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  • What is ONCORE®?
    ONCORE® is more than a training aid, it’s a skill acquisition tool that activates and strengthens your shoulder stabilisers and core muscles in the water. Through a wide range of drills, ONCORE® engages the entire kinetic chain from the catch of the stroke, through the shoulder, and across the torso to the opposite hip. This allows the user to easily activate and strengthen important muscle cross-connections – independently – required for fast and efficient swimming. It promotes an improved body position and correct muscle patterns in teaching the most ideal use of these important muscle groups in the water and specifically, in swimming.
  • How was ONCORE® developed?
    ONCORE® was developed through feel by former World Champion and World Record holder, Jade Edmistone, to achieve what no existing equipment could; connection with the water. Science was not part of the development process. It was trial and error based on feel and feel alone. However, since its inception, science has played an important role in explaining why ONCORE® is able to provide the results that other pieces of equipment fail to replicate. There are four key factors that contribute to ONCORE®’s ability to improve body position and awareness, core stability and strength, feel and hold of the water. These factors are the material, size and shape, ratio of surface area to thickness and ONCORE®'s 4 F's.
  • What are the key factors that make ONCORE® unique?
    There are four key factors that contribute to ONCORE®’s ability to improve body position and awareness, core stability and strength, feel and hold of the water. 1. Material: The type of foam is different to that used in kick boards and pool buoys. It has a lower density, is lighter and has a slight texture when it's wet. This results in neuroreceptor stimulation, heightening proprioception and muscle activation, giving direct feedback, and reinforcing neuromuscular patterns of the entire kinetic chain. 2. Shape and size: There are no hand moulds or straps*, which means you must use your muscles and control to do the drills successfully. It’s shaped to a single hand and used in isolation, meaning that each arm must work independent of the other. Therefore you cannot hide from any weaknesses and you’re able to specifically target any imbalances within the body. *BAND IT has been created to enhance the use of ONCORE® with some drills able to be taken to a higher level for the more advanced individuals. It is not intended to be used as a strap that artificially connects and holds the hand to ONCORE® 3. Ratio: ONCORE®’s ratio of surface area to thickness creates resistance, specific to the point of contact, engaging the catch and associated muscle connections in the entire kinetic chain. ONCORE® is smaller in surface area than kick board, however, it’s also thicker and the resultant ratio is key. The buoyant force it produces, uniquely challenging, without overloading the shoulder, when performing the drills correctly. 4. 4F’s: The drills done with ONCORE® force experiential learning. This method of learning has a significantly higher rate of transference with adaptation and acquisition of the skill and muscle action more likely to be achieved. With experience-based learning, you will see the 4 F’s in action: feeling, failing, figuring (it out) and fixing. The best example of this method of learning and the success it produces is seen through the early stages of development during the first year of life. When learning through this process in the water with ONCORE®, neuromuscular connections are made, strength and stability is formed, feel and hold improves, with efficiency and therefore increases speed.
  • How do I know what drills to use?
    Since its introduction to the swimming community in 2014, ONCORE's use continues to grow around the world. Its application in a number of settings, as well as the catalogue of drills, progressions and benefits being seen, is expanding at a rapid pace. From facilitating hundreds of Teacher and Coach Workshops, as well as Swimmer Clinics, Industry Conference Presentations both face-to-face and online, ONCORE Academy has been working hard to develop a structured Education Program. Bringing together the knowledge and experience in an easily accessible platform available world-wide, the ONCORE Education Program aims to equip all users with the need-to-know (and nice-to-know) information in order to get the best out of the product. ​ With three levels, the opportunity to take your knowledge and understanding to a higher level is now available from the comfort and convenience of your own home. Having the option to delve into the learnings and experience of founder, Jade Edmistone, will help to project your understanding to the next level and ensure you are utilising ONCORE to its full extent. Check out the courses available -
  • Why are there no finger moulds, hand guides or fixed straps*?
