FistGlove Magnum

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Donal Fagan, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. Donal Fagan

    Donal Fagan Guest

    I just ordered a pair of purple XL FistGloves. The XL are for palms 3.25" and wider. My palms are 4"
    wide, so I'm looking forward to a better fit.

    Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
     
    Tags:


  2. 4precious

    4precious Guest

    Donal Fagan <[email protected]'Fagan.com> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I just ordered a pair of purple XL FistGloves. The XL are for palms 3.25" and wider. My palms are
    > 4" wide, so I'm looking forward to a better fit.
    >
    >
    > Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)

    I love the title of your post, Donal. (I'm serious!)

    Is Schwarzenegger going to play the lead, now that his Terminator commitments are out of the way?

    -Eric

    PS I can't resist the old adage. (Rated-G version) "You know what they say about men with big hands
    ... they wear big gloves"
     
  3. Donal Fagan

    Donal Fagan Guest

    On 3 Jun 2003 21:53:02 -0700, [email protected] (4precious) wrote:

    >PS I can't resist the old adage. (Rated-G version) "You know what they say about men with big hands
    > ... they wear big gloves"

    :)

    Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
     
  4. Scott Lemley

    Scott Lemley Guest

    Thanks for the plug, Donal. Due to popular demand, I've once again begun to manufacture an XL
    fistglove. I'd hoped to get by with S-M-L versions being a one-man company as well as a believer in
    the KISS principle. However, I've discovered there are a lot of masters swimmers who find the L
    simply not large enough. I trust the XL will be more to their liking and will enhance their use of
    the closed fist drill.

    And lest I bring on the ire of those denizens of the newsgroup who rightfully want to keep it
    COMMERCIAL FREE, let me pose a serious question concerning fist swimming specifically and drills
    in general:

    How many of our readers/posters use "fist swimming" of any kind (with or without fistgloves)
    as a drill?

    It's probably not possible to determine who invented the "clenched fist" drill. We know Howard
    Firby, the legendary Canadian coach, helped popularize it over 40 years ago. Firby was a
    professional artist who used his skill to illustrate stroke technique in several best selling books.
    He often carried a human shaped figure with him and manipulated it's arms and legs to give his
    swimmers a compelling visual image of what he considered effective technique. A WWII pilot, Firby
    studied aerodynamics to better understand flying. Later he studied hydrodynamics to better
    understand swimming. He also studied biomechanics and physiology to gain an insight into effective
    stroke technique. As Canada's first Swimming Technical Director, Firby is given credit for helping
    initiate Canada's surge in international swimming success.

    We also know Cecil Colwin, highly respected coach, lecturer, author and historian, helped
    repopularize fist swimming by adding his own innovations, to wit, his "piano fingers" drills
    suggesting swimmers not only hold their hands tightly clenched, but also hold their fingers in
    different positions to better feel the flow of water around their hands. Colwin is almost unique
    among coaches having produced world class swimmers on 3 different continents - first as one of the
    greatest coaches South Africa ever produced (where one year he supplied their Olympic Team with all
    but one of its swimmers), then as one of the preeminent Australian coaches of his time whose teams
    won many national championships, and finally as one of Canada's greatest coaches.

    My guess is most (if not all!) coaches have used "closed fist" drills with their swimmers. Obviously
    there are hundreds of drills used by thousands of coaches to help isolate and/or exaggerate an
    aspect of a swimmer's stroke with the hope that drill will effect a positive change (meaning that
    swimmer will become more efficient and/or more effective when they race). Recently in our newsgroup
    the question has been raised about the effectiveness of drills that exaggerate a swimmer's body roll
    (to use an example). For me, that calls into question the very concept of drills.

    Over the years I've vacillated between teaching my swimmers dozens of drills for each stroke (going
    so far as to create charts for our drills, almost like the playbook used by an NFL quarterback,
    where the drills became known simply by a nickname or a number - "OK, let's swim 200 yards of our
    primary backstroke drill" or "Fly drill 3, please, fly drill 3") to swimming almost all "whole
    stroke" sets in practice.

