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haschu33
11-24-2010, 08:05 AM
I swam in a relatively nice 15m indoor hotel pool this morning. I saw Shinji in his video gliding in Superman Glide for something that looked like 13m or more according to the markers on the lane divider. I was wondering how he could glide for such a long distance and tried to match that. So I did SGs for about 20 minutes. I didn't make 13 m but I made more than 10 meters, maybe even 12m, so it was not too bad.

After that I did a few laps of fullstroke breathing to my left side, which is my bad breathing side. I am deeper in the water on my left side and always lift my head when breathing. I could never figure out why I am deeper on my left side. I tried to adjust my right spearing arm and other things, but I found nothing that seemed to work. Now surprise: when I was breathing to the left this morning after that period of SG my head was noticably higher in the water and I only had to turn it and my mouth was clear of water. Quite amazing!
I have no clue why this happened. Any idea anyone?

I think it is quite amazing how much benefit one can gain from those very 'basic' drills like SG and core balance. I can only encourage everybody to use those drills intensively. They make everything else so much easier.


Hang on in there...

westyswoods
11-24-2010, 08:51 AM
Haschu33,

Not a clue, but I find the same thing being identical to yours (left side) breathing and wanting to lift to get air. If I don't it seems my timing and or something is off and I take in water. Last night while working on my left side recovery and breathing one of my focal points was to really extend and streamling with the rotation and breathing. A little better but honestly no answer.

Be Well and Swim Silent
Westy

terry
11-24-2010, 09:03 AM
Haschu
I'm not at all surprised to hear that extending your practice of SG far beyond what most people would consider resulted in finding the solution to a long-term puzzle related to breathing.


Once you've practiced TI for several years, most of your Kaizen - continuing improvement - opportunities will be somewhat subtle. They don't cause undue fatigue. They don't stop you from swimming as far as you like. On the whole you feel pretty good when swimming - perhaps even experience Flow States at times.

Yet - because you have the habit of paying attention, of seeking small flaws you can improve - these things can't escape your notice. Your 'symptom' --feeling a bit lower in the water, and that you lift your head slightly when breathing to the left -- is clearly balance-related. But it's difficult to correct because (quoting Sting) every breath you take reinforces the error.

If you back away from the issue a bit, you realize (1) the 'sinking feeling' results from lifting your head; (2) it probably also means that your right hand goes into 'bracing mode' rather than extending-and-catching; and (3) all of this happens because you don't feel as well supported as you roll to your left.

To improve it, you need to improve your sense of support. Nothing deepens your sense of support-and-security like SG. As well, no drill is quite as good at letting you deepen the neural circuit by which you really, really, really release your head.

Not so hard when looking down. It takes considerable focus - and a measure of trust - to keep really, really, really releasing your head as you roll to breathe.

One way to do so is repeat SG until you feel yourself really, really, really releasing your head while gliding. Then add some strokes to ensure you continue to really, really, really release your head while stroking. And finally take a few breaths to evaluate whether you're still really, really, really releasing your head while breathing. What I look for when doing this is a sense that my head feels supported by a cushion as I roll to breathe.

Because I've swum millions of strokes, getting that new sensation could take many repeats. Therefore 20 or more minutes of something like this could be a good investment of time.
4 x SG
4 x SG + 5 strokes
4 x SG + 2-3 breaths
4 x SG
4 x SG + 5 strokes
4 x SG + 3-5 breaths
4 x SG
4 x SG + 5 strokes
4 x SG + 4-6 breaths

This kind of incremental practice -- where you choose to end a repeat somewhere short of the far wall -- is a conceptual leap for many people (though perfect for a short pool) but is really essential for the subtler changes you're trying to make. That's because your focus needs to be really, really, really acute.

westyswoods
11-24-2010, 09:13 AM
Terry,

Your comments to Haschu are very much applicable in my case, as I have always had left side balance problems. Makes sense to me and I will try this series in about two hours. I have recognized that my right hand collapses and that was my point in the previous point to focus on extension and lead elbow recovery with some success. My isn't it a long journey? Thanks for the post very clear to me.

