I'm confused as to where my head position should be. I understand that it should be aligned with the spine, but that's all I get. On the DVD Freestyle Made Easy, the woman that wears the fist gloves has her head inches below the water, while one of the guys has his head just peaking out.
A swim coach told me I look like a submarine because my head is so far under the water. She said my head should be peaking out of the water to help be more hydrodynamic, that if my head doesn't break the water for the rest of my body, my shoulders will and that will create more drag.
How important is head position? Should I be more concerned about correct body position and whether or not I'm a sinker than I should be concerned about head position?
Correct body position and correct head position are both important but ideally you should be looking directly at the bottom of the pool. Looking too far forward can cause your legs to sink and looking down by pushing your head down or looking too far back can cause your head to go too far under .Look down but don't push your head down and let the head and neck relax so the water can support it's weight .Just a small bit of the back of your head should show above the water but not much more and at the same respect your head should not be constantly below the surface .
For me, getting the correct head position has made a huge difference in my stroke.
You can try experimenting with raising and lowering your head position while doing the Superman Glide. You'll be able to glide further when the head position is right.
I am very susceptible to over-correcting. If I hear "hang your head", I'm likely to lower my head to far. If I hear that my head position is too low, I'm likely to raise it too much. For me, a drill that imprints the exact right position is invaluable.
Once you have imprinted the correct head position, take care to keep it in that position when you rotate your neck to breathe. My TI coach advised me to look over my shoulder when I breathe--that has been *extremely* helpful. My instinct is to raise my head (i.e. look forward) when I breathe. That slows me down and makes my neck sore.
After a few sessions practicing the proper head position, I reduced my SPL by 2 strokes. I've been working on this for about a month now, and I still have to be very mindful of it. I'm especially tempted to raise my head while pushing off from the wall or lower it when I get tired or lose concentration.
Kurt, it's very simple. Just let the head fall into the water. Don't hold it up and don't push it down. You'll find yourself looking directly downwards to the pool bottom.
When you swim, you have two choices as to head position:
(i) looking directly down, as above; and
(ii) rolling to air, then returning to the position in (i).
That's all there is to it.
After several months of practicing TI I realized I had the head position wrong all along! It is natural to want to look ahead to see where you're going and when I read the great Shinji on youtube saying that he prefers to look forward a bit, I gave myself permission to do the same. I didn't realize how doing so was creating tension in my neck and making me unbalanced.
This week I went back to doing more drill work and specifically, focusing on releasing my head to the water and looking straight at the bottom of the pool. When I did whole stroke, it felt much better, like I was swimming downhill and my legs felt lighter, just floating behind me. After being at a plateau for some time, I feel like I am making good progress again. Today I did some stroke counting and realized my improved balance and relaxation, and longer glide, have lowered my stroke count from 18 to 16.
By the way, FME is the older version of the dvd. The newer one, Easy Freestyle, has some significant changes in it. In FME, the woman with fistgloves rotates far more than is now recommended. You can see how wobbly she gets when she's on her side. That's also probably why her head is so far underwater.
Best wishes on your TI journey.
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