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madinjapan
08-20-2009, 02:02 PM
I'll start with an honest statement; I'm not into drills. Last year I couldn't swim front crawl for toffee; two lengths and I'd be chucking up a lung. Then I came across TI on the internet and bought the book and DVD. I started practicing the first few drills, but to be frank I was getting some strange looks down at the pool (I live in Japan, so being a foreigner makes you stand out as it is).

I decided I'd just try to copy how I saw Terry swimming from the DVD and from the perpetual motion video on youtube. The very next week I was up to 20 lengths. Things have continued like that and literally now I'm at the point where the tedium of swimming up and down stops me, rather than tiredness (3.2km in a 25m pool).

I check this site often but I haven't registered so far, I've been doing TI for about 6 months now. I've had a few compliments in the pool from friendly Japanese people, but today a swimmer actually sat at the end of my lane while I was swimming and studied my swimming style.

So, to my question! Without practicing all the drills and from just watching how other people swim TI (including the TI guy from japan) can i have become that good or is it just my fitness that has increased? I actually imagine the lake scene of Terry with the music in the background while im swimming, that seems to keep my motion, and actions very fluid.

One thing that I'm not particularly good at is bilateral breathing. I can do it, but when i turn to my "vanilla" side I feel like im sinking a little. If i stay on "chocolate" side then no problem.

anyway. let me know your thoughts.
David

splashingpat
08-20-2009, 03:23 PM
I'll start with an honest statement; I'm not into drills. Last year I couldn't swim front crawl for toffee; two lengths and I'd be chucking up a lung. Then I came across TI on the internet and bought the book and DVD. I started practicing the first few drills, but to be frank I was getting some strange looks down at the pool (I live in Japan, so being a foreigner makes you stand out as it is).

I decided I'd just try to copy how I saw Terry swimming from the DVD and from the perpetual motion video on youtube. The very next week I was up to 20 lengths. Things have continued like that and literally now I'm at the point where the tedium of swimming up and down stops me, rather than tiredness (3.2km in a 25m pool).

I check this site often but I haven't registered so far, I've been doing TI for about 6 months now. I've had a few compliments in the pool from friendly Japanese people, but today a swimmer actually sat at the end of my lane while I was swimming and studied my swimming style.

So, to my question! Without practicing all the drills and from just watching how other people swim TI (including the TI guy from japan) can i have become that good or is it just my fitness that has increased? I actually imagine the lake scene of Terry with the music in the background while im swimming, that seems to keep my motion, and actions very fluid.

One thing that I'm not particularly good at is bilateral breathing. I can do it, but when i turn to my "vanilla" side I feel like im sinking a little. If i stay on "chocolate" side then no problem.

anyway. let me know your thoughts.
David

but I believe you know how to POST to get a response from TERRY
what I have seen and told others check out your arm position....
that is usually where the difference is?

could be!
just
Pat

tedscastle
08-20-2009, 03:29 PM
I think that watching the video helps a lot. I was struggling in the water like many others and decided to purchase Easy Freestyle. I kept watching and yesterday I felt I made a breakthrough. Since the pool was crowded and I had to share a lane, I decided just to start with laps instead of the drills. For the first time, I felt the relaxation and enjoyed swimming. 20-30 minutes later, I took my first break. This is fun.

terry
08-20-2009, 05:07 PM
David
Congratulations on the progress you've made and the sense of accomplishment that has brought. Choosing to learn through whole stroke is a path many others have followed, some with success similar to yours. I have a good friend here in New Paltz who learned the drill process, but just couldn't develop much passion or motivation for them, so he's practiced mainly whole stroke with visual cues and focal points. He's made good progress and been very excited by his progress. He also reports having received compliments from others on his swimming. Though he never did much swimming prior to a few years ago, many who see him assume he's swum well all his life.

We shot video of his stroke a week ago and he was shocked/disappointed to see some of the errors that remained in his stroke -- for instance splaying his legs widely as he rotated and bracing on a forearm at the same time.

I explained that perception is often unreliable. That his perception of swimming well suggests how far he's come because he can recall how it used to feel. But it can't reveal much about how much future improvement may be possible because he doesn't have a basis for imagining how swimming even better would feel.

I was also able to show him, for instance, how selective practice of the Skating drill and a few switches would correct the cause of his overrotation/leg-splay/bracing. It is possible to correct it with focal point practice in whole stroke, but he's grown some myelin on the circuits for his current stroke habits and so they're resistant to change. The drills are sufficiently different as to bypass that.
Cheers.