Have A Happy Thanksgiving say Hello to Shane and Betsy if you see them.

Be Well and Swim Silent
Westy

Lawrence
11-24-2010, 09:23 AM
At the risk of offering a solution that sounds too simple to be credible, I improved my weaker-side breathing instantly and significantly by making a conscious attempt to ensure that I spear as far forwards when breathing to my weak side as I do when breathing to my strong side.

westyswoods
11-24-2010, 09:39 AM
Lawrence,
Thanks and simple is good for me. That is what I am working on and will let you know.

Be Well and Swim Silent
Westy

haschu33
11-24-2010, 09:40 AM
Thanks Terry, I will try that sequence.

It must be 5 o'clock in the morning in New York, still up or early bird? If you are still in Asia it is early evening, I think...

Anyway. My motivation for doing these SGs was actually to find out what is it exactly, in the real very fine points, that makes me glide farther, where I have to relax more, what do I have to do and what do I have to not do to glide better. The sensations when I did those SGs for a longer period of time where getting subtler and subtler. I expected it to get boring after a short while but in fact it got more and more exciting and I was looking forward to the next SG even more.

Your analysis is quite on, of course:

Haschu
... Your 'symptom' --feeling a bit lower in the water, and that you lift your head slightly when breathing to the left -- is clearly balance-related. But it's difficult to correct because (quoting Sting) every breath you take reinforces the error.

If you back away from the issue a bit, you realize (1) the 'sinking feeling' results from lifting your head; (2) it probably also means that your right hand goes into 'bracing mode' rather than extending-and-catching; and (3) all of this happens because you don't feel as well supported as you roll to your left.


Nevertheless, to my feeling, I am already low in the water before I start the breathing. I notice that in skating position: when my left shoulder is down and I turn my head 90 degrees to the right the upper goggle is half way out of the water. When the right shoulder is down in skating and I turn my head to the left I find my head being completely under water and I look along the surface of the water from below. Ad even in skating position I couldn't figure out what to do to change that.
So maybe it changes now. Wondering if the change will be permanent...

Westys: welcome in the club!

Lawrence: Thanks, yes I tried that. I couldn't make it to change my breathing.

Lawrence
11-24-2010, 09:58 AM
Haschu, I'm surprised it didn't help your breathing, unless of course you were lifting your head to breathe before and continue to do so. The virtue of spearing fully forwards (and I mean fully) is that the body roll that results suffices to bring the mouth to air. That's how I 'learned' to stop lifting my head.

haschu33
11-24-2010, 10:11 AM
Lawrence, my experience is that I lift my head because the head is just a little too low and turning it doesn't bring air easily. I try not to lift it but usually get a lot of water instead of air ( I really do hate that). (I think) I keep my spearing arms quite much extended while breathing but you never know - these things are really getting subtle.

I will also put some focus on the extension of the arm next time...

Lawrence
11-24-2010, 11:19 AM
Haschu, if you have a recent video to post that may help decide whether you're spearing fully. Full spearing results in body roll, which I think many instinctively resist with the result that they don't spear sufficiently for breathing to become easy.

Mike from NS
11-24-2010, 12:26 PM
As Lawrence has said, I've found the similar thing. By really focusing on keeping my left arm stretched out ... and keeping it there when breathing to my right side ~~ the breath is easier and more consistent. Times when I get sloppy ... all too often by the way, and the breathing is more of sucking water, I realize I have done as Terry mentioned... I have brought the left arm back too soon in searching or bracing for support. (Breathing to the left is OK; but then, I seem to have no trouble keeping the right arm out-stretched.) So balance is also a problem for me still. SG has helped me greatly but there is still a path to be traveled. Recently I noticed (while with fins) when really concentrating on being as stretched as possible that my feet were at the surface as my "flutter kicking" feet slapped the surface. However without the fins my poor balance brings the feet much lower.
Practice... practice and more practice with Superman Glide, like the truth, will set us free !!!
Mike

Lawrence
11-24-2010, 01:01 PM
Mike, my point wasn't merely that the lead arm should remain patiently extended. That isn't enough. It needs to extend as far as possible. This is impossible to do without body rotation and the lead arm shoulder moving forwards relative to the other shoulder. I have almost never seen a non-TI swimmer do this, save elite competitive swimmers, which suggests it requires deliberate thought (at least at first).