    Which side of the fence do you reside on? Are drills effective? If so, when? If not, what's the
    alternative?

    Respectfully submitted,

    Scott
     
  5. Donal Fagan

    Donal Fagan Guest

    On 4 Jun 2003 07:02:28 -0700, [email protected] (Scott Lemley) wrote:

    >... I've discovered there are a lot of masters swimmers who find the L simply not large enough.

    I can squeeze into the L, but there's a certain amount of hair-pulling involved.

    >How many of our readers/posters use "fist swimming" of any kind (with or without fistgloves)
    >as a drill?

    I do, sporadically. I'm trying to work up the nerve to do FistFly.

    >Are drills effective? If so, when?

    Yes. The only trouble with drilling is finding the time.

    Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
     
  6. Brian D

    Brian D Guest

    [email protected] (Scott Lemley) wrote:

    > Oh and sorry Scott but I've never felt the need to use fistgloves.
    >
    > Paul
    >
    > Not a problem, Paul. I'm interested in the fact that you find merit
    in
    > the drill itself. I think its a great fundamental drill.
    >
    I myself use the fist drill, and with my swimmers, and I find it very useful, but I have never felt
    the need for fistgloves.
    --
    BD
     
  7. Paul Gormley

    Paul Gormley Guest

    "Scott Lemley" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Thanks for the plug, Donal. Due to popular demand, I've once again begun to manufacture an XL
    > fistglove. I'd hoped to get by with S-M-L versions being a one-man company as well as a believer
    > in the KISS principle. However, I've discovered there are a lot of masters swimmers who find the L
    > simply not large enough. I trust the XL will be more to their liking and will enhance their use of
    > the closed fist drill.
    >
    > And lest I bring on the ire of those denizens of the newsgroup who rightfully want to keep it
    > COMMERCIAL FREE, let me pose a serious question concerning fist swimming specifically and drills
    > in general:
    >
    > How many of our readers/posters use "fist swimming" of any kind (with or without fistgloves) as
    > a drill?
    >
    > It's probably not possible to determine who invented the "clenched fist" drill. We know Howard
    > Firby, the legendary Canadian coach, helped popularize it over 40 years ago. Firby was a
    > professional artist who used his skill to illustrate stroke technique in several best selling
    > books. He often carried a human shaped figure with him and manipulated it's arms and legs to give
    > his swimmers a compelling visual image of what he considered effective technique. A WWII pilot,
    > Firby studied aerodynamics to better understand flying. Later he studied hydrodynamics to better
    > understand swimming. He also studied biomechanics and physiology to gain an insight into effective
    > stroke technique. As Canada's first Swimming Technical Director, Firby is given credit for helping
    > initiate Canada's surge in international swimming success.
    >
    > We also know Cecil Colwin, highly respected coach, lecturer, author and historian, helped
    > repopularize fist swimming by adding his own innovations, to wit, his "piano fingers" drills
    > suggesting swimmers not only hold their hands tightly clenched, but also hold their fingers in
    > different positions to better feel the flow of water around their hands. Colwin is almost unique
    > among coaches having produced world class swimmers on 3 different continents - first as one of the
    > greatest coaches South Africa ever produced (where one year he supplied their Olympic Team with
    > all but one of its swimmers), then as one of the preeminent Australian coaches of his time whose
    > teams won many national championships, and finally as one of Canada's greatest coaches.
    >
    > My guess is most (if not all!) coaches have used "closed fist" drills with their swimmers.
    > Obviously there are hundreds of drills used by thousands of coaches to help isolate and/or
    > exaggerate an aspect of a swimmer's stroke with the hope that drill will effect a positive
    > change (meaning that swimmer will become more efficient and/or more effective when they race).
    > Recently in our newsgroup the question has been raised about the effectiveness of drills that
    > exaggerate a swimmer's body roll (to use an example). For me, that calls into question the very
    > concept of drills.
    >
    > Over the years I've vacillated between teaching my swimmers dozens of drills for each stroke
    > (going so far as to create charts for our drills, almost like the playbook used by an NFL
    > quarterback, where the drills became known simply by a nickname or a number - "OK, let's swim 200
    > yards of our primary backstroke drill" or "Fly drill 3, please, fly drill 3") to swimming almost
    > all "whole stroke" sets in practice.
    >
    > Which side of the fence do you reside on? Are drills effective? If so, when? If not, what's the
    > alternative?
    >
    > Respectfully submitted,
    >
    > Scott