PS: How long have you lived in Japan and where are you based?

madinjapan
08-21-2009, 06:26 AM
Thank you for the replies,

The reason I'm sure it's an improvement in my technique, rather than fitness is that I originally began swimming to lose weight. Being from England we are taught breaststroke before anything else and this is what I did for a few months. I was swimming about 80 lengths of breaststroke quite easily and decided to throw in 2 lengths of front crawl every 9th and 10th stroke. I'd spend the next 6 lengths of breaststroke trying to get my breath back.

That's when I realised I was missing something and did a bit of research. I was always in awe of the folks that could endlessly glide up and down the pool without so much as a splash.

I know there is still alot of improvements to make to my technique and I wonder what the possibilities are for the future. The vanilla and chocolate sides refer to your natural side for breathing and the opposite one (doesn't terry mention them in his book?). At the same time I bought terry's book I also bought "The Essential Swimmer" by Steve Tarpinian. I loved the history section about the development of the front crawl but some of the things he was saying you should do i.e. elbow flexion and keeping it at a 90 degree angle just didnt seem humanly possible to me as a beginner.

In terms of strokes per 25m, I'm down to about 14 if I really concentrate. On average though I'm still at about 18 per length so lots of room for improvement. I have an overkick on my left leg in my two beat kick, which causes the occasional big splash.

I live in Yonago, on the west coast of Japan, population 150,000 (nearest big cities are Hiroshima and Osaka). My local pool is Kaike, which happens to be the birthplace of Triathlon in Japan (http://www.kaike-triathlon.com/). I'm toying with the idea of entering at some point. It's a huge commitment to training and not sure if I'll have the time, considering my wife and I have just found out she's having triplets!! Looks like im not the only one that's improved my swimming.

terry
08-21-2009, 12:07 PM
David
Congratulations on receiving news of the impending dramatic expansion of your family. Multiple births are less rare these days because of fertility aids. Is this one of the decreasingly-prevalent instances of a naturally-occurring multiple birth? When is she due?

I love your account of being able to swim breaststroke endlessly, while simultaneously being envious of people who could do the same in freestyle. And how your first instinct was to mix in a little freestyle, which led you to discover that it would then take many lengths of breaststroke to recover from the ordeal of a few lengths of freestyle.

There are three reasons for this:
1) Breaststroke is a naturally-imbalanced stroke. The human body's natural orientation in water is tending-toward-vertical as gravity drags down the solid mass of the hips, while buoyancy pushes up the air-filled space in the chest. In breaststroke we feel comfortable in that position and our brains don't interpret it as "sinking." In freestyle, we feel the same thing happen and interpret it as bad, leading to a universally ineffectual and exhausting survival stroking. Legs churn like mad but have no effect on imbalance.

2) It's easy to adopt a leisurely, unhurried rhythm in breaststroke, which allows for restful moments within each full-stroke cycle. Survival stroking in freestyle requires a ceaseless churn. You feel if you slow for even a moment you'll just sink.

3) The head-out position and leisurely rhythm common to those who swim long distances (20 to 80 lengths) of breaststroke allow plenty of time to get air and there's seldom any doubt about getting it. In freestyle, the requirement to turn the head to the side (while your body keeps moving forward) and the rather frantic rhythm of imbalanced/unsupported swimming combine to make the mechanics of breathing very difficult, while simultaneously leaving you feeling as if there's just not enough time.

Your logical/thoughtful approach to solving the problem should provide encouragement to many people who've had similar experiences about the possibility of improvement and how to pursue it.

I'll also note that while one should tirelessly pursue improvements in efficiency, the most important measure is increased ease, rather than decreased stroke counts. From that standpoint, the metric or goal I'd suggest would be to increase the number of easeful, flowing continuous lengths you can swim @ 17-18 SPL, rather than decreasing your SPL from there to, say, 14.
A second goal would be to be able to take incrementally faster strokes at 17-18 SPL with the aid of a Tempo Trainer (http://www.totalimmersion.net/store/gear-and-accessories/tempo-trainer.html).

madinjapan
08-21-2009, 02:12 PM
Terry, thanks for all the practical advice on how to move forwards. Especially, the point about reducing stroke count. I think I've been over zealous with that lately, particularly after watching Shinji's effortless 9-stroke performance. It's good to hear that ease is the holy grail of good swimming, and not necessarily numbers. As you suggested, I've recently tried to up the tempo a little, while remaining relaxed.

