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-   -   Forum for types of and uses for Equipment??? (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=8387)

michaelmarshall5030 09-08-2015 12:42 PM

Forum for types of and uses for Equipment???
 
Again, I did not see an exact appropriate place to put this post, so I just put it here.

As a beginner swimmer, with improvement with the help of TI, I am curious as to if there could be discussion in its own Forum (even if it is not as active as others) pertaining to equipment used in instruction and even training. I have been told that relying on certain equipment (fins, snorkel, etc.) when it come to learning can be a good thing, but the caution is to avoid making them a crutch.

Yet, if there could be discussion as to which equipment and how to use the equipment properly, that might be helpful given that technology and things evolve. Even with folks wanting to venture from exercise into competition, I could see the forum being useful. I am just throwing this out there.

CoachBobM 09-08-2015 05:41 PM

Good questions!

Training tools that everyone should use, in my opinion, are tools that provide metrics on how you are doing. I have used both the SportCount lap timer and the Tempo Trainer. The SportCount provides me with feedback on how I've done (e.g., in multiple length sets, how did my swimming speed change from length to length), while the Tempo Trainer provides ongoing feedback while I'm swimming.

The important thing to be aware of with other training tools is that all of them change the swimming equation in some way, so you want to know how each one is going to change the equation and whether the change is going to benefit you when you're not using the tool. And you shouldn't use any tool all the time (one of my criticisms of drag suits, for example, is that people who use them typically put them on and wear them for an entire practice, and sometimes for every practice).

One tool I don't recommend is a kickboard. When I came to TI in 1999, I had a wide, flailing kick, and I had developed it from doing kicking lengths with a kickboard. The problems with this are:

1) When you're leaning on a kickboard, propelling yourself using nothing but a kick, your body is held in an unstreamlined position which creates a lot of drag, and with nothing but a kickboard to propel you, you're desperate to move. The flailing kick I had developed was powerful, but not streamlined, but the fact that it was unstreamlined made little difference, considering the fact that my whole body was being held in an unstreamlined position by leaning on the kickboard. The trouble was that the kick I developed from this was actually slowing me down when I swam freestyle because the kick was so unstreamlined.

2) Leaning on a kickboard is a crutch to enable swimmers to breathe while they're doing kicking sets. It is possible to hold the board in front of you and keep your face in the water, but if you're going to do that, why use a kickboard at all? It's much better to kick in a skate position, where you will be practicing balance and streamlining, and will also naturally develop a streamlined, rather than a flailing, kick. And if you want to practice just kicking, vertical kicking is a much more effective drill.

Fins can be a useful tool for some beginners to use some of the time. When I was getting over my flailing kick, for example, the only way I could overcome it was to focus on literally nothing else. But if I put on fins, my kick would immediately settle down, allowing me to focus on other aspects of my stroke. Fins can also make you move faster in the water, which can make you more sensitive to any lack of streamlining in your form. But if you're using them for that purpose, you should only use them for a small portion of your practice and take them off the rest of the time.

I don't recommend hand paddles, because they artificially enlarge your hands and tend to make you rely too much on your hands for your catch, which is likely to make it hard for you to hold onto the water when you take them off (as you inevitably must when you're in a race). And they make it easier to put too much stress on your shoulders and injure yourself.

A better tool for improving your catch is fistgloves, which essentially do the opposite of what hand paddles do. Being deprived of the use of your hands forces you to learn to grip the water with your forearms, encouraging you to develop an early vertical forearm (EVF) or as close an approximation to it as your physiology allows. The gloves also create a kind of sensory deprivation, so that when you first take them off, you become very aware of how your hands are entering the water, how they're grabbing onto the water, etc. And when you take the gloves off, you are likely to find that you're now gripping the water with both your hand and your forearm, which will make your catch more effective. Be aware, though, that you may swim a little slower when you're drilling with fistgloves, which can make you less aware of ways in which your body is unstreamlined. So don't wear fistgloves all the time. A good procedure is to wear them for the first 20 minutes of your practice and then take them off for the rest.

I've never used a snorkel or felt any need to use one. But some people who are having trouble mastering breathing find that using a snorkel allows them to work on other aspects of their stroke without needing to periodically stop and catch their breath. As long as they're spending part of their practice without the snorkel, working on mastering breathing, I don't see any problem.


Bob

michaelmarshall5030 09-09-2015 02:05 PM

Snorkel not as easy as I thought
 
After purchasing a swimmer's snorkel for drills to help with balance/buoyancy, I've found it to be more difficult to use than first anticipated. I do not get water in my snorkel (my head does not sink); but rather my concentration shifts to breathing with the snorkel correctly, and I found that impedes my ability to Superman glide and address other balance issues, as well as still not breathing well. It's funny how I try to find a way to help my fix issues, then everything falls apart more than it had prior to the snorkel. Do you have any suggestions as how to address this, other than throw the snorkel out? Are there snorkel breathing skills I can put into practice before actually using it for my drills and swimming?

CoachBobM 09-11-2015 08:41 PM

What problems were you having that prompted you to use a snorkel?


Bob

michaelmarshall5030 09-11-2015 09:13 PM

I was encouraged to use a snorkel to work on balance by doing the Superman Glide and other floating drills. I thought I was a sinker, but I was just a "low in the water" person. I had to literally roll at least 145 degrees to get any air, and I exhausted myself. Coach Stuart felt a snorkel will help me find my level position with the drills to get me higher in the water. The snorkel has helped me understand, that after practicing drills, I am not as low in the water as I used to be because the tip stays above the surface. I hope that answers your question.