    I actually find fist drills very effective and wish we made more use of it in training. You get a
    much better idea of the path your arm follows through the water and you can actually feel the
    pressure of the water on the inside of your arms. Plus your hands feel enormous once you unclench
    your fists! I'm wondering if it would be good to use as part of a gala warm up.

    Oh and sorry Scott but I've never felt the need to use fistgloves.

    Paul
     
  8. MJuric

    MJuric Guest

    On 4 Jun 2003 07:02:28 -0700, [email protected] (Scott Lemley) wrote:

    >Thanks for the plug, Donal. Due to popular demand, I've once again begun to manufacture an XL
    >fistglove. I'd hoped to get by with S-M-L versions being a one-man company as well as a believer in
    >the KISS principle. However, I've discovered there are a lot of masters swimmers who find the L
    >simply not large enough. I trust the XL will be more to their liking and will enhance their use of
    >the closed fist drill.
    >
    >And lest I bring on the ire of those denizens of the newsgroup who rightfully want to keep it
    >COMMERCIAL FREE, let me pose a serious question concerning fist swimming specifically and drills
    >in general:
    >
    >How many of our readers/posters use "fist swimming" of any kind (with or without fistgloves)
    >as a drill?

    I'm beginning to use them religiuosly. I've used them for about a year but in the last 4-5
    month I use them nearly every swim. I actually use them for all of my warm up laps and cool
    down laps. On days that are technique oriented I'll use them between sets too. Everytime I
    put them on I still get funny looks, from the "Awww that poor must have no hands" to "What
    hell is that dork doing?"

    <Sniped but interesting>.
    >
    >Which side of the fence do you reside on? Are drills effective? If so, when? If not, what's the
    >alternative?

    IMO drills are effective. The extent of effectiveness depends on the extent of the flaw that
    is being attempted to be corrected. I find that simply swimming and concentrating on not
    "reproducing" the flaw in the stroke works best for small corrections. However for
    identifing and correcting larger flaws drills are invaluable.

    ~Matt

    >
    >Respectfully submitted,
    >
    >Scott
     
  9. Scott Lemley

    Scott Lemley Guest

    Donal writes in answer to my question, "Are drills effective? If so, when?",

    <<Yes. The only trouble with drilling is finding the time.>>

    One of my martial arts teachers told me he practiced deep breathing several hours each night to
    replace part of the time he would ordinarily sleep. He felt an hour of slow, deep breathing (a very
    common form of meditation) was worth about two hours of restful sleep. I partially adopted that
    practice 25 years ago and usually sleep just 4 hours each night. I haven't used an alarm clock in
    years. My eyes spring open and I sit up in bed around 3:15 am each morning, ready to go. I make a
    cup of strong black tea and head to my office (10 steps from my house). I'll work until its time to
    go back to the house and get my kids up and feed them breakfast. I'm usually asleep by 11:00 pm
    every night.

