2nd Stage of a Powerful Start


Jack-in-the-Box -- The first movements we look for after the Starter's signal.

The hands lead the way.  The hands should be coming off the block and leading the way up in front at this point, up-and-out, at the instant the start signal sounds.

The arms come up as quickly as possible, and the legs follow the momentum created by the arms. The head and eyes are looking up, pointing the way up towards the backstroke flags with the arms out front leading the way as though they were getting ready to grab the flags.

Use the legs to jump up!  Eliminate the “cosmetic movement” of the knees falling down. Many swimmers have a bad habit of letting their knees descend towards the water before jumping.  Don't allow the knees to become horizontal with the ankles.  Use the legs to jump up right away.  If the knees are horizontal with the ankles before jumping from the starting platform there can be no height from the thrust of the legs.

Look for contradictions in movements.  Swimmers will often move their arms up right away but will also have the lower portion of their legs going down.  Look to see if there is a foot that is taking a step back. Sometimes we see toes that are being raised, indicating that the weight is shifting back onto the heel of the foot.

Look out for the Buzz Lightyear Syndrome ("Falling with style").  Many swimmers are not jumping at this point but are just falling forward towards the water.  They have learned this nasty habit of leaning forward and letting their knees fall down level with their ankles before jumping.  The eyes should be looking up at the goal and not down at the water.


"Buzz Lightyear Syndrome"
 Another PowerStarts(R) Secret

We suggest that you imagine that you can grab the backstroke flags that are above you as you leap up and stretch out with your hands as though you could grab the flags.

Look for poor investments in positioning movements.  Raising the head and shoulders while the body is moving forward instead of up is wasted.  The investment in time to raise the head and shoulders could be better spent by following the upward lead of the arms.