is not
> considered important for anything other than maintaining rhythm.

> But the question that no one ever seriously tries to address with data is the
> following:  What makes a long stroke long in a successful competitive swimmer?

I think it is important to note that propulsion is generated by giving an
impulse to water. (to move yourself forward you move water backward; there
is no fixed point to push off from). In moving water backwards energy is
transferred from the swimmer to the water (in the form of kinetic energy).
This energy is 'wasted' in the sense that is not used to overcome drag.
Hence two energy (or power as time derivative of energy) components can be
discerned in swimming: energy lost in the generation of propulsion and
energy spent overcoming the drag force.
Good swimmers are able to minimize their losses of energy when generating
propulsion (higher propelling efficiency) and can therefore use more energy
overcoming drag with a subsequent longer distance per stroke.
(see Toussaint, H. M. Differences in propelling efficiency between
competitive and triathlon swimmers. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 22:409-415,
1990.)
A good illustration of this point is the use of paddles: Paddles enlarge the
propelling surface. Therefore the push of is made against a larger mass of
water. Consequently the velocity change is lower to obtain an equal impuls
(propelling force) and thus the kinetic energy losses are lower and the
distance per stroke increases.
(see 1.    Toussaint, H. M., T. Janssen and M. Kluft. Effect of propelling
surface size on the mechanics and energetics of front crawl swimming. J.
Biomechanics 24:205-211, 1991.)

see for further background:

http://www.ifkb.nl/B4/indexsw.html

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Ross Bogu » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00


Quote:

> Interesting in this regard is a comment by Bud McAllister in the current issue
> of Swimming Technique (in which I note you have contributed an excellent
> article).
> "I didn't see detailed films of [Ian Thorpe], but I'm sure he also has
> tremendous hip rotation as he pulls."

I did see the clips of Thorpe's stroke at your site, Don.  Thorpe does
indeed have a significant hip rotation.  Maybe 30 degrees on the
non-breathing side, and 45 degrees on the breathing side.

While that's still not close to 90 degrees (a position the TI people
seem to consider an exaggeration for drill purposes), it's certainly
significant.

Ross

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by RunnSw » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>>Larry, you're double-posting again.  :-)<<

Yeah, I know.  I scribble something out, hit send, then note that I've made a
mistake (in the first version I mixed up Kevorkian's right and left arm in my
description of the kick).  AOL allows me to delete my first message, and I do
so, but there must be some delay before the first message is deleted and this
produces a double posting.  Sorry for clogging bandwidth.

Quote:
>>I would like to query you on a few points.
>> 2. Side to side shoulder/trunk/hip rotation
>You're being very ambiguous on a very important point here.

Do your slashes mean "and", "or", or what? Do you agree with the point that in
elites
the hips stay relatively flat while the shoulders exhibit the greatest extent
of roll?
Can you please elaborate on the meaning of your point 2 above?<<

I didn't want the point of this thread to be a debate about what rotates, so I
tried to keep everyone happy by giving you all a choice bettween shoulders,
trunk, and hips. The point is that there is certainly a relationship (though
not as clear as in the case of kicking) between shoulder/trunk/hip rotation and
stroke length.  The extreme case is the water polo player who barely rotates
the shoulders at all. This greatly limits forward extension and reduces stroke
length.  Swimmers who have one shoulder up and the other down at some point to
tend to have longer stroke lengths.  The reason why swimmers are taught to
rotate to the side when reaching for the wall at the end of the race is that
one can reach forward further further in this position.

Are you able to cite any elite swimmer that has a *significant* hip roll?

Quote:
>>Interesting in this regard is a comment by Bud McAllister in the current

issue
of Swimming Technique...
"I didn't see detailed films of [Ian Thorpe], but I'm sure he also has
tremendous hip rotation as he pulls."

