What a lovely Christmas present to give or receive.
Next workshop will be 18 Feb 2018 in Petersfield, Hampshire.
What a lovely Christmas present to give or receive.
From time to time clients come to me having looked at videos online and tried to teach themselves to swim "TI Style". I have to remind them that good swimming is good swimming and TI coaches are not trying to teach people to swim "differently". Nor we should not obsess with emulating videos of others we have seen swimming. We are all dfferent shapes and sizes.
Too steep an angle of entry or too early an entry for example can lead to either to deep and arm or a "ski jump" trajectory that can lead to dropping the elbow under the water. A nice natural relaxed arm recovery with mail slot entry facilitating the whole arm sliding into the water through the same whole is fine. That exact point of entry will be determined by your own biomechanics, but should be a straight line to the final hand position under the water at full extension. Nothing forced, everything relaxed and natural.
The two things that made the most immediate difference to how I felt in the water when I started with TI, were the relaxed neutral head and spearing the arms deeper to help get my hips up and achieve better body balance in the water - it was a epiphany to me..
Sometimes with TI, we encourage swimmers 'swing the pendulum' a bit too far to start with when making changeswhich is one of the causes of some people misunderstanding TI methodology - context is everything.
People who struggle with patient streamlined leading arms between the strokes I might encourage to be a little too patient to start with while learning to not think about simply "pulling" through the water and focus more on being streamlined.
The arm depth too is something some TI swimmers can 'overcook' a bit. Hand depth level with or just below the depth of the chest should be enough to give good neutral balance in the water and get the hips up if everything is nice and relaxed. Spearing too deep can make breathing a bit tricky sometimes and create a little too much drag.
After 18 months of fiddling with uncomfortable right-sided breathing, I went back to basics for a couple of months and today I was definitely very nearly just as comfortable breathing to the right as breathing to the left.
What's been good about rebuilding right sided breathing from scratch is that it's really helped me tune in to my clients who have various issues breathing. This was harder to do when I breathed mainly to my natural side as I did not have to think about it.
So ... my notes to myself for good breathing on the less natural side:
Head relaxed before, during an after the breath.
Focus on letting the water support the head when breathing and the head is on its side.
Arm depth: not too deep, not too shallow. Too deep pulls head down. Too shallow makes hips drop.
Arms parallel, don't let left arm be pulled across.
Don't think too hard or you end up breath holding.
The next session will be 23 July 2017. Numbers limited to three swimmers per lane to ensure the optimum possible swimming experience and give you the space to think about your stroke and not be worrying about keeping up with the swimmer in front, or ahead of the swimmer behind. You work at your own pace with liked-minded swimmers. These sessions are all about helpng you become a better swimmer.
Plese feel free to bring choclate cake if you wish!
It's always interesting to watch people train and go through their drills; lots of which are familiar to me from my days as masters club swimmer, however some of the drills do puzzle me a bit - it seems like they are just something else to do.
Watching one particular swimmer was interesting as she alternated between 'catchup' and her normal stroke. I quite like the catchup drill when it is purely used as a patient leading arm reminder, (just so long as we don't touch hands in the front of the head, which can lead to encouraging the arms to cross over). Anyhow when she was swimming catchup she was dropping 4 strokes in the 33m pool and was faster than her normal swim stroke (I timed her). But after each catchup lap, she reverted to her leading arm pulling back almost as soon as it reached full extension. So why did she not take on board anything from her catchup sets and lengthen her stroke for more speed? It's mystifying.
If we are not integrating elements from drills and focal points into our stroke to improve technically, then there's no point in doing them.
... unless you are swimming flat with no weight shift that is. But if you catch and weight shift with good timing, there is plenty of propulsion to drive you forwards whilst the other arm recovers, with no deceleration or "dead spot". Swim with no glide and you are efectively swimming enhanced doggy paddle, which even dogs don't do ...
Just saying ....
Last minute preparation is an inadvisable way to go about preparing for a 5K swim.
However as I have not really been doing any continuous swims, I thought I’d have to do something. So with the 5k swim on Sunday, my preparation this week has been:
Monday lunchtime: 2k focus on relaxed natural breathing.
Tuesday morning: 2.5k focus relaxed breathing and holding the core.
Tuesday lunchtime: 1k (to top it up).
Wednesday morning: 1.5k holding hips and core.
Friday morning 2.5k super easy slow swim; easy breathing, holding my hips and straight arms. (I could easily have carried on as was sharing Petersfield Open Air Pool with just one other swimmer).
Saturday: will be a rest day
Sunday Evening: will be 5k. It will be interesting to see if the preparation has worked.
Total Immersion talks a lot about keeping a still, neutral head and keeping the core engaged; two very simple sounding things to do that are, in practice, surprisingly difficult.
For our "ship" to be stable, the bow needs to be travelling straight and not wobbling about and the hull needs to be rigid.
I have found both concepts difficult over the years and although I think my head position is generally not too bad, I definitely have struggled with holding my hips and specially the "hip nudge forward" focal point.
But just recently, on observing my SPL up to 48/49 in 50m pool I have managed to start "holding" my hips better and immediately have felt much easier through the water although it has required some concentration.
Visualising a rail coming through the torso (middle of nipple width) all the way through my hips and down my legs on either side has been very helpful. I think in the past I did not spend much time thinking about what was going on beneath the chest even through I have a competent two beat kick.
I definitely think this has helped me improve a step further and entering the Coniston swim in September has really helped focus my mind back on good efficient technique throughout the whole body.
Goals are good.
I have bored quite a few people with the fact that I've been struggling with my right sided breathing for some time.
Whether breathing every two, or as part of a bilateral pattern, breathing to the right never feels comfortable - I lose balance and momentum, it disrupts my two beat kick timing and it feels awkward even though my head actually remains lower than when I breathe to the left.
I have also noticed that my actual breath management is not as good and I am a bit lazy in not clearing the airwaves properly when breathing right ... the brain is a funny thing
Yesterday I took myself back to basics and went through the Total Immersion breathing pattern: 'Nod' ... 'Split Goggles' ... then combining these with a breath every six strokes
My right-sided breathing improved instantaneously with one goggle remaining under the water and the head movement being better. Not perfect but much much better.
I am somewhat embarrassed after all this time that I did not apply these great drills to my own swimming earlier.
I am a certified level 3.0 Total Immersion Swim Coach.