What you said about the expectation of air is spot on, it was always one of my biggest fears, and knowing that you get some everytime in breaststroke kept me away from front crawl for so long. I've since introduced a few other friends to TI (I'm sure they are tired of me going on about it by now) and they too say that breathing is the hardest thing for them. The thing I've noticed them all doing, is lifting their heads right out of the water (as in breaststroke) and then turning it aswell! They almost come to a standstill in the water.

On another note, and this is for everyone; if you ever hear you can't lose weight swimming don't believe a word if it. I was at a max of 84kg last year (185lbs - 176cm), I've since lost 10kg and down to a shapely 158lbs. It definitely pleased my wife, who is superfit (she is a retired captain of the women's Japanese handball team).

Thank for asking about the babies Terry; they are all of the natural variety, and as informed by the doctor at the hospital, possibly the first time for natural triplets in this town. The official due date is February 22nd but it could be up to a month or two before that. Hopefully a few months after they are born I'll be able to take them down to the pool! I'm already trying to teach my 2 year old TI but he's still a little water shy. If he wants to be a sportsman, I hope he chooses either football (the English kind) or swimming.

The schools are on summer break here at the moment, so the lanes are crowded with kids. I'm having to incorporate some of your outside the box techniques for detecting obstacles in the water. Role on school time, when I can get my own lane again!

madinjapan
10-05-2009, 09:14 AM
Hi, all...I just thought I'd update this thread with a progress report. I felt like I've been stagnating for the last couple of weeks and was finding it difficult to find the momentum to get down to the pool. I often find that when I don't make any significant improvements on what I'm doing my interest tends to wane.

As I originally said, I began swimming to lose weight and while I was initially successful at this I've found that as my stroke efficiency has improved I'm not burning anywhere near as many calories as I did when is was inefficient. Now that is sod's law: an efficient stroke is working against me. I've actually put on a couple of kilos. I'm hoping that this is an increase in muscle mass because I certainly don't look any bigger.

Anyhow, today I had an absolute stormer in the pool, and left with what one could only describe as a feeling of euphoria. I had an epiphany and it came in the form of my arm movements while I was about 60 lengths into my workout.

I think I mentioned before that I find it very difficult to keep my elbows high, and use my whole arm as a paddle, well today as boredom was setting in I decided to spice things up and really concentrate on keeping a right angle in my arm but simultaneously letting my rotation draw the arm back rather than the actual arm muscles themselves.

Eureka! I started to absolutely glide through the water. I felt close to zero resistance and went on to do a total of 140/150 lengths (lost count - probably nearer 150). I barely used my legs/kick at all, and really for the first time felt like their only purpose was the same a metronome in music.

Time constraints forced me to leave the pool, but I felt I could have gone on and covered the same distance again.

I've also been practising my bilateral breathing and have approached this in pretty much the same way I did when I first started front crawl. At the end of my set I see how well I can do a few lengths breathing on both sides. Boom...flew down.

In my whole session today I didn't go above 18 strokes per length. Anyhow, I don't mean to sound boastful (I know there are much better swimmers on here) but I felt like I needed to share my excitement with the rest of you guys.

monicarutherford
10-05-2009, 05:41 PM
Terry,

Nice to see you're not too busy to still check out the board...I attended your TI workshop in St. Pete sometime in July/August....needless to say 2 weeks of putting the lessons and drills to practice I was swimming a mile!! I went from 2 laps to a mile in 2 weeks. It has amazed all of my swimming friends since I was always the non-swimmer. I have a quick question for you...what is the next step in inprovement? How can I bridge the gap of knowledge I have learned and get better and better? I am at a 44 minute mile...nothing fast, my strokes are a horrible 28 per lap but I will be honest am totally unwinded after a mile. I am afraid of tweaking anything because of fear I will not be able to get as far. What book or DVD do you suggest for post IT workshop graduates? Monica

terry
10-05-2009, 07:15 PM
David
Your breakthrough experience in the last day or two is evidence of the principle stated in George Leonard's book, "Mastery -- The Keys to Success and Long Term Fulfillment."
That is "Love the plateau." The central idea is that when you take up a new practice, you experience encouraging progress and discovery in the beginning. That keeps you interested. Later, in almost every case, the progress curve flattens. At this point the dabblers lose interest and move onto something else where they repeat the cycle. The eventual Masters continue to practice lovingly each day, understanding that -- so long as you practice with attentive repetition -- learning and improvement continue, albeit at a cellular level where it may be difficult to discern.
Then on a particular wonderful day it all consolidates and you have a "stormer" of a practice as you described it.
The key is to begin your practice each day with a strong and clear intention to swim better than you ever have before.

