I see many coaches making a fatal mistake when they are correcting figures. It comes back to the age old question of whether the chicken came first or was it the egg? In synchro, the chicken or the egg question seems to be, do you correct the body position first or do you correct the scull/arms?
The reason I use the word seems is because I think it’s a no-brainer. You should correct the body position first. WHY? Well, if the body is out of alignment and you fix the arms, then you still need to fix the body position and then most likely fix the arms again. Your intention should be to fix the body position first. It just makes biomechanical sense.
Take a look at this vertical half twist followed by a descent.
This swimmer starts off the twist pretty good, but then after she passes the halfway mark of the twist you notice that her left elbow is way behind her body and her left shoulder is behind her hips. This error the swimmer makes leads to her vertical line being forward with the feet and back with the body at the end of the twist. If the arms only are corrected then it is possible that her elbow comes in line with or even in front of the body which would be correct. However, her body could still be out of line.
I suggest telling the swimmer to keep the left shoulder moving forward from the halfway point to the end end of the vertical. At the same time they can think about pulling the left elbow forward so that the elbow would make a rainbow if you traced a line of the path the elbow follows for the half twist. Ultimately though it is the shoulders leading to the execution errors. Along with moving the left should forward, the right shoulder needs to move less. This swimmers right shoulder is coming back into line with the left shoulder instead of the there being even movement on both the left and right side of the body.
Next let’s take a look at a catalina rotation.
I added this video because the sculling first camp may have a bit of an argument. This swimmer has the same problem with the shoulders as the vertical twister. She needs to pivot evenly on the line. In this instance she needs to have the left shoulder twist back to the line. For this transition you may be able to get the athlete to fix the body by telling her to bring her left hand to the right butt cheek as she starts the rotation. So in this example, using the hands may fix the body. I would argue that ultimately you are trying to fix the body and the way you have found to fix it is by having the swimmer move her hand into a position that forces her left side back.
My coaching advice and that of many others is fix the body position first then move onto the scull.
If you want to watch the videos slower left click on the sprocket looking icon, it should say settings. From there you can make the video slower.