    ONCORE® is designed purposefully without these features to eliminate the ‘lazy factor’ that is commonly seen in kick boards. Instead, the individual must use their own body’s musculature to maintain their alignment in the water and this teaches them the ultimate and desired muscle patterns resulting in a more efficient and stable technique. In using ONCORE®, the individual must place their whole hand on the top surface, and this allows for every part of their natural paddle (their hand) to feel pressure. The hand is being used exactly how it should be from their catch and throughout their stroke, resulting in the correct muscle patterns being established and strengthened. *BAND IT has been created to enhance the use of ONCORE® with some drills able to be taken to a higher level for the more advanced individuals. It is not intended to be used as a strap that artificially connects and holds the hand to ONCORE®
  • What is skill acquisition and why do I need a tool such as ONCORE®?
    Swimming requires a high level of skill, particularly to be done with technical proficiency, efficiency and speed. Skill acquisition refers to the process through which individuals gain proficiency and competence in a particular skill or set of skills. This process typically involves several stages, including the initial learning phase, practice, refinement, and eventual mastery. ONCORE® has a direct correlation to enhancing this process in the water across all ages and levels of ability through each of the three phases of skill acquisition. Cognitive Phase: The initial stage involves the process of learning and understanding the fundamental components of a new skill. It sets the groundwork for the subsequent stages of skill acquisition. It involves acquiring the necessary intellectual understanding of the skill, creating mental representations, and beginning to develop a strategy for mastering the skill through further practice and refinement. Feedback, whether from instructors or personal observation, is crucial during the cognitive phase. Learners use feedback to identify errors, make adjustments, and refine their understanding of the skill. Associative Phase: The associative phase is the second stage in the process of skill acquisition. During this phase, individuals have moved beyond the initial cognitive stage and are actively engaged in refining their skills through practice. Repetitive practice contributes to the development of muscle memory, making the execution of the skill more automatic and requiring less conscious effort. Feedback continues to play a crucial role, but in the associative phase, individuals are better able to integrate and apply feedback in real-time. Corrections are made more quickly. Autonomous Phase: The third and final stage of skill acquisition, characterised by a high level of proficiency and automaticity in performing a skill. During this phase, individuals have developed a well-refined motor program, and the execution of the skill becomes almost automatic. Individuals can perform the skill with greater efficiency and consistency. Even in the autonomous phase, there is room for continuous learning and improvement. Individuals may explore advanced techniques or strategies to further enhance their performance; the ability to adapt to new challenges remain important. Overall, skill acquisition is a dynamic and iterative process that involves a combination of deep theoretical understanding, practical application, continual feedback, experiential learning and persistence to achieve mastery in a particular area and ONCORE® contributes significantly to this process.
  • I do core exercises on land – why do I need ONCORE®?
    ONCORE® Academy do not advocate to replace land core exercises – these are important for an individual’s development. ONCORE® complements this aspect of training by bringing the two together. Water and land are mediums that are worlds apart. You may be able to activate your core on land very well and yet unable to get those same results in the water when the stable anchor points (solid ground) are removed. ONCORE® brings those anchor points into the water to engage the same important muscle connections seen on land. With ONCORE®, individuals can learn to integrate the work done on land into their drills and stroke. They are then able to continue strengthening these swim specific muscle patterns in the pool.
  • I could do this with a kick board; what is the difference?
    There are several foam-based swim training aids on the market; pull buoys, kick boards, tech boards and various others. They all serve their purpose in the pool for an individual depending on the outcome desired by the coach (or individual). While these existing products can be utilised in performing ONCORE®’s drills and exercises, the resultant affect IS NOT the same. World Champion and World Record Holding breaststroker, Jade Edmistone, developed ONCORE® after 12 months of experimentation and testing – not just with herself but also with swimmers in her Swim School aged from 4 years. Jade found there was something to be gained from changing the size, shape, and material of these existing products and hence ONCORE® was developed. With a specific ratio of surface area to thickness, the two sizes of ONCORE® allow for all ages, abilities, and body shapes to feel the resultant effect of core activation and strengthen produced with its use. The resistance that ONCORE® provides to the individual’s natural paddle when performing the drills is a result of the size, shape, and ratio. Combined with the different material and independent nature of its use, these features are not seen in any existing product lines. ONCORE®’s volume and resultant buoyant force continually challenges, without overloading, the entire kinetic chain, and particularly the shoulder, when done correctly. The unique combination of a multitude of different features and factors sets ONCORE® apart; it is not a training aid, it’s a skill acquisition tool. To understand more and learn how the drills can be used in all four strokes across all levels of ability, check out our courses -
  • I’ll just use a junior/mini kick board – that will be the same, won’t it?
