|by: Dr Marion Alexander, PhD, Dave Hill, Yumeng Li, BKin, Julie Hayward, B Kin|
The bicycle slide is a rapid sideways movement of a water polo player, in which she moves to the side of her current position while leading with her feet. The bicycle slide is primarily a key defensive skill in water polo when playing a zone in a gap between two players. It is used when the player has to move rapidly sideways to cover a shooter or a pass to a shooter, while still retaining visual contact with the ball. This technique allows the defender to move feet first toward the space, in order to provide defensive coverage. The defender executing the slide is horizontal on her side in the water with her head toward her primary defensive focus. In the attached photo (Figure 1), the defender is wearing a white cap and has her arm pointing upward. The center forward is in front of the net with the American (behind with white cap) holding on to her. The American defender with her arm up would use the bicycle slide to cover the area between the center forward and the player with the ball, before rising over her feet to present the blocking arm. The defender in this situation would slide toward the person she is defending with her feet leading the movement, which is a unique method of covering this distance.
Read the whole article here: The Bicycle Slide in Water Polo: A Description
This is fresh off the press, the most recent research in Water Polo. It focuses on the biomechanics of a specific movement in the water which really has no universally accepted name. The researchers called it the bicycle slide after viewing the video footage (see the article for the video and you will see why).
This research is coming out of Winnipeg, Canada. The athlete in the video is a member of the Canadian National Team program.
It definitely re-inforces the importance of good flexibiliy in the hips to be able to produce an efficient technique that is powerful and useful.
As a coach, understanding a skill at a deep level will give you more options when teaching said skill. So, although this article may be quite technical if you are not a biomechinist, read it, study it, read it some more and give the information time sink in. There are also some good references in the article that will further your knowledge.
Enjoy and Be Well,
Michael Reid, B.HE. CSCS, RKC