terry
10-05-2009, 07:20 PM
! I went from 2 laps to a mile in 2 weeks. It has amazed all of my swimming friends since I was always the non-swimmer. I have a quick question for you...what is the next step in inprovement?

Monica
If you read my reply to David, you'll recognize the first two weeks as that initial period of fast progress, which can be even more dramatic with TI. After that, the goal becomes incremental, but continuous progress -- for life. That's Kaizen.

Let's deconstruct where you are now. If your strokes are as high as 28 per length -- is that counting each hand entry over 25 yards? -- then it's clear there's still a good deal of room for improving your efficiency. If you let me know your height I can suggest a range of SPLs for 25 yards at which you can aim.

Do you know what's the most effective and easiest way to travel farther on each stroke?

haschu33
10-05-2009, 07:43 PM
Hi,

... The eventual Masters continue to practice lovingly each day, understanding that -- so long as you practice with attentive repetition -- learning and improvement continue, albeit at a cellular level where it may be difficult to discern.
Then on a particular wonderful day it all consolidates and you have a "stormer" of a practice as you described it.
The key is to begin your practice each day with a strong and clear intention to swim better than you ever have before.

Consolidating, yes. These words of yours :-)
I am stuck at Zen switches. It feels quite well, and there are a lot more details to practice, but it gets hard not to be able to just swim. And there is no big progress. With every visit to the pool, some little thing is better than before, very little. I have no idea how I will ever be able to swim at least at a moderate speed. It gets frustrating and takes a lot of patience. But next day I go to the pool again.
I decided to give it a chance... up to the end. Whatever that is. We'll see.

The other day someone in my community pool said to me: 'When I learned freestyle, I just got into the water and did it' (referring to my endless drills, he was watching, which in his opinion, was obviously not the way to do it). I was tempted to ask: Did what ?

One day you'll get a post here: I did a whole 50 m lap of freestyle strokes ... I hope it's gonna be this year.

AWP
10-06-2009, 12:55 AM
Hi,




One day you'll get a post here: I did a whole 50 m lap of freestyle strokes ... I hope it's gonna be this year.

haschu,

For sure you will if you continue. Don't concern yourself with what will happen but instead with what is happening. Concede to make each step comfortable, competent, and honestly become aware of each steps purpose. Each time you practice cycle through from the beginning to where you left off, mentally as much as physically. Rehearse and don't be timid to take a 'chance' or seek something new ie. feeling or movement. See that door in front of you? Open it!

Alan

terry
10-06-2009, 12:38 PM
Haschu
Alan's wisdom was won through hundreds of hours of practice -- and I've seen the result in his swimming -- so you can take it to the bank.

I'll add that this about his learning principle of: Don't concern yourself with what might happen; focus entirely on what is happening.

This is true as well for whole stroke. You say you cannot yet swim whole stroke. I'll guess what you mean by this is you can't, at this moment, swim a full length of whole stroke that feels as good as your drills currently do. If that's the case, I'd suggest two things:
1) Don't feel you need to swim a full length. Swim any shorter distance on which you can transfer an important sensation from the drill to your whole skill. Even if that's just 3 strokes, that's a starting point. From there you shouldn't find it too difficult to extend to 4, 5, and more strokes. Just keep your whole-stroke practice as persistent, attentive and focused as your drill reps.
2) Occasionally swim farther -- far enough for your "level of control" to break down. A key aspect of Examined Swimming Principles (virtually identical to the Deep Practice Principles espoused in The Talent Code) is to relentlessly seek the leading edge of your skill - the place where control begins to shade into struggle. Swim the whole stroke through that place to discern what has changed. Then focus on fixing it.