    To put it simply, no it won’t. A mini or junior kick board is not only smaller in surface area compared to adult boards, but they are also thinner. ONCORE® is designed with a specific ratio of surface area to thickness giving the resistance needed to activate the desired muscles at the point of contact. Its material is lower density, lighter and has a texture that results in neuroreceptor stimulation, heightening proprioception and muscle activation, giving direct feedback, and reinforcing neuromuscular patterns of the entire kinetic chain. Its shape follows the natural curves of the hand allowing for water to flow with ease when moving through it. Its surface is flat to enable the individual’s hand to press evenly in its entirety, focusing and teaching what an ideal ‘catch’ feels like. This position ensures the engagement of the most specific muscle patterns through the shoulder and core are recruited, resulting in a better connected and therefore more efficient and faster swimmer.
  • I use a kick board but teach my swimmers to hold the back (thumbs under) – will this be just as good?
    Each foam-based swim training aid serves its purpose depending on the desired outcomes and goals of the teacher/coach/athlete. If you want to use a kick board, ONCORE® Academy would agree that this holding position would be more beneficial when compared to the traditional, head up, position of kicking. It allows the head to be in the water and more aligned with the body. Even better would be to have both hands of the swimmer on top of the kick board in a similar fashion to the use of ONCORE®. What sets ONCORE® apart is that it has no straps*, no hand or finger moulds and requires no ‘grip’ or ‘holding’ patterns. This means that the individual uses their entire hand (their natural paddle) in pressing to mimic the catch of their stroke. The size, shape, material, and surface area to thickness ratio of ONCORE® then engages the desired muscle patterns through activation of the shoulder stabilisers, across the torso and core, through to the opposite hip. The ability to use ONCORE® with one hand, independent to the other, means these cross connections can be trained in isolation and together at the same time. The independent nature of the product allows for weaknesses to be seen from side to side and these can be addressed as required, making it a great training aid for shoulder injury prevention and rehabilitation. *BAND IT has been created to enhance the use of ONCORE® with some drills able to be taken to a higher level for the more advanced individuals. It is not intended to be used as a strap that artificially connects and holds the hand to ONCORE®
  • Why should I do floating drills when I have progressed far beyond learning to swim?
    We all know fast swimming happens on the surface - body position is key to increase propulsion and reduce drag forces - we need to be able to float. The factors that affect our ability to float, centre of gravity and centre of buoyancy, change throughout our development. At one year of age, our head is 25% of our overall height. Think about the age we teach floating before moving onto other skills. Further, at one year of age, the head and torso together are two thirds our overall height; of course, it will be easier to float with these proportions! By the time we reach our adult height, it’s changed to be half, and our limbs get longer, stronger, more muscles etc. This also changes our natural position, our center of gravity and center of buoyancy, and therefore will change what adjustments we need to make to keep on the surface both when floating and in the stroke itself. Like a baby giraffe learning to walk for the first time, growth spurts affect our position in the water. Different rates of bone growth and muscle development, body changes etc. will all affect our center of gravity and center of buoyancy at different rates and ages. That’s why continual focus on these redefined fundamental aquatic skills will ensure athletes remain connected through these growth phases and have control over their body and levers. This is what ONCORE® does best. To understand more and learn how the drills can be used in all four strokes across all levels of ability, check out our courses -
  • This looks too hard – is it just for older and advanced swimmers?
