When we learn to Spey cast, the lift is usually an early lesson.
We are all taught (except Knut Systrand) to start our cast with a lift, with the rod tip at or near the surface of the water. (Knut is spectacularly different, ending his setup cast with the rod at about his sweep height and starting from there.)
Here was a problem with my casting I only recently recognized: I finish my distance cast with my bottom hand over on the top had side. This is proper technique for distance -- or at least everyone in the finals did it. This is true for my set up cast as well. (Not sure if that is best, but....) Problem is that The nicest transition from nice slow lift to either loop of the Snake or Sweep of the single spey is done with the rod held more or less across the body, with the bottom hand over on the bottom hand side and the top hand over on the top hand side, bending only at the elbows, slooooollly. Why was it that I was so slow to pick up that I had to MOVE my bottom hand over to the bottom hand side to get to this better position. I was doing my lift well when being coached on the lift and finishing my forward stroke well. I do not like my answer to: "How dumb can I be?"
The lift for distance casting is not really comparable to a trap shooter's shotgun lift, with the muzzle pointing to the target, but rather the rod is pointing at the dangle (set up cast). For the single spey the body moves to face the target early in the sweep. For the snake most started the lift already facing the target.
Whatever is done, all must be Slow, smooth, slack free.
Next time: Nemeses - Trunking, hooking, creep and overpowering. (No, they are not just for beginners.)
"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope." John Buchan