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2013-11-05 2:29 PM
in reply to: jbrookscga78

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Subject: RE: Swim Fins and Kickboards
Originally posted by jbrookscga78

I never use them. Speedo and goggles only for me. I am not an expert, just a mediocre (2m/100M ave. freestyle pace) 56 year old. I only swim about 6,000 M per week on average, to leave time for bike and run. I have always hated the kickboard (I go nowhere), and especially with a wetsuit on, my triathlon swims don't involve much kicking, so I got over the guilt of having a weak kick (for propulsion). Not sure what all this means to some of you "real athletes" out there - for whom I really do have a lot of respect - but life is short, and the simpler I can make things the better. Now I gotta go grab my speedo, goggles and towel, and head to the pool for my lunchtime swim!


At 600meter a week you could be swimming much faster than 2m/100. If I were working with you the first thing I would do is teach you to glide in the prone position, then give you a kick board. You go nowhere because kick is wrong, which makes everything harder. With distance swimming your kick tends to be light anyway, but if its wrong it drags you back. Take 10 weeks of your swimming over the winter and substitute it with swim lessons, when the lessons are over you should be just as fast or faster with less effort.


2013-11-07 12:22 PM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: Swim Fins and Kickboards
Originally posted by AdventureBear

A kick is not going to rotate the body during swimming; it will help to keep it straight and stabilized.


It can do either or both. You can force the body to stay stabilized and the kick is then only propulsive. or you can use the kick as an anchor and leveraging point in the water allowing the body to rotate around the long axis. or you can alternately do both as in a well timed 6 beat kick.

For triathletes, kicking is such an inefficient way to move forward that it's better to each the kick as a rotational aid and use balance and pressure and spearing/ catching technique to create front to back balance. This frees up the kick to be more useful as a full body compliment to right half/left half streamlining and rotation, alternating right side streamline with left side streamline. That's the way I teach it. (Doesn't mean every one else needs to do so)


Kicking is rarely propulsive. Have you ever seen anyone be able to kick faster than they can pull? It's main function provides stability, aids in proper body position and helps to increase the tempo of the turnover. In training, it's very effective in targeting the cardiovascular system due to the greater O2 demands. The description of your ideal triathlon stroke sounds like a larger emphasis on a shoulder driven stroke. I coach all the athletes that I work with that the stroke should be driven from the core. I also coach that for an open water stroke, when the catch is developed properly, that the tempo of the stroke should be a lot higher with very little "glide" in it. But as you mention, "doesn't mean every one else needs to do so."

Best regards,

Tim Floyd
2013-11-07 12:27 PM
in reply to: k9car363

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Subject: RE: Swim Fins and Kickboards
Originally posted by k9car363

In reading all the posts, I want to clarify my original post.  When I said that swim fins have no place in a workout and kickboards have marginal use at best, I was thinking advanced swimmers.  Sorry, I should have make that more clear.  I will define advanced swimmer as a swimmer that can easily complete a 4-5,000 yard/meter workout at least 3-4 times a week.  I will further make the assumption that the swimmer that can complete workouts at that level will likely have reasonable stroke mechanics.  I was not referring to the novice or beginning swimmer.  For the novice, or for the absolute beginner, I say whatever works.

Erik and Tim, both of you have excellent counter points.  I am wondering if your opinion may change a bit if we are talking about an advanced swimmer?




The ability level of the swimmer won't impact my opinion about the use of fins/kickboards in a workout. What we are using the fins and kick board for will be the same for the beginner as well as the advanced swimmer. We are trying to make the stroke more efficient and train the same cardiovascular system in both beginner and advanced.

Tim Floyd
2013-11-07 12:45 PM
in reply to: snappingt

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Subject: RE: Swim Fins and Kickboards
Originally posted by snappingt

Originally posted by AdventureBear

A kick is not going to rotate the body during swimming; it will help to keep it straight and stabilized.