    While some of the drills and exercises look challenging, the different sizes of ONCORE® enable them to be used with all ages and abilities. One of the first skills we learn in the water is floating, followed by kicking. ONCORE® has a range of floating and kicking drills that teach core activation and strength. As soon as you teach someone to float, you can teach the use of the ‘core’. Introducing ONCORE® early into a swimmer’s journey will have young swimmers activating and strengthening their core from the moment they can float leading to stronger, more stable, better connected, more efficient and therefore faster swimmers. To understand more and learn how the drills can be used in all four strokes across all levels of ability, check out our courses -
  • How do I use it?
    ONCORE® is purposely made to eliminate laziness; there are no moulded hand guides or fixed straps*. This means that the individual must utilise their shoulder stabilisers, core strength and entire kinetic chain to hold their position in the water – making it a perfect training tool! *BAND IT has been created to enhance the use of ONCORE® with some drills able to be taken to a higher level for the more advanced individuals. It is not intended to be used as a strap that artificially connects and holds the hand to ONCORE® Your hand should be centred on ONCORE®, not extending over the edges. As you place force evenly through the hand, do not bend your elbow or wrist; continue until ONCORE® is submerged: 1. In its entirety; or 2. Until the back of your hand is on the surface of the water; or 3. Until your hand is approx. 2cm under the surface. The three levels above increase the amount of muscle activity required to hold the desired position. As your strength develops over time, work your way through the levels to ensure you continue to challenge your core. Key Points: 1. Do not hold ONCORE®. Instead, place your hand on it, centred and flat. 2. When applying pressure, keep ONCORE® parallel to the surface of the water. i.e. look for the bright coloured layers to be flat and in line with the surface. 3. During the drills, control ONCORE® by maintaining the pressure throughout, not allowing it to pop up or move around on or under the surface. 4. Apply flat pressure until you can feel your core and connections activate, to a maximum of complete submersion of your hand 2cm under the surface. 5. For more activation, double stack ONCORE® by placing one on top of the other, or increase the size (i.e., if using Junior, move to Standard size). To understand more and learn how the drills can be used in all four strokes across all levels of ability, check out our courses -
  • What size should I use?
    ONCORE® comes in two sizes, to cater for its different uses; Standard and Junior. Targeted at younger swimmers aged 7 and under, our Junior ONCORE® is shaped to fit smaller swimming hands. At 40mm thick, it is the perfect starting point for teaching core activation in a gentle yet significant way and easily integrated into the learn to swim environment. With an increase in size and thickness, Standard ONCORE® is the most versatile in its application and is suitable for most individuals aged 8 years and over. It is the perfect step for those that have mastered the Junior ONCORE®. Standard ONCORE® is purposefully designed for both males and females of varying levels, including, but not limited to, squad swimmers, recreational swimmers, triathletes, aqua classes, masters, and adult swimmers. Swimming is the art of engaging a large number of muscles and at the same time, relaxing others. Since its inception, we are seeing more and more use of the Junior ONCORE® in the higher levels of swimming (i.e. older, more advanced swimmers, including Olympians). This is in part due to the decrease in resistance that continually challenges the body’s ability to recruit the desired level of muscle activation. It fits nicely in the hand, and provides direct feedback to the finer movements of the stroke pattern. Technical refinement for an elite athlete is an ongoing process and Junior ONCORE® has a role to play in this space. The ability to stack ONCORE® in various combinations means that regardless of having advanced core strength and high level of body awareness, you’ll be challenged by ONCORE®’s drills.
  • How do I know if I am doing it right?
    ONCORE® is all about body position, alignment and control. To ensure the targeted muscle groups are working correctly make sure you do a body scan to check the following: - pressure on ONCORE® is with a flat hand and it is parallel to the water surface - wrist should be relatively straight though the movements and elbow is high with applied pressure ‘up and over’ (see previous question) - no ‘shrugging/hunching’ of the shoulders; we want a long neck with the shoulders ‘down and back’ - back is flat with no sway in the lumbar (lower) region or arching through the upper back - hips and legs are near the surface and not sinking too low or being held too high out of the water in the floating/balancing drills. If needed, make the drill easier or reduce the size of ONCORE® until appropriate control and strength is gained before moving to the next challenge.