    What's the point of this story? What if your guru/coach/teacher/partner/friend told you 30 minutes
    of drilling was worth "an hour's worth of swimming with impeccable technique". Let's put aside
    questions of whether exactly 30 minutes of drilling would be worth exactly 60 minutes of mindful
    swimming. When my teacher told me how beneficial slow, deep breathing was, I didn't question him. It
    seemed to make perfect sense to me. Of course, coming from a "master", that predisposed me to
    believing absolutely in its efficacy. However, if I had tried it and found I was MORE tired every
    morning, I probably would have stopped the practice at some point.

    Whose word would you take about drilling's efficacy? A great swimmer's anecdotal account of how much
    drilling he/she does and the resulting times he/she's able to swim? A great coach's anecdotal
    account of how much drilling his/her swimmer's perform in a given week and the resulting times
    they're able to swim? A great sports scientist's preliminary results "proving" drilling is twice as
    effective as whole stroke swimming? (Why "preliminary" results? Because science is all about
    generating theories, testing them, refining premises, testing them, ad infinitum.)

    And who would believe a sports scientist over a great coach if you were told he had the definitive
    word on A. head position, B. more rolling vs less rolling, C.
     
  10. Scott Lemley

    Scott Lemley Guest

    Oh and sorry Scott but I've never felt the need to use fistgloves.

    Paul

    Not a problem, Paul. I'm interested in the fact that you find merit in the drill itself. I think its
    a great fundamental drill.

    Scott
     
  11. Donal Fagan

    Donal Fagan Guest

    R Buckminster Fuller claimed to sleep much less than the rest of us, too. He called it "Dymaxion
    Sleeping" He used the name "Dymaxion" for a car and a house, too. Essentially, he slept a half hour
    every six hours, which would be only two hours a day. I don't see how he ever got any REM sleep at
    that rate.

    Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
     
  12. 4precious

    4precious Guest

    > Over the years I've vacillated between teaching my swimmers dozens of drills for each stroke
    > (going so far as to create charts for our drills, almost like the playbook used by an NFL
    > quarterback, where the drills became known simply by a nickname or a number - "OK, let's swim 200
    > yards of our primary backstroke drill" or "Fly drill 3, please, fly drill 3") to swimming almost
    > all "whole stroke" sets in practice.
    >
    > Which side of the fence do you reside on? Are drills effective? If so, when? If not, what's the
    > alternative?

    Here's my two-cents.

    In the Masters group I belong to, we don't do that much drilling. And when we do, the coach gives us
    a time interval which is pretty quick. So I see most people just swim regular to meet the interval.
    Completely defeats the purpose of drills, which should be slow, contemplative, etc.

    Is drilling effective? I don't know. But every sport I can think of breaks the activity down into
    small drills to get better. It's unlikely swimming would be any different.

    And here's maybe an idea that people might find useful:

    I'm always thinking of ways to change my work-out routine - maybe I'll add weight training, or
    stretching, or drilling on my own in another pool. And you know what? With a full job, and a family,
    IT"S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! So my advice to myself, and others, is to incoporate new things whenever
    possible in what you're already doing.

    Drilling is a great example. Why not drill during the warm-up? That's almost 15 minutes of
    "free-time" if we want to look at it that way. So instead of kicking, pulling, etc. Swim an easy
    100 and then drill for the remaining time. Plus we always do an "easy-100" after the main set.
    Once again, could drill there. And lastly, people take a lap or two at the end of the workout.
    Drill again.

    My point is, in the swim culture I'm in, unless I do drilling on my own, it ain't gonna happen. Is
    it worth it ... I don't know.

    -Eric
     
  13. Paul Gormley

    Paul Gormley Guest

    "4precious" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > In the Masters group I belong to, we don't do that much drilling. And when we do, the coach gives
    > us a time interval which is pretty quick. So I see most people just swim regular to meet the
    > interval. Completely defeats the purpose of drills, which should be slow, contemplative, etc.

    I couldn't agree more. I always told my swimmers that swimming was a thinking sport and drills were
    the best opportunity to think about and work on weaknesses.

