Twenty-first class for new ringer Carroll. She continues to work on strengthening good habits in order to successfully combine both strokes. At the moment these seem to be the challenges that are preventing it:
- She needs to quickly close all ten fingers around the tail after the handstroke release: the left hand fingers immediately on release and the right hand fingers as soon as possible at the bottom of the stroke. This is the main challenge getting in the way, as fumbling at this point in the stroke throws off the following backstroke. Is it a strength issue? Possibly. For next time: practice closing all ten fingers around a rolled towel for resistance, snapping them closed as quickly as possible, over and over.
- She often rushes lifting her hands to the catch. This swings the bight of the rope around and makes it and the sally swing and curl as they rise.
- Because she is rushing to the catch, she often bumps the sally out away from herself.
- By this point she is flustered, the rope is jerking about rather than flowing vertically, and her timing is rushed as she goes for the pickup, compounding all the problems for the next pull.
Next time we will focus on a smooth full-pull motion; the longer perspective may help smooth out some of these problems.
Fourteenth class for new ringer Nancy. She is ringing both strokes together and does so pretty reliably. She is able to get herself out of trouble, which is good, but because she is so good at getting herself out of trouble she has not felt the need to develop her technique well enough to prevent the trouble happening in the first place. Her backstroke is good and her handstroke is pretty good, but her handstroke followthrough routinely causes all sorts of problems, from rope countrol on up to loops of rope forming and sometimes wrapping around one hand or the other.
- Rotate the left wrist, whether directly or by rotating the left forearm, so the rope coming out of the left hand is pointing down. At present the left wrist usually does no rotation and the rope points out horizontally.
- Keep the right hand on the left on the way down from the release to the pickup. At present, it floats above and off to the right, and she has to devote attention each time to getting it on the rope and making the pickup. She’ll need that attention for other things soon, so she needs to fix her techique now so it doesn’t require attention any more.
Her assignment is to think about keeping right on left, bringing both hands down together, and using her right hand if necessary to make her left wrist flip at the bottom.
Twenty-first class for new ringer Barbara. Barbara is ringing both strokes together and doing it well. She rang the 2 today because the lighter bell requires her to be more sensitive to feedback in the rope; the feedback is still there, it is just fainter. She is doing much better at not overpulling, and that was not an issue today. Today she was able to set three times in a row. She was setting at backstroke quite frequently, more than at handstroke, which was evidence that she is putting too much oomph into the handstroke. She needs to remember that the release is more important than the oomph for the handstroke; a late release resists any extra oomph added by pulling longer.
She raised the 4.
Focus next time is on solidifying all her good habits.
Twentieth class for new ringer Eoin. He is ringing well but has the same challenge that Nancy does: he is so good at getting out of trouble that he hasn’t been motivated to fix the root problems. His primary problem is also the same as Nancy’s, namely he does not follow through properly at the bottom of the handstroke. (It also gets in the way of developing his ringing muscles in his sides and upper back, and consequently when he attempts to raise he can’t keep the rope under control and give it enough oomph.)
This bad habit is triggered perhaps by the way he rotates his wrists during the pull: no rotation is necessary to ring, but if a rotation occurs it should be outward as that engages the correct muscles in the upper arms and upper back and helps the shoulder blades pull together. Eoin rotates his wrists inward, possibly to compensate for his left wrist not being strong enough to keep the line through his hand vertical, and so his wrist is bent the wrong way when it is time for the followthrough. His wrist flip, if it occurred, would have to first undo that bend before flipping.
The bad habit is reinforced by his habit of bringing his right hand over the centerline and making the pickup on the left side of his body.
Rob notes that some good ringers pick up after crossing over, so clearly that part of the motion can work, but the quickest path to solving Eoin’s related problems is going to be stopping the backward wrist rotation and undoing the right hand crossover.
Eoin raised the 4 to the first coil and lowered it back down. His motion is awkward and isn’t working very well, but will improve.