  • It’s too easy, why can’t I feel anything?
    Once you have mastered the drills and exercises with your starting size ONCORE®, increase the difficulty as follows: 1. go up to the next size ONCORE® 2. stack two of your starting size ONCORE® together 3. stack one of the starting ONCORE® with one of the larger size ONCORE® 4. stack two of the larger size ONCORE® together You can also increase the pressure you place on ONCORE® by submerging it 1. in its entirety; or 2. until the back of your hand is on the surface of the water; or 3. until your hand is approximately 2cm under the surface. Another way to further challenge connection and control with ONCORE® is to do the drills over a longer distance, with more repetitions. For example, from 4 x 15m to 6 x 15m to 4 x 25m, etc. To understand more and learn how the drills can be used in all four strokes across all levels of ability, check out our courses -
  • What should you feel and/or see when using ONCORE®?
    As ONCORE® is submerged, you should feel the muscles in and around your shoulder engage and work to stabilise your position. You should also feel a connection from that shoulder, through your torso, core, and down to the opposite hip (cross-connection). Varying the use of single arm and double arm drills, as well as static and dynamic drills, will create connections through one kinetic chain, or both, and will challenge the ability to control your body in the water. This will result in a stronger, more connected body, and taking your workouts to the next level.
  • What should you NOT feel and/or see when using ONCORE®?
    If using ONCORE® causes any pain or discomfort that is beyond what would be expected when doing resistance training or engaging muscles potentially for the first time (for those new to the drills), stop immediately. Similar to doing any resistance training, particularly for the first time, the level of resistance and difficultly must be built slowly into the program. For example, when doing pushups you may start on your knees or on an incline, before you are able to perform it on the toes with good body alignment and control of movement. ONCORE® is no different; it brings resistance training, and therefore swim-specific muscle recruitment, into the water. Body alignment and control of movement is essential to recruit the correct muscles and build strength. Troubleshooting includes checking body alignment and posture for signs such as hunching/shrugging the shoulders (i.e. the shoulders coming up toward the ears, rather than keeping the shoulder blades ‘down and back’). Another tell-tale sign is rounding of the upper back, which can be a sign of ‘over muscling’ the action through the pectoralis muscles and front of shoulder as opposed to the posterior chain and stabilising muscles such as rotator cuff and rhomboids. If this is happening, bring it back a step with a smaller size of ONCORE®, reduce the distance or number of repetitions of the drill, until alignment and control can be maintained through the action. Lay the foundation first, then build the structure around this.
  • I've seen the drills, how do I know where to use them in my session/lesson?
    ONCORE® is an activation tool, so use of drills within a warm-up or warm-down is perfect, whether that's for training or competition. Not all drills suit everyone, so experimenting with what works for you is the first step and then building up the use, starting small and progressing as you gain strength is best. For an introduction to the use of ONCORE® drills, check out our free course ONCORE® 101 or watch the videos to spark your imagination. To understand more and learn how the drills can be used in all four strokes across all levels of ability, check out our other courses - For more in depth explanation on how to integrate ONCORE®, contact us to organise a Swimmer Clinic or Teacher Workshop with Jade, or a 1-1 Mentoring session to delve into specific and bespoke content.
  • What do you mean by a 'high elbow'?
    When swimming, you want your elbow to be ‘high’. That doesn’t mean it has to be bent at a certain angle, but it needs to be higher than the wrist and hand throughout the stroke. When using ONCORE® and applying pressure, you want to try and get your elbow ‘up and over’ when submerging it.
  • What is a ‘natural paddle’?
    The natural paddle is the surface used by the individual to feel and hold the water. The entire paddle extends from the fingertips to the elbow, including the forearm.
  • What is the ‘catch’?
    The catch is the point in each stroke where feel and hold of the water results in the creation of propulsion.
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