I can add something further to Alan's principle of "don't look ahead." Here's an excerpt from my series of blogs about our English Channel relay:

The afternoon prior to the USMS 2-Mile Cable Swim championship in Mirror Lake (Lake Placid NY) I gave a brief clinic for participants. Most of those who attended were first-timers to the race and seemingly had little experience swimming in open water. From where we sat on the lakeshore, they could see the quarter-mile course over which they would swim 8 lengths the next morning. Many found the sight daunting, commenting “That’s a long way; I’m not sure I can swim that far.” To which I answered “Your most helpful strategy will be to never focus on how much swimming is in front of you, but to focus entirely on the stroke you’re taking this moment, to make that stroke as good as it can be. After about three thousand strokes, taken one by one, you’ll swim across the finish line almost before you know it.”

Read the entire blog here. (http://www.swimwellblog.com/archives/77)

haschu33
10-06-2009, 02:53 PM
Terry,

I am amazed how much care you take for each single 'swimmer' who is posting his/her questions here!
So, thank you for that!

Now, regarding your reply.
Haschu
Alan's wisdom was won through hundreds of hours of practice -- and I've seen the result in his swimming -- so you can take it to the bank.

I'll add that this about his learning principle of: Don't concern yourself with what might happen; focus entirely on what is happening.

I am at appr. 30-40 hours of practice since I received the 'Easy Freestyle' DVD - practice is just a matter of time.
I am not really concerned about what might happen, but I do have a goal: I want to be able to swim as easy, effortlessly and elegantly as you and your co-TIs do. Although that may not be a focus but more the motivation.

This is true as well for whole stroke. You say you cannot yet swim whole stroke. I'll guess what you mean by this is you can't, at this moment, swim a full length of whole stroke that feels as good as your drills currently do.
It means: I usually start with spear switches, after a while I change to Zen-switches. Slow motion switches with at least the finger tips in the water.
It is slow motion. I can do a length of 20 or 25 meters like that (takes minutes!), breath in between, no problem. No rhythm. Just very slow movements with pauses. But I cannot speed up. When I speed up the motion I start to loose control, so I don't do it. It slowly gets better. When I say 'whole stroke' I mean something that is done continously with a rhythm. So there is no question of a full length of full strokes, not even 5 or ten of them.
In fact I dropped wanting to be able to swim a lap, I dropped wanting to be fast, I dropped all that what it should be like and just drill.
Maybe this is your point and you are perfectly right with that, I think: frustration only comes up when I look at the possible goal and compare where I am now. It is actually a stupid thing to do, because it just gives frustration and has no real benefit.

2) Occasionally swim farther -- far enough for your "level of control" to break down. A key aspect of Examined Swimming Principles (virtually identical to the Deep Practice Principles espoused in The Talent Code) is to relentlessly seek the leading edge of your skill - the place where control begins to shade into struggle. Swim the whole stroke through that place to discern what has changed. Then focus on fixing it.
I think I might be too careful, I don't really want to touch that area where my level of control breaks down, I very much like to stay in that area where I have full control. I'll try that. I think, this is very good advice.

I need some re-assurance from time to time, that it is really possible to learn freestyle like this. And don't forget, I am in an environment where literally everybody I meet in the pool and around looks at me like I came from another star - no support, just strange looks. Which is quite funny at times.

... I answered “...focus entirely on the stroke you’re taking this moment, to make that stroke as good as it can be... ”
Good thing is, it takes me so much focus to do the stroke, that I can't focus anywhere else anyway.


And the backstroke and breaststroke DVDs came with the mail today - the party goes on!

Thanks, Terry.

AWP
10-06-2009, 10:48 PM
Focusing entirely on my "stroke-in-the-now", my placement and overall movement and balance helped me acheive/ maintain a smooth rhythm with no discomfort, in fact therapeutic, and made this swim seem well... not long enough!

Precisely the "flow state" experience that makes certain swims most memorable and rewarding.

haschu33
10-07-2009, 07:54 AM
Hi,

Went to the pool this morning - early swimming. It was crowded, actually too crowded, my usual frustration came up, my knee started to hurt - didn't look like a great swimming day.
Then, when I was about to leave, I did one more lap. I had Terry's advice in my ear, this one: "...relentlessly seek the leading edge of your skill..." (which means in my case I don't have to go too far...), didn't really know what to with it, though.
So, without really thinking about it, I started the last lap, with 'regular' switches, not Zen Switches, I never did that before, recovery through the air without touching the water, at a slow but regular speed - just swimming. I banged in another guy in the middle of the pool, who was swimming on his back, apologized and kept going for the rest of the lap. So this was real swimming, not drilling! Yes, it did bear some resemblance to freestyle swimming, and I was even moving forward, faster than I believed was possible. There was lots of room for improvement in every detail, so to speak, but I didn't loose my streamlining and took a breath every third stroke - thanks to the drills.

