Originally Posted by truwani
Thanks a lot for your reply! I understand the other areas you mention like the foot, but there is also a lot a personally do not grasp. Like for example that you can do an excellent 50m by totally relaxing: I then directly thinkof the wet noodle snaking its way through the water.
And if all muscles are prone to relaxation: when to tune and when to relax?
I also have the problem of feet cramps due to push offs.
Sometimes I have the impression of a faster but not harder lap when I am able to use my body as a sort of wip, throwing myself bevond my spear arm in a mix between turning and relaxing, unfortunately I do not grasp the details that would allow me to repeat this in a continuous way
You may be overthinking it. Muscles turn on/off to the brain's command to gross commands. "I want to walk" doesn't mean you think of every muscles' contractions to do it. You just do it.
Think of the cues we give you, the shapes of your body and limbs we like to see, the paths of the limbs we like to teach. Try to train your mind to learn the movements first so they look good, and are smooth in movement. We have dryland drills to help with that. In order to move the limbs faster, you'll naturally need to relax some body parts and create tension in others.
It may be hard to determine what is tensing and what is not. Often we are used to our bodies responding a certain way and can't figure out if something is tense. Thus we have produced some feedback tips, like with rag doll recovery arm - we ask you to wiggle the forearm/hand under the elbow to prove you've released tension there. In the spear, we say spear with relaxed hand and droopy fingers. When you spear, are your fingers like steel daggers or are they somewhat droopy?
In your comment above - i go back to the fact that "relaxing" is a cue. It can be overused. Be aware of that - you will need some tension to hold body shape and perform movement. As you learn swimming, you will learn exactly how much tension this is and how much you need during various phases of the stroke, as well as how to tune that up and down given your stroke tempo.
Trying to swim a 50m like a wet noodle is doable, but most likely not efficient or the best 50m you could ever swim. Say instead "fluid" or "flowing" so that you look graceful as you swim through the water. Terry likes to say "gain fluency with the water". There is a lot implied with these statements including a level of relaxation, but it also implies strength and skill. If a dancer flows through their routine, do we say they are totally relaxed? No - we can see it in their muscles which are typically very defined and we see them contracting those muscles as they move.
So try to use more gross interpretations of movement and shape to govern your training, rather than wondering about every little detail. There are things we like to point out (ie. rag doll arm, droopy fingers) for you to confirm your "correctness" but we don't like to get too deep and you don't have much control over individual muscles anyways.