Quote:
>>Well, it just ain't so. Please examine the clips of Thorpe at my site. Do you

think
that this idea of *hip* rotation may be the modern day version of the Emperor's
New
Clothes in swimming?<<

This is an interesting area, though off-point from what I wanted to talk about
here.  In brief, there are three schools of thought, both based on analogies
from other sports. The "baseball"/"football" school of thought would say that
you want to get your body into the stroke, and you do so by having the hips
lead the stroke, just as the hips lead the swing in baseball or the quarterback
throw in football.  The main guru is Pritchard.  Many swimmers (including Amy
Van***n) profess to believe in this school of thought, as do many coaches,
such as Bud.

The Tiger Woods school of thought seems to be confirmed by the videos which you
have posted and describe.  There was an interesting article about Tiger's golf
swing a couple of years ago in Sports Illustrated. The goal was to explain how
lean, wiry Tiger could bash the ball so far.  The article made the point that
most golfers rotate their hips and trunk and shoulders more or less
synchronously and equally, but that Tigers shoulders coil back way further than
his trunk and hips (i.e. he gets a greater wind up by over-rotating his
shoulders, relative to his trunk and hips), then this allows him to develop a
stronger and more rapid uncoiling during the power phase of his swing.  Your
point (supported by your videos) is that many accomplished freestylers seem to
be doing something at least roughly analogous.

The third school of thought is that the stroke should be neither hip driven or
shoulder uncoiling driven but should rather just be a nice flowing action, in
which the body gently rolls back and forth, synchronously, like a log.  I agree
that it is hard to find examples of this in the real world of high level
competitive swimming. This is not to say that senior citizens might not find
this to be a relaxing way to swim.

For whatever it's worth (and I have only anecdotal experience and not data and
certainly no videos), I do (along with Bud) like the emperor's new clothes
school of thought - hips lead the stroke. But I also really like baseball and
football much more than I like golf.  The advantage of the hips lead the stroke
paradigm to the average lap swimmer is that its the most certain way I know of
to immediately get rid of the snake-like, side to side wiggle.

Quote:
>> And (2) effectiveness of
> catch and anchor, with respect to avoiding slippage of the hand/forearm in
the
> water.  This is very hard to score from the bleachers during a  race, and
> really has to be done at the pool deck, walking alongside the swimmer in lane
>> 1.
>How do you assess this?<

With great difficulty, and, of the things I described (kick effectiveness,
height/wing span, shoulder/trunk/hip rotation, degree of forward reach) the
catch/slippage factor is the hardest to score objectively.  Walking along the
pool deck, I look for position of hand/forearm at catch, effectiveness of
anchor, degree to which high elbow is maintained during catch and pull, and
apparent backward slippage.  I come up with a very subjective score - "bad",
"medium", and "good" to describe the overall effect.  There is no doubt that
"good" is associated with a longer stroke length than "bad," and that this is
more important than the swimmer's height or degree of forward reach, but not as
important as the effectiveness of the swimmer's kick.

- Larry Weisenthal

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Donald Graf » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Please cite which clip it is you are referring to, preferable by file
name. Thanks.

Don

Quote:



> > Interesting in this regard is a comment by Bud McAllister in the current issue
> > of Swimming Technique (in which I note you have contributed an excellent
> > article).
> > "I didn't see detailed films of [Ian Thorpe], but I'm sure he also has
> > tremendous hip rotation as he pulls."

> I did see the clips of Thorpe's stroke at your site, Don.  Thorpe does
> indeed have a significant hip rotation.  Maybe 30 degrees on the
> non-breathing side, and 45 degrees on the breathing side.

> While that's still not close to 90 degrees (a position the TI people
> seem to consider an exaggeration for drill purposes), it's certainly
> significant.

> Ross

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Isiaf » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>Here's what I've observed...what makes for a long stroke (in order of
>importance - most to least).

>1. Effectiveness of the kick.
>2. Side to side shoulder/trunk/hip rotation
>3. Catch effectiveness/efficiency (lack of slippage)
>4. Height/Wingspan
>5. Hand/forearm extension

This completely ignores what makes the longest amount distance per stroke for
me:

1. How hard I accelerate my stroke
2. How well I am able to stay balanced

Sling Skate

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by RunnSw » Wed, 19 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>>This completely ignores what makes the longest amount distance per stroke for

me:

Quote:
>>1. How hard I accelerate my stroke
>>2. How well I am able to stay balanced
>>Sling Skate<<

I thought I made it reasonably clear that my conclusions were made on the basis
of observations on elite level swimmers competing at major meets.

