I spent the last weeks working hard - I didn't have too much time for the pool, but spent the time working on catch/pull timing in my hometown 50m pool. It didn't seem to work out, my SPL was constantly above 40, often in the late 40s. Anybody in the pool seemed to be faster than me, even those with the worst technique. Kind of frustrating.
Today - as a contrast - I had a great session in the pool. Everything felt easy, very rhythmic, and I had a constant SPL of 18 (it was a 25m pool for change) as if it was carved in stone throughout a wide range of tempo. And I was the fastest in the fast lane.
My only focus was on entering my front hand very relaxed into the water, drive it forward with the kick and cover lots, lots of ground while spearing forward.
Only when I got faster than 0.95 I started to add strokes. At one point another guy pushed off the wall with me and he really tried hard to outswim me. Of course it was beneath my dignity to increase my stroke rate (I think I was at 1.1 with the TT) and it was beneath my dignity that he would outswam me. So I started to focus even more on covering more and more ground with every stroke while maintaining the rate and ended at the wall way before him with an SPL of 16.
It was one of these days where you know why you do all of this 'hard work' in drills etc, it was just enjoyment. And, if I might add, it seems that it is hard to get there without TI. And, I am quite sure about this, it is impossible to get there without TI when you don't have a coach or training buddies at hand and have to learn freestyle from the scratch all by yourself just from DVD and forum support.
Before I get carried away too much ;-) my point in fact are some questions.
In the last weeks I focused on timing, catch, and pull, and it didn't seem to work out. Today I didn't focus on timing, catch and pull, and it did work out. I don't know what was not ok when it didn't work out, and I don't know what I actually did today, or did differently, that worked out.
I had some thoughts about it, and I am wondering if someone else also noticed these points:
- Sometimes when you practice a certain aspect of the stroke it doesn't seem to improve on a day by day basis. But in the long run it does change your swim (for good) and it seems it was a good investment - although it didn't feel like that while you worked on it.
- Sometimes you practice a certain aspect and put your focus on it, but it doesn't seem to improve. Then, when you put your focus on something else, it suddenly works out.
- When you swim at faster speeds, focusing on catch and pull does not improve it. But putting your focus on anything but catch and pull always gives better to best results.
Any comments appreciated.
Ah, fun day at the pool.
If the thing you're focusing on is new, it's normal to take a step back in terms of various metrics. Is that what you mean, or are you saying that as a focus point, catch/pull timing isn't doing much? I would have to guess that something more essential is deteriorating while you're doing this practice. (And it comes back when you focus on driving forward and increasing your DPS.)
Hi Haschu, in my own practice I focus on thinking beyond the catch at all times. I think if you try to swim TI with your catch as the main focus then you are behind the stroke, for want of a better phrase. I know we are trying to rotate past the fulcrum point of our catch, but the catch should occur almost unconsciously with the emphasis on the connection between hip and leading arm. As an experiment, next time you go to the pool do lengths with the main focal point being recovery using your lat muscles not your shoulders, and let the catch just happen for now. You want to recover and roll the shoulder using your back muscles. Enter the water under control with no splashing and then extend. Kick as you near full extension and let your hip drive the leading arm to its full extension. You are moving faster through the water doing this, and consequently you are able to catch the elusive viscosity of the water more easily.
i've found in the past that if I focus too much on catch then I start to lift my head as I want to look at what's going on, then my legs drop and my SPL goes up.
My local pool has closed for annual maintenance now so I guess its lake season, just doesn't feel warm enough.
think this is a pure neurological phenomenon. It happens unconsciously and may not directly be influenced by focus-work. The small pieces which have been imprinted by focusing have to fall together in their individual correct places. And just this may happen if you're just not focusing on them. (But it will never happen if you never imprinted them by focus-work in one ore the other way.)
Seems to me it's an analogy to learning a poem, reading and reading it again and never remember the whole piece. It might help to put the book under your pillow before sleep. But you'll never learn the poem if the book under your pillow is your only work with it...
PS: You know I'm not neurobiologist so take it at most as 2ct....
Thanks for your comments, folks, thats very helpful.
tomoy, I don't think focusing on catch/pull timing isn't doing much, but that while focusing on it it didn't show immediate results.
Except for the usage of lats for recovery - I wouldn't know how to feel the difference and I am not so sure how that works anyway... The recovery should show Scapular retraction and then Scapular elevation, upward rotation, internal rotation, maybe circumduction, and probably some more. There is very little engagement of the lats in the recovery, isn't it? (quite opposite to the catch/pull). When I swim longer or faster the first muscles that get tired are my trapezoids (the superior part, that what you can feel from top between shoulder and neck) while trying to maintain a high elbow.
How about a swim in the next days... with your camera :-)) ?
Thanks anyway, I had a short session in the pool today and maintained that focus and rhythm. It gave me SPLs of 37 to 43, which quite much correspond to my average 18 I had in the 25 m pool.
Hang on in there...
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