westyswoods
11-24-2010, 01:02 PM
Just got back from morning swim with sole focus on left side breathing and balance. No great revelations although I may have found one area which is causing the problem. When spearing with right hand even though I really focus on maximum extension, the right arm and hand may be way off track to the outside. Just happened to catch it a couple of times and is most likely occurring much more.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy

mjm
11-24-2010, 01:23 PM
Haschu: Lawrence and others make a good point about spearing forward. Sometimes when rotating to breathe to the left, the spearing right arm DRIFTS to the left instead of extending straight out from the shoulder. That causes you to sink. So you raise your head and push your hand down on the water to breathe.

You might try an exercise from good old "Triathlon Swimming Made Easy": practice switches on dry land--just don't stack the shoulders. Dry land switches stretch out the shoulder, test your balance, and reveal areas where you're not using your core to achieve that balance. For example, I was tensing my thigh muscles to switch from my left side to right side. In the water that caused my legs to sink. --mjm

Mike from NS
11-24-2010, 01:31 PM
Mike, my point wasn't merely that the lead arm should remain patiently extended. That isn't enough. It needs to extend as far as possible. This is impossible to do without body rotation and the lead arm shoulder moving forwards relative to the other shoulder....

Yes Lawrence, I understand that. A friend pointed out a drill this summer he uses which "forces" some added extension through some shoulder extension or reaching which aids body rotation. In my present state "along the journey" focusing on keeping the arm patiently stretched helps somewhat...... so I can see how even more focus and extension as you mentioned will help even more. Actually, one day recently I must have been more focused than usual and this type of extension helped. Each stroke was a good stretch. It was one of my better days. Thanks,

Mike

splashingpat
11-24-2010, 02:07 PM
At the risk of offering a solution that sounds too simple to be credible,

I improved my weaker-side breathing instantly and significantly
by making a conscious attempt to ensure that I spear as far forwards
when breathing to my weak side as I do when breathing to my strong side.

****************edit it one minute***

Take the risk of offering a solution that sounds simple! sometime it is!
another ten top tip and It comes from Lawrence himself!
and this is the one listed first....now I "see"


why it means so much to him....It works best when the student explains it!


Make sure your doing the same on each side!
AsymmetricS is it this or not?
great ten top tip or one liner check
I usually take three just for fun or rhythm

Happy Thanksgiving and being
Thankful for all those that offer help here!
smilN at ya's ;) from my belly button!

AWP
11-25-2010, 02:00 PM
Mike, my point wasn't merely that the lead arm should remain patiently extended. That isn't enough. It needs to extend as far as possible. This is impossible to do without body rotation and the lead arm shoulder moving forwards relative to the other shoulder.





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjaA0JhMZsM



This video illustrates perhaps what Lawrence points out.

Also, if you watch 'frame by frame' you'll notice AP is in no hurry to turn his head for air. I feel some may misinterpret "follow your shoulder" to air and instead follow the catch, maybe turning 'too' soon hastening the rotation. (Notice where AP's catch is in relation to when he rotates to air. This 'facilitates' a full extension and continued balance)

A good swim drill would incorporate the use of fist gloves or even just a closed fist. This will also ensure you focus on the more critical aspect in balance because it is essential in making the practice with FGs successful.

As you 'spear' and extend your closed fist forward you'll need to be patient for just a nano-second more before considering air letting the rotation truly take you to air. This will take some practice (but what doesn't) but will benefit greatly. Again, balance is critical!

Lawrence
11-25-2010, 02:10 PM
When swimming I often keep in mind the underwater (looking up) footage of Grant Hackett on youtube, which shows very clearly how to reaches to maximal extension when he spears, and the shoulder rotation that results.

Mike from NS
11-26-2010, 04:49 PM
Mike, my point wasn't merely that the lead arm should remain patiently extended. That isn't enough. It needs to extend as far as possible. This is impossible to do without body rotation and the lead arm shoulder moving forwards relative to the other shoulder. I have almost never seen a non-TI swimmer do this, save elite competitive swimmers, which suggests it requires deliberate thought (at least at first).

