I've been visiting the TI website on a daily basis for several months now. I just now registered in order to respond to this poll question. I apologize that my first post is somewhat whiny, but the "naming" question allows me to vent a bit about something that's been problematic for me since I started to try and make a committed attempt to pursue TI techniques. I've been swimming regularly (but without any coaching) for over 25 years. I bought a copy of the first edition of the yellow and blue book many years ago. I read bits and pieces of it, but never sat down and read it cover to cover. Having reached the "plateau" that it seems many TI swimmers encountered I decided to really get serious (but not grim) and try to improve (and enjoy) my swimming. My gripe is that as Terry notes ..."These changes carry the potential of introducing potential confusion". I'll say. In a few instances I've spent a good deal of time practicing a technique from the book or from a video only to discover in the forums that "we no longer teach that technique". I guess I'm not the first one to make this complaint, but it really has been frustrating and it also introduces a strange kind of uncertainty. I sometimes wonder now if I'm spending time on a drill or technique that I will later learn has been dropped or replaced. I've seen in the forums where advice has been given in terms of what video to look at first etc. It still seems that there is a lot of overlap in the materials and for the newcomer it's daunting. I've been considering purchasing more videos. I'm still not sure if "Easy Freestyle" and "Freestyle Made Easy" are the same thing. It would help a lot if there was some kind of a resource that listed all of the materials, when they were first introduced and perhaps put in an order or grouping that would help organize them. Perhaps it could be indicated which pages or chapters in the book(s) coincide (specifically) with specific lessons or sections of the videos. Perhaps some kind of glossary could clarify the names given to techniques. When they were introduced, how the names were chosen, if they've been altered or dropped over time. I bought the 2nd edition of the yellow and blue book in an effort to try and get a handle on things. I spent part of yesterday afternoon working on the zipper switch technique (which doesn't exist in the first edition). Now, after reading Terry's original post for this thread I discover that I'm still two name changes (zipper switch/zen switch/swing switch) behind...help. Even with the frustration I'm enjoying re-shaping my techniques and attitude and I will stick with it–and hopefully write some more positive posts.
As for the original question; stroke thoughts or focal points–I would opt for stroke thoughts simply in terms of clarity. The phrase "focal points" comes up often in a variety of contexts. In the TI book it is often advised to "focus on" this or that when practicing techniques. I think it would be best to chose names that are distinctive and less likely to be misunderstood. Frankly, I even think using "zen" as a term or adjective is not the best choice. I understand what it's meant to evoke (and again, I hope I'm not coming off as too much of a nit-picker) but "zen" is actually a specific thing. I would opt for chosing names that are as simple and clear as possible. It might be less poetic, but part of the beauty of poetry is that it can be open for interpretation–not the best idea (imho) for choosing short, clear, descriptive phrases.