so many focal points - overload
I'm having trouble maintaining one focal point when training because I'm so aware that there are many areas to work on.
For example when trying to keep my head low to breathe, I can feel my lead hand slip, my kick is not right etc etc, with the result that is is hard to focus on just one thing.
So the question is ...... how is it best to train. One set of 3 repeats with one focal point, or one length of 25m on one point or one whole session on one focal point?
Thanks in advance.
As Charles is fond of saying - What do you think is the best way for you to practice?
Here he is probably right, this is a problem you can probably find your own best optimal solution but here are my thoughts anyway.
1. Prioritise how big an effect the focal point has on your swimming.
for example, focusing on not lifting the head is for me higher up the hierarchy of swimming faults than a straight arm recovery style.
Just as patient lead arm and not dropping the elbow on propulsion is much more important than the style of kick you do.
My own approach to these problems was to try to understand what all great swimmers had in common and what they had that was different.
Therefore its possible to swim great with a head forward position (ian thorpe, grant hackett), straight arm recovery (lots) or non synced stroke cycle (Rebecca addlington)
Its not possible to swim great without good balance and streamline or with windmill arms underwater or lifting the head to breath you just don't see it.
Once you have established which list your focal points are on, rank each list according to the impact they have on your whole stroke. E.g. if your balance is good but you struggle with 2 beat kick that will have less impact for you than a slipping lead hand.
Finally separate things you need to remember as opposed to things you need to learn. You may want to spend 6 sessions of keen focus learning bi-lateral breathing but its ok to swim 4x25 with a single focus each lap of things you need to remember,
e.g. mail slot entry, rotate with the hips, patient lead hand, tap big toes together to check you are not splitting your legs.
hope that helps.
I'm sure this does not conflict with Andy's advice.
Think of the TI pyramid.
You can happily start by working on Balance, and just stick with that. Or you can mix things up, but keep them in a ratio of 4 Balance practice sessions to 2 Streamline to 1 Propulsion. Or something like that - you get the idea.
Craig and Andy, thank you for the advice.
The fact that while focusing on breathing, you are aware of your hand and your kick going out, shows you are heading in the right direction. Rather than focusing on many points at once, you are lightly focusing on one while maintaining a light awareness of everything else. If you feel something going out you shift your focus back to that till it's under control. If one doesn't take it easy on themselves and keep a relaxed mental attitude,it's easy to become like the proverbial centipede who was walking along when someone asked him what his 87th leg was doing when his 23rd leg was moving forward,and he found he couldn't walk at all.
T.I. swimming is really brain and neural training. Watch a master muscian play. The reason they can do what they do is that through many hours of conscious training they have programed in all the individual components so that they are automatic, then they can let themselves go and feel the music.
The real trick with T.I. is taking what you have learned and being able to apply it to other areas of your life. In T.I. there is so much going on internally that it is a lifetime learning thing that you don't ever really " reach"
but you learn so much from along the way.If one doesn't realise this they can easily think they've "got it" when all they've really done is put together a few clever tricks.
Indeed it can be overwhelming. When I was first learning TI I made a long list of all the focal points. Believe me, it was a very long list! I wanted to get through all of them as quickly as possible. I would focus on that single focal point until I felt I had achieved competence then move to the next one. I got through some FPs in a few seconds and others are still on my list. I soon learned that only a few focal points were meaningful to me. I revisit those often, usually not more than 3 in a single workout session.
I have come to realize that my "list" is infinite. There are always new FP's to add in order to refine this move or that one. Accepting this as an ongoing task has allowed me to slow down and enjoy the exploration more- no more rushing through lists.
I hope this helps.
I always have a few FP's with me when I go to the pool. Then I let the process take me where it will. Holding on to one FP at a time is hard work but you must do the hard work to create connections in the brain. Make the repeats short. When you get bored or tired, use another FP for awhile. You can combine 2 ( even laps and odd laps) but that is about as much as my brain can manage.
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