Lawrence I just returned from one of my most positive results swims ever and wanted to thank you for your comments quoted above. No surprise to you ~~ but by extending my lead arm as far as possible brought instantaneous results in making breathing far easier and consistent. And when I combined this with looking towards my feet when "going" for a breath, a light of accomplishment flashed brightly. It was amazing how easy breathing became. Prior to this, I must have been looking up towards the ceiling and of course this means I have been raising my head when seeking out air. Still lots of practice required to drive this to an automatic action but now I think I have finally heard and experienced what has been said all so often here. This has given me a firm foundation to work with!
Mike

Lawrence
11-26-2010, 05:41 PM
Mike, that's great to hear. Congratulations.

splashingpat
11-26-2010, 09:04 PM
giving thanks to everyone in the thread!
i thnk is a necessity
hello fellows and thanks to all of ya's

Mike from NS
11-26-2010, 09:59 PM
Yes Pat, you are right ! Thank you for pointing out my faux pas and giving me the opportunity to correct my error.

The video you posted AWP shows my understanding of what Lawrence was saying ~~and reinforced it. The finer points that this video shows, which you pointed out, will need dedication and strong focus to achieve. As you say, lots of practice will be needed to reach these aspects of his acute timing skill. But these are the targets!

Pat, as far as a video of me ...... you will have to wait. As I mentioned before, I must save some self pride for a while yet. But thanks for re-drawing attention to AWP's post. And thanks goes to haschu for it was he who began this thread and got the discussion going.

Mike

haschu33
12-01-2010, 02:10 PM
I only have time to swim when I am on the road at the moment, so I hit that same hotel pool again a couple of times.

...Therefore 20 or more minutes of something like this could be a good investment of time.
4 x SG
4 x SG + 5 strokes
4 x SG + 2-3 breaths
4 x SG
4 x SG + 5 strokes
4 x SG + 3-5 breaths
4 x SG
4 x SG + 5 strokes
4 x SG + 4-6 breaths


I tried that and kept this in mind:
...What I look for when doing this is a sense that my head feels supported by a cushion as I roll to breathe.

Also this from another thread:
Joe, ...
Your noting of the distinction between exhaling completely vs. exchanging continuously may be helpful to many people. I've written a number of times on this forum to describe the inhale as being similar to the way one 'grabs a bite of air' between phrases when singing. You don't try to fill your chest. You simply get 'enough' air to make it through the phrase.


I noticed some interesting points:

- When starting SGs I am not entirely flat on the surface, my legs are always a bit lower. When at the end of the glide, almost at a full stop, my legs stay there for quite some time and then start to sink, but only very slowly. When I swim a few laps of fullstroke and do SGs again the legs at that point stay without sinking, sometimes they even start to come up after the glide lost it's momentum.
- The left side breathing in this exercise feels easier than on the right side, which actually is my better, my easier breathing side.
- If I really want to get air on the left side I immediately fall back into my pattern of lifting the head. I need to stay relaxed and take the risk of getting water instead of air.
- The pool has no markers on the ground and I tend to run into the wall as my head is more (really, but not really, really, really) relaxed and I can't see a lot in front of me :-(
- Sometimes the breathing works best when I have my focus entirely on a different focal point and just breathe without thinking about it


The advice of just 'grabbing a bite of air' proved to be extremely beneficial to relax the breathing.

When I do fullstroke I do mainly laps with breathing every second stroke, mainly to the left side. In general I find a breathing stroke being a lot more complex and difficult with a complicated rhythm compared to a non-breathing stroke. In a way a breathing stroke is almost completely different from a non-breathing stroke and I have to drill both seperately.

Thanks for the advice!

borate
12-01-2010, 06:11 PM
In general I find a breathing stroke being a lot more complex and difficult with a complicated rhythm compared to a non-breathing stroke.

If you haven't done so already, try angling your mouth sideways as you grab a quick breath, partially squeezing your lips on the low side.
This may help you to not lift the head, and avoid taking in water.