At the elite level, I presume that everyone makes a maximum effort to
accelerate their armstrokes and everyone is quite adroit at staying balanced.
Given that all of this is more or less equal (at the elite level), it is then
the effectiveness of the kick (which may be readily confirmed by you, should
you take the time to make the suggested observations at an upper level meet)
which makes the difference between a long stroke and a short stroke...much more
than anything else which may be at least semi-objectively measured.

I didn't ignore you, Sling; I've just never had the chance to watch you swim.
I don't disagree that balance and arm/body position are important things to
master, if one aspires to be a good swimmer.  My only point (which I tried my
best to explain in the beginning) was that it is observations made on elite
swimmers (notably the relationship between stroke length and performance) which
has been used to justify a primary focus on increasing stroke length in
everyone - beginners, intermediates, and experts.  I just think that it is
useful to try and document exactly what it is which makes a long stroke long in
these elite swimmers.

If you feel that my observations are in error, I would be very interested to
hear about contrary observations made at the level of elite competitive
swimming.

But since you offer up yourself as an example, perhaps you can give us some
data:

1. Grade your kick on a scale of 1 - 3
2. Grade your height/wingspan on a scale of 1 - 3
3. Grade your shoulder/trunk/hip rotation on a scale of 1-3
4. Let us know your stroke count for 50 meters long course in the middle of
swimming at least a 200 (and preferably a 400).  Your average time per 50 for a
200 or 400 would be nice as a point of reference, but we can get by without
this latter parameter, if not available.
5. Grade the effectiveness of your catch, anchor, and pull (in terms of
avoiding slippage) on a scale of 1 - 3.
6. Grade the extent to which you reach forward on a scale of 1-3, as defined
previously.
7. I'm presuming that your front to back balance is good...in any event, as I
said before, I've not been able to detect differences in front/back balance
that I can score and factor into the analysis of stroke length in elite level
swimmers.  As I also said, I don't doubt that this parameter (front/back
balance) is related to stroke length at the novice level.

After you can give some data about yourself (again, since you used yourself as
the example), then we'll talk turkey.

- Larry

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by RunnSw » Thu, 20 Jul 2000 04:00:00

nb: 2nd "take;" not a double post:

Quote:
>>This completely ignores what makes the longest amount distance per stroke for

me:

Quote:
>>1. How hard I accelerate my stroke
>>2. How well I am able to stay balanced

Thought more about this, Sling.

I'm going to make a couple of assumptions about your swimming:

1.  You do not have a highly effective kick; therefore it is not possible to
gauge what effect a highly effective kick would have on your stroke length.

2.  You make a conscious effort to maximally reach forward with your leading
hand upon entry, and you keep the hand outward reached for at least a
half-second (and maybe longer) in an attempt to milk out the maximum distance
per stroke.

Now, if (1) and (2) are correct, then it stands to reason that your stroke
length would be postively influenced by more forceful acceleration with your
opposite hand during its power phase (note, however, that this approach to
lengthening one's stroke is NOT what is currently being emphasized by stroke
gurus).  You are not kicking much, so all of your forward movement riding the
outstretched hand will result from the force impulse with your opposite
armstroke.  This is, in fact, why stroke length is also influenced by such
factors as training and fatigue and rest.

In elite swimmers, however, whatever the effect of their stroke acceration, the
influence of the kick on stroke length would certainly appear to be a strong
independent variable; I would maintain, the strongest independent variable.
Maglischo's book is full of force and acceleration vectors.  These force
vectors have been well-measured but, to my knowledge, have not been shown to be
clearly related to the stroke length differences between "A" finalists, "B"
finalists, and non-qualifiers which have been used to justify the heavy
emphasis on stroke length.