Ok, it was just a 25 m pool, but hehe, this was the first freestyle lap I did in my live. At the age of 55. Quite amazing, isn't it?

Terry, I think I owe you a beer. Maybe two, even.
Whenever I get in the US again...

Mike from NS
10-07-2009, 10:07 AM
Hi,
Ok, it was just a 25 m pool, but hehe, this was the first freestyle lap I did in my live. At the age of 55. Quite amazing, isn't it?

Congratulations ! I know your feeling with this accomplishment ... you just want to call someone with the news. It is an amazing feeling when we finally reach a goal that has been so elusive. I'm 56 and I had the same experience only a couple of weeks ago. It came after way too many hours of frustration (which disappears once the goal is reached). When I take my time and concentrate on each stroke things work out much better.... still a long way to go; but now we know it is possible!! Try stopping us now !!
Mike

AWP
10-07-2009, 01:05 PM
Haschu33,

Congratulations and welcome to the swimming world!
What may be hard to imagine is that quite soon you too will be helping and congratulating someone on this Forum.

Alan

terry
10-07-2009, 04:22 PM
Oops
I edited Alan's Post #16 when I meant to quote from it. So sorry Alan, but the key part of his original - the 1st graf in the edited version - is still there. The 2nd graf is my comment on it.

terry
10-07-2009, 04:29 PM
Terry, I think I owe you a beer. Maybe two, even.
Whenever I get in the US again...

I think it would be more fun -- and result in quaffing a more exotic brew -- if I collected that debt in Germany . . . which is where you are, right?

Here's a thought. You mentioned earlier that you lack a sense of rhythm. I'd suggest you try a few 25s on which you swim "too fast" and see what happens. I'd be curious.

1) At the end of a typical practice of drills, etc. leave time for several 25s. Do the 1st just short of sprint speed. Not all out, but maybe 98%. Count your strokes. Estimate your "mojo" - a mix of ease and flow.
2) Reduce that effort by 10% and measure SPL and mojo again.
3) Continue with 10% reduction until you feel you've optimized.

We do something like this at the end of many workshops now and find it's been helpful to liberate people from being overly cautious or mechanical. It's emotionally liberating too.

Let us know how it goes.

haschu33
10-07-2009, 06:18 PM
I think it would be more fun -- and result in quaffing a more exotic brew -- if I collected that debt in Germany . . . which is where you are, right?
Yes, and yes - to collect that in Germany, and which is where I am. This country is full of exotic brews, true. Just let me know, when you are coming...

I don't want to make such a big deal out of me being able to swim a lap in freestyle, cause it happens to everyone who learns it. Nevertheless I was quite surprised with my swimming this morning, so I'd like to remark this:

1. I am a little stuck in my drills and Terry gives me the advice, to, basically, extend my drill to the point where I don't have control anymore. Next visit to the pool and I swim whole strokes an entire lap - quite amazing.
2. It was not, that I had done before sequences of 3 strokes , or 10 strokes, or anything, I was only doing Zen-Switches, never any 'real' stroke. Means: very, very slow motion recovering the arm, place it in front of the head, stop flutter kicks, do a switch, wait for a while, flutter kicks, same thing other side.
I simple never did a normal timed stroke before, which I then extended to more of them. And then I do it for the first time and it becomes an entire lap. That also is quite amazing to me.
3. I did not liberately planned, or intended to do that. I just pushed of the wall, and it was more that it happened, then me doing anything. That also is amazing.

Anyway, as Terry's advice seems to be gold, I'll also take this to heart. Still:

... leave time for several 25s. Do the 1st just short of sprint speed
Your sprint speed ? :-) I just did my first stumbling lap of whole strokes and you talk about sprint speed ?

Ok, you are the boss, I'll follow that advice and keep you informed.

Thanks a lot!

madinjapan
07-15-2010, 07:18 PM
It's been a while since I've posted. And the reason I do so is something my wife said to me the other day. As the original title of my post insinuated, I became better at freestyle by simply watching Terry on youtube and his DVD. This is still true today more than ever. I'm still drill shy and can confess that I haven't performed a single one since my original post. Admittedly, I have suggested to a few other people that they try the superman glide, sweet spot and pushing your buoy positions, as I consider these the most invaluable to feeling 'at one' with the water.