    (snip)

    So my advice to myself, and others, is to incoporate
    > new things whenever possible in what you're already doing.
    >
    > Drilling is a great example. Why not drill during the warm-up? That's almost 15 minutes of
    > "free-time" if we want to look at it that way. So instead of kicking, pulling, etc. Swim an easy
    > 100 and then drill for the remaining time. Plus we always do an "easy-100" after the main set.
    > Once again, could drill there. And lastly, people take a lap or two at the end of the workout.
    > Drill again.

    Absolutely. From when I first started coaching, I was advised to include drill work in the warm-up
    and recovery sets.

    > My point is, in the swim culture I'm in, unless I do drilling on my own, it ain't gonna happen. Is
    > it worth it ... I don't know.

    If it helps improve your stroke and you're getting feedback to that effect.

    Paul
     
  14. Scott Lemley

    Scott Lemley Guest

    As a working coach my effectiveness is not a matter of speculation. If the swimmers I work with
    improve, I earn my paycheck and their trust. If they don't improve, somethings wrong and I better
    change that something quickly or I'm gone. Swimming success is easier to calculate than success in
    almost any other sport - there are no judges' scores to question as in figure skating or gymnastics;
    there's very little strategy to employ trying to "match up" with an opponent as in basketball or
    football or wrestling; you're not hoping for good weather running into or against the wind. If your
    time is 1/100th of a second faster than your competition's time, you win, you're a success. That
    tiny margin could prove the difference between a gold and silver medal at the Olympics. And in our
    present culture of win-at-all-costs, often in the public's mind, the gold medalist is the "winner"
    and the silver medalist is a "loser". All because you touch the wall a fraction of a second ahead of
    the other guy or girl.

    As an age group coach, I'm very aware that defining "success" isn't always about winning or losing.
    In fact, the lessons a child learns about Life - cooperation, commitment, courage - will be the
    more important lessons they take with them from their years as a club swimmer, more so than what
    their head position was or how deep their catch was or how fast their best time was in any
    particular event.

    As a high school coach, I still attach quite a bit of importance to teaching Life skills in
    addition to focusing on "participation" (important to your school's AD) and "school spirit"
    (important to the athletes, especially those who aren't year around swimmers) as fundamental to how
    I define success. However, high school seasons are very short (ours is 14 weeks) and high school
    careers necessarily limited (4 years and out). The stakes are a little higher to achieve
    competitive success with potential college scholarships on the line. The investment the athletes
    are willing to make is typically greater than when they were younger. And improvement is just a
    little more challenging to come by.

    As an ex-college coach (20 years ago now), I remember still attaching some importance to learning
    Life skills, however, from the perspective of the athletes and the administration, the focus was
    definitely on achieving academic and athletic success. By the time we graduate from high school,
    we're expected to have already learned the importance of commitment, cooperation, and courage. My
    job was mainly to encourage my swimmers to keep their grades up and prepare them for the conference
    (and in some cases, national) championships. And improvement was even more challenging to come by.

    As a masters coach, I'm not expected to teach Life skills to anyone, though I might share my Life
    Story with my athletes. Coaching adults is a whole different ballgame than coaching at the club,
    high school or college level. Competitive success, however, is still measured the same way - that
    1/100th of a second still spells the difference between 1st and 2nd place or 6th place and first
    alternate. One of the most important aspects to remember when coaching masters is that there's the
    mitigating circumstance of the relentless march of time to account for, as in Time is definitely NOT
    on our side. Improvement from one year to the next is A LOT more challenging to come by. If you were
    a good swimmer at the club, high school, or collegiate level, the chances of your improving from one
    decade to the next are vastly reduced. To be sure, it happens. It's the exception, not the rule.
    Swimming for health and happiness are the rule on masters teams.