Aaron_Swims 09-14-2015 04:29 PM

I had the same thing with the snorkel! It distracted me more than it helped, and it was supposed to do the opposite! I think it's a case of either pushing through and practicing more with the snorkel until you're totally used to it or try to look in to other methods that could work for you.

michaelmarshall5030 09-14-2015 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aaron_Swims (Post 55121)
I had the same thing with the snorkel! It distracted me more than it helped, and it was supposed to do the opposite! I think it's a case of either pushing through and practicing more with the snorkel until you're totally used to it or try to look in to other methods that could work for you.

This may sound strange because to even picture it in my head looks funny, but it has helped address some of the issues. I have simply practiced using the snorkel several times while standing at the kitchen sink, putting my face in the sink filled with water. I put a large hand held vanity mirror on the bottom so I could watch what was actually happening. Some folks recommend using a nose clip so the person doesn't have to focus on the breathing, but I am not really a fan of them so I initially practiced breathing without a nose clip (tried just the snorkel, then tried inhaling through the snorkel and exhaling out of my nose). I was expelling air not only through the snorkel tube, but also out from around the mouthpiece, like I was blowing bubbles. I practiced and practiced until I decided that my concentration was solely devoted on "trying to get it right" that I knew I had to try a nose clip (since they are essentially dirt cheap, I bought one even if I don't use it later down the road). The nose clip made a little difference because it forced me to only use the snorkel for breathing, yet I noticed the way I was not solely breathing through the snorkel tube; I was still also expelling air out from around the mouthpiece. When continuing to watch in the mirror, I noticed that my mouth was tense because I was trying to ensure the mouthpiece stayed in place. Once I was able to totally relax my face, no more bubbles were coming out from around the mouthpiece. I am still using the nose clip for now when using it at the pool, but hopefully I eventually will move onto exhaling out of my nose.

So, the "ah ha" that comes out of all of this, is relaxation is the key to everything with swimming. I have a long way to go yet in my progress when it comes to my swimming, but each "ah ha" is part of that progress.

Richardsk 09-15-2015 07:59 AM

Hi Michael

I use a nose clip all the time in the local pool, which seems to have rather high levels of chlorine, and I find that although at first I didn't like it, once I got used to it I found I could breathe easily and even exhale through the nose. I never use it in competition, though, not even for backstroke. I notice that a lot of top backstrokers use a clip, so perhaps I should reconsider. It is annoying when water runs down into your throat and makes you cough.

CoachBobM 09-16-2015 03:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by michaelmarshall5030 (Post 55100)
I was encouraged to use a snorkel to work on balance by doing the Superman Glide and other floating drills. I thought I was a sinker, but I was just a "low in the water" person. I had to literally roll at least 145 degrees to get any air, and I exhausted myself. Coach Stuart felt a snorkel will help me find my level position with the drills to get me higher in the water. The snorkel has helped me understand, that after practicing drills, I am not as low in the water as I used to be because the tip stays above the surface. I hope that answers your question.

If you can roll 145 degrees (or even 180 degrees) and get air, I really don't see the advantage to using a snorkel. Rolling onto your back to breathe obviously isn't normal freestyle breathing, but neither is snorkel breathing.

What I would suggest, to progress to normal breathing, is the following:

1) Once you become comfortable with rolling to your interrupted breathing position, so that you can predict when your mouth and nose will be above the water, work on blowing air out through your nose as you roll to that position, so that your lungs are empty when you arrive at that position and you can immediately inhale quickly through your mouth.

2) As soon as you have filled your lungs with air, immediately roll back to your skate position and continue (spearskate, swingskate, or overswitch).

3) Once you become comfortable with this, focus on rolling just far enough to quickly take in a breath, then (without any pause) point your nose at the bottom again, rolling back to skate. See how little you can roll and still get a breath. Focus on inhaling through the corner of your mouth (what we call a "Popeye mouth"). Keep in mind that the faster you are moving, the less you are likely to need to roll, since your motion will create a pocket of air around your mouth through which you can breathe.


Bob

tobiasreischl 09-16-2015 08:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CoachBobM (Post 55142)
If you can roll 145 degrees (or even 180 degrees) and get air, I really don't see the advantage to using a snorkel. Rolling onto your back to breathe obviously isn't normal freestyle breathing, but neither is snorkel breathing.

What I would suggest, to progress to normal breathing, is the following:

1) Once you become comfortable with rolling to your interrupted breathing position, so that you can predict when your mouth and nose will be above the water, work on blowing air out through your nose as you roll to that position, so that your lungs are empty when you arrive at that position and you can immediately inhale quickly through your mouth. huawei g8 tasche

2) As soon as you have filled your lungs with air, immediately roll back to your skate position and continue (spearskate, swingskate, or overswitch).

3) Once you become comfortable with this, focus on rolling just far enough to quickly take in a breath, then (without any pause) point your nose at the bottom again, rolling back to skate. See how little you can roll and still get a breath. Focus on inhaling through the corner of your mouth (what we call a "Popeye mouth"). Keep in mind that the faster you are moving, the less you are likely to need to roll, since your motion will create a pocket of air around your mouth through which you can breathe.


Bob

Great suggestions and methods, thanks


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