It can do either or both. You can force the body to stay stabilized and the kick is then only propulsive. or you can use the kick as an anchor and leveraging point in the water allowing the body to rotate around the long axis. or you can alternately do both as in a well timed 6 beat kick.

For triathletes, kicking is such an inefficient way to move forward that it's better to each the kick as a rotational aid and use balance and pressure and spearing/ catching technique to create front to back balance. This frees up the kick to be more useful as a full body compliment to right half/left half streamlining and rotation, alternating right side streamline with left side streamline. That's the way I teach it. (Doesn't mean every one else needs to do so)


Kicking is rarely propulsive. Have you ever seen anyone be able to kick faster than they can pull? It's main function provides stability, aids in proper body position and helps to increase the tempo of the turnover. In training, it's very effective in targeting the cardiovascular system due to the greater O2 demands. The description of your ideal triathlon stroke sounds like a larger emphasis on a shoulder driven stroke. I coach all the athletes that I work with that the stroke should be driven from the core. I also coach that for an open water stroke, when the catch is developed properly, that the tempo of the stroke should be a lot higher with very little "glide" in it. But as you mention, "doesn't mean every one else needs to do so."

Best regards,

Tim Floyd


Wrong, kicking is usually propulsive. If you can swim with a pull bouy between your ankles faster than you can swim using your kick then it is not propulsive for you. Most swimmers(not talking people here as I have not seen anyone here swim) swim faster with a kick. That does not mean that their kick alone will propel them as much as their pull alone. The kick is not nearly as efficient as the arms are to propel you forward. For long distance swimming the use of a kick is really defendant on your swim fitness. If you don't have the fitness for the distance you are doing with a kick you will be gassed at the end and useless on the bike/run.

Your stroke can not be driven from your core as your core does not move, however a strong core is needed to stabilize your stroke. As far as how fast your arms move(tempo), this is specific to each individual as to the distance they are swimming and the efficiency of there stoke. My tempo is rather quick compared to most it always has been, its what works for me. However I used to swim with people who had very long gliding stroke who were just as fast and got slower if they increased their tempo.
2013-11-07 1:06 PM
in reply to: mike761

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Subject: RE: Swim Fins and Kickboards
Mike,

We'll agree to disagree.

Best regards,

Tim Floyd
2013-11-07 1:06 PM
in reply to: k9car363

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Subject: RE: Swim Fins and Kickboards

Originally posted by k9car363

Originally posted by GoFaster

Originally posted by TriMyBest

IMO, these tools, along with others such as pull buoys and snorkels, and drills do tend to be overused by a huge factor.  

Seems to be a lot of consensus on use (or lack of use) of boards and fins from the experienced swimmers who have posted so far.  But I'm curious if we can extend this conversation to discuss use of drills and their quantity, or lack thereof, in a program for mid-pack triathlete swimmers.

Neil,

I am probably not the person to ask about drills.  Back when I was swimming, we didn't do drills per se.  Occasionally we would use paddles and pull bands, but that was RARE.  We swam, lap upon endless lap.  When we were done, we swam some more.  I was fortunate to swim under a gentleman who is arguably one of the greatest swimming coaches that has ever walked a pool deck.  He was an absolute stickler for PERFECT stroke mechanics and had a special talent for imparting his knowledge to those of us privileged enough to call him our coach.

I know in the years since I retired there has been a movement towards an increasing number of drills; another one of the things I don't completely understand.  Perhaps some of the other active coaches here would be better at answering the question.  My personal opinion, for what it is worth, you need to put in the yards, plain and simple.

My issue with this, is  that most of us don't have a coach on deck pointing out deficencies in our stroke mechanics.  For me, I only get to swim alone, and I know that is true for a great many triathletes.  Even a lot of masters groups don't include stroke correction.  So how do you manage to improve by swimming lots, if you continue to repeat the same mistakes?  I'm likely at the point where I may invest in a few lessons and hope I choose someone good, because at this point, I'm a bit of a headcase when I get in the pool and try to guess what's right and what's wrong with my stroke.



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