    So what's the point of this long and winding post? How much importance you attach to drills might
    just depend on where you are on that continuum from 6 year old novice to 66 year old masters
    swimmer. Obviously when you're just learning to swim, you can't be expected to have great mechanics,
    timing, or rhythmn. You generally have little useful strength, endurance or speed and you've yet to
    develop any race strategy. You've got to learn technique, build endurance, and gain experience
    racing. Breaking down good stroke technique into bite-size pieces is the best way to start.

    The first step for most novices is to understand what the coach is trying to teach them about a
    balanced body, streamlined position, proper head tilt, an effective hand entry, how to anchor the
    hand-forearm, relaxing as they swim, etc., etc. There's a lot to digest. Then swimmers need to make
    those good stroke mechanics their habit - perfect practice, perfect practice, perfect practice.
    Then they need to keep those good stroke habits (first at relaxed tempos) even when they get tired.
    Then they need to maintain those good habits when they swim at faster and faster tempos where they
    begin to encounter even more resistance from the water and they start to struggle. Finally they
    need to maintain those good habits / mechanics over the duration of the race at the fastest
    possible tempo (for that given distance) under the pressure of head-to-head competition. That's not
    much to ask is it?

    <<In the Masters group I belong to, we don't do that much drilling. And when we do, the coach gives
    us a time interval which is pretty quick. So I see most people just swim regular to meet the
    interval. Completely defeats the purpose of drills, which should be slow, contemplative, etc.>>

    Here's my motto as a coach at every level (who wants to keep earning that paycheck and the trust of
    his swimmers): "First learn to swim, then train to race". That holds true from club to masters
    coaching. I think good stroke mechanics are fundamental to having success as a swimmer and using
    drills is how I teach the fundamentals. Training for endurance, strength and speed HAS to come AFTER
    you've given your athletes sound technique.

    Now . . . a swimmer's "talent" comes to bear on how much time and effort I'll invest in teaching
    them how to swim, meaning, help them master effective technique. The most talented swimmer I ever
    coached was a 10 year old girl who walked on my deck one day about 20 years ago and asked to join
    the team. She said she'd never swum on a team before and had never taken lessons. I thought, what
    the heck, jump in and show me how well you swim and I'll turn you over to our novice coach. She
    swam a 37 second 50 breaststroke. I was literally astonished. I had never seen that level of
    natural talent before. I wanted to coach/learn from her, not give her over to my novice coach. In a
    couple months time she was down to 33 seconds in practice - well under the state record and also
    well under the national reportable time standard. She hadn't even swum in a race yet. I couldn't
    wait. This is definitely a future Olympian I thought. How young and naive I was. One day she didn't
    show up for practice and then she was gone without a trace. I've seen extreme talent. I'm not sure
    I need to teach anyone that talented "how to swim". She wasn't just one in a hundred; she was one
    in a million.

    For me, as a coach with limited time and space, if I think a swimmer already has "good" technique, I
    start to train them, that is, give them fewer straight drill sets and more sets designed to build
    endurance. They don't have to have "great" technique at that point. I'll continue to tweak their
    technique as we build endurance. At some point I'll start to design sets (and dryland training
    sessions) so they'll make strength gains. Then I'll add speed to the equation so that strength
    becomes power. On and on and on. All the while tweaking their stroke mechanics to reflect their
    gains in other areas, not JUST endurance, strength, etc., but also height, weight, and flexibility.

    So how much importance do I attach to drills? Depends on the swimmer. Some swimmers need to drill
    the majority of their practice. Having them pound bad technique into a habit would be criminal. Some
    swimmers need to drill very little. I get paid the big bucks to make that determination one swimmer
    at a time. I don't think there's a formula for how much drilling to do or what drill to use. If a
    coach is insightful, alert, and is always working with his or her athletes, over time you get it
    right. And your swimmers improve. And they have success. And you collect another paycheck. And
    perhaps MOST importantly, you earn your athlete's trust so that when you ask them to step up their
    commitment, they'll give you their best, focused attention, and swim as relaxed as they can.

    Scott
     
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