"Are you image training again", is actually what my wife said to me, as she caught me watching perpetual motion for the upteenth time. It struck me then that I'm always better after watching it. I've tried to convince myself that I don't need Terry anymore (sorry mate) - but it's just not true. For me, image training is exactly how things work in the natural/real world. As children this is how we absorb information most effectively, right back to learning how to chuck a spear at some neolithic beasty.

I'm a language teacher and through experience I know that the first two skills to learn are listening and speaking respectively, you can transliterate this into TI speak as, first watch someone swim well and then practice what you see. You can break each aspect of someone swimming well into digestable segments, but to really become a 10th Dan master you need to imitate, and if you are lucky or naturally adept, emulate.

Case in point, I recently took a holiday and didn't go to the pool for 2 weeks. Prior to going I'd swam a personal best of 5km in the pool; again boredom rather than tiredness dragging me out of the pool and into the Jacuzzi. On my return, I headed down to the pool thinking all would be well. But shock, horror I struggled to achieve a meagre 2km. I was livid with myself. I'd always believed that once you become good at something you should be able to maintain that level of ability - fitness aside. Let's consider the bicycle for example; 2 weeks off a bike and you would still be tearing it up left, right and centre. Aha! A bike is on land. The feeling of something solid! The natural feeling for a human body.

There are horses for courses, and everyone without exception will have a slighty different swimming style, akin to human fingerprints. They may look the same but there are subtle differences. Swimming well is a state of mind, once you have conquered the fear of floating, breathing etc..

My advice (take it or leave it, because I'm always my own worst critic) is to never stop watching someone swim well. Always go back to the image training; and I'll go out on a limb and say this applies to drills as well. You will never get it, unless you continously watch someone doing it well.

If you have read this thread you will know I come from a breaststroke background. This video gave me goosebumps and has inspired to dispense with my 2 year obession with freestyle and mix it up again...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La1xK6EzLwI

P.S. On a side note, tripets have been born and are all doing well. 2 boys (Dylan and Joshua) and a girl (Embrace).

P.P.S. Have mentioned to the wife that I may want an endless pool installed in the garden!

terry
07-16-2010, 02:33 AM
Madinj...
There's a lengthy and interesting post I could make on the visual aspects of learning, but I don't have time for that tonight - it's my bed time. However just wanted to say congratulations on the new additions to your family. Your daughter is the first Embrace I've ever heard of. It's a wonderful name.
Was tripets a typo or pun?

casual_swimmer
08-12-2010, 03:09 AM
"Are you image training again", is actually what my wife said to me, as she caught me watching perpetual motion for the upteenth time.
haha! I do that too. Even though I have lost count of the number of times I have watched it, I still see some new nuance or other when watching. I am stuck on the switch right now so next session I am going to just watch the switch drills and practice that one thing. Oh, and superman glides too because they are my favourite.

madinjapan
10-14-2010, 02:29 PM
TI is like learning to fly (through water that is). Well, I have been coaching my first student/person I'm helping with their technique. And surprisingly I'm the one it seems to have helped more! I'm not sure of the process here but I guess actually hearing myself giving the advice I'm constantly trying to absorb is having the side benefit of imprinting it deeper into my subconscious.

With regards to the student (not sure I should use that word - should I be paying Terry a royalty?) she has also dramatically improved her technique as well. The person I'm helping is the au pair living with us to help take care of our triplets. She is from a coastal town in Italy and often talks lovingly of the sea and how she and her parents went swimming every morning. She showed me a picture of her house and it is literally a stone’s throw from the Adriatic. Having heard this I'd thought she’d be a ninja in the pool, but to my horror she swam as bad as I did when I first started out. She was out of breath after 50 metres and complained her arms were aching. The first time at the pool I left her to her own devices, but on our return I gave her a few helpful hints about balance, rotation, swimming calmly that is trying to be a peace with the water, relaxing the arms, and trying to forget about legs as propulsion devices. Within an hour she had been set on the TI path to Kaizen swimming. At least from above the water, it was like watching a different swimmer. She now realises she has a lot of things to unlearn and is committed to the TI way.

