"If they're secrets, why are you telling everybody?"

Because, they're not really secrets.  Every thing we do at PowerStarts is about applying the Laws of Physics and Biomechanics to the swim start.  But most swimmers aren't physicists or biomechanists, and without that background, not many people are aware of most of the the subtleties.

Our studies have shown that most swimmers and coaches do emphasize and utilize some of these Secrets, but not all of them.  There is just too much to see in that three-second interval between the gun and the entry.  And the coach has to know what he or she is looking for.  Once each element is identified and isolated, it can be refined and optimized.

Be better than a World Class swimmer!

Watch a hundred different swimmers, even at the top levels of competition, and you're likely to see eighty-nine different start techniques.  Some techniques are better than others, but almost no one has a "perfect" start.

Add all 50 Secrets together, master the techniques, and you'll have a start better than most World Class Swimmers!!

 

 PowerStarts Secret #1 

Stage 1 of a Powerful Start

Positioning of the Head

 

One of the secrets to a powerful racing start is to have a straight back, head already up and in-line with the spine, with the eyes looking up at the goal: the backstroke flags.

 

 PowerStarts Secret #2 

Stage 1 of a Powerful Start

Arm Swing

 

Place the hands between the feet before the start while on the starting platform. This will prevent you from the tendency to swing the arms back. The hands should lead the arms in an accelerated movement up-and-out at the start signal.

 

 PowerStarts Secret #3 

Photo Clinic Stage 2

 

A quick squatting down motion while the arms are accelerating up causes the elastic muscles in the legs to stretch, like a rubber band, storing up potential energy..

 

 PowerStarts Secret #4 

PowerStart(R) from the Track Start position?

Stage 3 of a Powerful Start

 

To get a powerful start with more momentum, make the investment in achieving height with a double leg grab start.  Forget about the track-start; it just helps you get to the water as quickly as possible (i.e. too soon). 

 

 PowerStarts Secret #5 

Stage 1 of a Powerful Start

Photo Clinic Stage 3

Push the Energy, Pull the Body

 

Position your fingers relaxed and resting flat against the front of the starting block platform.  Grabbing the block is discouraged, because there is too much tendency to want to pull down with the arms, which hinders the swimmer from making the upward movement necessary for height.

 

 PowerStarts Secret #6 

Stage 2 of a Powerful Start

The Track Start is Missing the "Power"

 

To be the first to fifteen meters/yards, then make the investment in popping-up with the legs, like a jack-in-the-box.  Grabbing and pulling hinders the pop-up action and limits the height and distance of the dive.

 

 PowerStarts Secret #7 

Gravitational Potential Energy

The Power Comes From Gravity

 

The power of the start comes from gravity.  Gravity and a proper launch will generate velocity in the start of as much as four to six meters per second, two-to-four times faster than the velocity while in the water.  So why would you be in such a hurry to get into the water?

 

 PowerStarts Secret #8 

Arm Swing

The Power Comes From Gravity

Roller Coaster Dynamics

Push the Energy, Pull the Body

Gravitational Potential Energy

 

There are no real advantages to any movements that try to add to the momentum while on the starting platform compared to the power and momentum from gravity.  So make your investment in actions that will add to gaining height, distance and a streamlined entry angle.  Any supposed " improvements" in momentum from actions on the starting platform, such as grabbing and pulling forward, or swinging the arms, or taking a step-start are insignificant compared to the power that comes from gravity. 

 

 PowerStarts Secret #9 

Positioning of the Head

Photo Clinic Stage 2

Photo Clinic Stage 3

Push the Energy, Pull the Body

Photo Clinic Stage 9

Raising your head while in the set position, such that you can see the backstroke flags immediately above, forces your legs, hips and back are in the optimum position.  The elastic muscles will be stretched like a rubber band ready for launch. Then at the signal to "go", dip your hips down into a slightly deeper squat that will really stretch those elastic muscles as the arms are accelerating up to the streamline position.  This should all happen in a window of 200ms to 350ms (.20-.35 s).

 

 PowerStarts Secret #10 

Positioning of the Head

 

It's a good idea to practice at least three times immediately before each start, getting into the starting stance and bringing the arms up to the streamline position while leaping up.  It may also psyche-out the competitor next to you, seeing that you are taking your start so seriously.  But the real reason is the advantage of getting your muscles stretched and ready to perform by programming the muscle memory response that you expect.