In contrast, my observations well explain these differences in stroke length at
this level of swimming and, if I am correct, this points to the area which
should be emphasized if one believes that stroke length is the ticket to
success at the elite level (once again, I do not necessarily agree that stroke
length is always the best thing to emphasize - Claudia Poll's 200 being a fine
current example - and most certainly I don't think it is the most important
thing to emphasize at the level of fitness swimming).

- Larry Weisenthal

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Isiaf » Thu, 20 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>4. Let us know your stroke count for 50 meters long course in the middle of
>swimming at least a 200 (and preferably a 400).  Your average time per 50 for
>a
>200 or 400 would be nice as a point of reference, but we can get by without
>this latter parameter, if not available.

Whoa, this and the other,  just to talk turkey?

I haven't even done one 50 meter for speed yet this summer, I am just happy
with drills, I guess.

I do regularly time myself for kicking a distnce that might be twenty yards?  I
don't really have an accurate way of measuring the distance.

To me, the speed of a short kicking distance is the most important since it
shows potential kicking speed or better yet kicking efficiency.  The rest is
more endurance or something.

However, why isn't it possible to take the idea of strokes per length and apply
it to kicking.  That is, should a good kick be able to cover a short distance
with fewer kicks?  Or stated in a different way, why isn't kicks per length
important?

Sling Skate

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Isiaf » Thu, 20 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>I'm going to make a couple of assumptions about your swimming:

>1.  You do not have a highly effective kick; therefore it is not possible to
>gauge what effect a highly effective kick would have on your stroke length.

Okay, give me some measures, remember that I am kinda lazy, for guaging the
effectiveness of my kick.

I would say that my current rather moderate training is focused more than 50%
kicking and maybe another 30% balance.  I, at the moment, don't emphasize
stroking much and am getting to like***gloves more and more thus requiring
even more kick I would think.

Sling Skate

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by Donald Graf » Thu, 20 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Please see below...

Quote:

> However, why isn't it possible to take the idea of strokes per length and apply
> it to kicking.  That is, should a good kick be able to cover a short distance
> with fewer kicks?  Or stated in a different way, why isn't kicks per length
> important?

Usually, swimmers have a fixed number of kick beats per arm stroke cycle.
E.g., 2-beat, 6-beat, 8-beat, etc. Therefore, it would not be an
independent measurement (from arm stroke count) for full-stroke swimming.
However, for kick drills this is actually quite a good idea. I do this with fly and
***stroke kicks, and I could do it for free, but I'd have to reduce the rate
a bit to count those. Certainly, kicks per length is a good measure of
kicking efficiency.

Don

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by alwein.. » Thu, 20 Jul 2000 04:00:00



<< snip>>

Quote:

> In contrast, my observations well explain these differences in stroke
length at
> this level of swimming and, if I am correct, this points to the area
which
> should be emphasized if one believes that stroke length is the ticket
to
> success at the elite level (once again, I do not necessarily agree
that stroke
> length is always the best thing to emphasize - Claudia Poll's 200
being a fine
> current example - and most certainly I don't think it is the most
important
> thing to emphasize at the level of fitness swimming).

  What would you recommend as the most important thing(s) to emphasize
at the level of fitness swimming?

Allen Weiner

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

 
 
 

Stroke Length: Most Strongly Related to Kicking

Post by RunnSw » Thu, 20 Jul 2000 04:00:00

Quote:
>>However, why isn't it possible to take the idea of strokes per length and

apply
it to kicking.  That is, should a good kick be able to cover a short distance
with fewer kicks?  Or stated in a different way, why isn't kicks per length
important?<<

If the analogy of stroke length to gear ratios on a bike is not an apt one (and
I believe that it clearly _can_ be an apt one, as long as one factors out the
kick), then the analogy between kicking and gear ratio is surely apt.  The
following is only opinion, but I think it's intuitively obvious that a "high
amplitude/slow cadence" kick is by no means obviously superior to a "low
amplitude/high cadence" kick.  Some will work better for some people and some
will work better for others.  This is also not factoring in such things as
position of the foot (a function of ankle flexibility and voluntary/trained
positioning).

- Larry