Okay another confession, she seemed like a natural sinker and her body line was at 45 degree angle in the water so I suggested she practice superman glide, and think of her lungs as the pivotal point of equilibrium. I even did a few to show her how (so I HAVE done a drill!) and it worked immediately. We then focused on arm recovery and entry because she was simply slapping them back into the water without any thought of streamlining. Again instance results.

So with regards to my own improvement, I hit a new record of 13 strokes for 25m, I feel a lot more slippery in the water and have reinforced my mental image of what I should be aiming for. It sounds rather like a cheesy self-help tape but I'd suggest to people struggling with any part of their TI swimming to vocalise it. Say to yourself out loud what it is you actually want to do and achieve.

For me balance is the absolute key to good swimming, superman glide is a super drill, what does everyone else think?

take care for now
madinjapan

sinker
10-14-2010, 06:20 PM
Thank you for the replies,

The reason I'm sure it's an improvement in my technique, rather than fitness is that I originally began swimming to lose weight. Being from England we are taught breaststroke before anything else and this is what I did for a few months. I was swimming about 80 lengths of breaststroke quite easily and decided to throw in 2 lengths of front crawl every 9th and 10th stroke. I'd spend the next 6 lengths of breaststroke trying to get my breath back.

That's when I realised I was missing something and did a bit of research. I was always in awe of the folks that could endlessly glide up and down the pool without so much as a splash.

I know there is still alot of improvements to make to my technique and I wonder what the possibilities are for the future. The vanilla and chocolate sides refer to your natural side for breathing and the opposite one (doesn't terry mention them in his book?). At the same time I bought terry's book I also bought "The Essential Swimmer" by Steve Tarpinian. I loved the history section about the development of the front crawl but some of the things he was saying you should do i.e. elbow flexion and keeping it at a 90 degree angle just didnt seem humanly possible to me as a beginner.

In terms of strokes per 25m, I'm down to about 14 if I really concentrate. On average though I'm still at about 18 per length so lots of room for improvement. I have an overkick on my left leg in my two beat kick, which causes the occasional big splash.

I live in Yonago, on the west coast of Japan, population 150,000 (nearest big cities are Hiroshima and Osaka). My local pool is Kaike, which happens to be the birthplace of Triathlon in Japan (http://www.kaike-triathlon.com/). I'm toying with the idea of entering at some point. It's a huge commitment to training and not sure if I'll have the time, considering my wife and I have just found out she's having triplets!! Looks like im not the only one that's improved my swimming.

Madinjapan

http://www.kaike-triathlon.com/

On the home page of this link--first picture of yellow capped swimmers---were there great white sharks on the prowl there, or does it only appear so?

terry
10-15-2010, 02:10 AM
I have been coaching my first student/person I'm helping with their technique. And surprisingly I'm the one it seems to have helped more! I'm not sure of the process here but I guess actually hearing myself giving the advice I'm constantly trying to absorb is having the side benefit of imprinting it deeper into my subconscious.

With regards to the student (not sure I should use that word - should I be paying Terry a royalty?) she has also dramatically improved her technique as well. The person I'm helping is the au pair living with us to help take care of our triplets. She is from a coastal town in Italy

How multi-culti. An au pair from Italy, living with Brits(?) in Japan. Well I'm in your part of the world at the moment, having arrived Hong Kong last night. I'll be in Asia for the next month.

You've again illustrated a useful insight into TI learning. Previously in this thread, you've highlighted the importance of visual learning and the option of 'informal' learning -- i.e. without drills.

Now the benefit -- to the teacher as well as the student -- of teaching basics to someone else. I believe the reasons are (1) it forces you to crystallize your own concepts and develop language to convey them; and (2) your observation of how your student responds to your instruction -- where and why they succeed, and what challenges them.

I would love to encourage others to do this and a blog with some details of your experience would be a good way.

madinjapan
10-15-2010, 02:04 PM
Madinjapan

http://www.kaike-triathlon.com/

On the home page of this link--first picture of yellow capped swimmers---were there great white sharks on the prowl there, or does it only appear so?

There are sharks in those waters. I've seen a relatively small one in the port while fishing, but there aren't any big ones around. I was looking at the picture and couldn't really make out what you were referring to.

sinker
10-15-2010, 11:24 PM
There are sharks in those waters. I've seen a relatively small one in the port while fishing, but there aren't any big ones around. I was looking at the picture and couldn't really make out what you were referring to.

Sorry, bad joke I guess. To me they appeared to be a mob of people thrashing around in all directions in a panic.