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  #1  
Old 01-17-2013
aquarius aquarius is offline
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aquarius
Default Bad side blues

Since I started swimming (a little over 3 years ago), I've always breathed bilaterally. And I've always had a bad side (left). I've done my nodding drills, and more of them on by bad side (generally in a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1). But I think I'm not really improving it because I don't know what the real cause is. So I'm wondering if anyone has pinned this down. Could it be less flexibilty in the neck on one side? Or less rotation? Or a problem in the stroke on one side? Or with the recovery? Or what? What are the drills, besides nodding, that can help?

By the way, does one's bad side have to do with handedness?

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi aquarius

You raise interesting questions and I'm afraid I don't really know the definite answer to any of them, but I believe that your last question can be answered in the negative. I don't think there is any firm correlation between handedness and breathing side. Generally, I believe, a beginner will find out very quickly which side he or she is most comfortable breathing on and as far as I know nobody has determined what factors enter into it, but I am fairly sure I have read that there is no connection with handedness. Certainly in my own case, as a right-handed left side breather, there is none.

Neck flexibility may be an issue, as you surmise, as can shoulder girdle range of motion, which in my case seems to be limited on the right hand side. This could be related to the shape of the spine but as far as I know I have no spinal abnormalities. Old sports injuries could be a factor as well - I can remember diving into a pool at the seaside that was not as deep as I thought and being very lucky not to do serious damage and also taking a rather hard fall in Judo on the point of my right shoulder, but I suspect that the main problem is in the nervous system. Years of breathing to the left side has set up a pattern that is very hard to change. In your case since you have been breathing to your good side for fewer years the habit may not be so deeply ingrained.

I think swimming with one arm only is a good drill to add to the nodding drill, incidentally I don't know if others from this side of the Atlantic find the use of the term nodding odd for a sideways motion of the head, which is called shaking the head here while nodding is in the vertical plane. It always strikes me as a funny use of the word, but now I know what it means it doesn't bother me too much.

I have found that breathing to the side of the working arm is much easier than breathing to the opposite side (the so-called unco drill), but I have read that the unco version is more valuable. I guess that perseverance is the answer.
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  #3  
Old 01-17-2013
aquarius aquarius is offline
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Thank you, Richard. The term "nodding" is indeed very strange, and if I hadn't read the description I wouldn't have the faintest idea of what it meant in this context. I don't think it can have this meaning in any variety of English, except perhaps TI-English.

Interesting to know it has nothing to do with handedness.

I'll try the one arm drills.
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  #4  
Old 01-17-2013
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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We all know complicated skills are quite hard to do with the wrong hand, e.g. writing, drawing, kicking a ball, driving on the wrong side of the street and car.

but simple things are also uncomfortable, almost everyone puts their trousers on with a leading leg and t shirts with a leading arm, deliberately do the opposite, its possible but feels strange.

I can ski from side to side with competent enough form to hit the gates of a slalom course but its still easier to turn left than right.

And yet this is all psychological, how quickly can someone who loses their dominant hand learn to write with the other, a matter of months? interesting stuff.

I'm attempting session 2 of my 400m intervals tonight but tomorrow I'll be back on the bi-lateral training.
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  #5  
Old 01-17-2013
Josefish Josefish is offline
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Hola amigos,

It looks like breathing by the "bad side" for 6 / 7 continued sessions, may make us to get used to it easly.
I read it in "swimsmooz"....Don't know if it will be effective.

Jose
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  #6  
Old 01-17-2013
tsumrall tsumrall is offline
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Maybe it's mobility, but maybe not so much in your neck but someplace else you don't think much about...

Your neck might need more mobility OR perhaps it has plenty of mobility but your rotation is not coordinated properly. You shouldn't have to turn the head too much (depending on how fast you're swimming too). Another possibility is that your nervous system is telling certain muscles to activate to "protect" you and that is restricting your shoulder or your head or neck or all of them. (By the way, you don't really need protecting-it's just a automatic involuntary nervous system response to an uncomfortable movement.)

Check your thoracic spine mobility. The thoracic spine is the connection between your head and your hips, your shoulders and your legs. If not functioning properly, it can "quietly" inhibit your swimming, even on one side. Do you sit for a living? Do you sit very much? Try this test that is pictured in this blog, you can read the article if you want to, but, in my opinion, it is not the best one out there. I just wanted to link a picture of this test for you...


http://blog.paddlingcoach.com/how-to...bility-strongl
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Last edited by tsumrall : 01-17-2013 at 08:32 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2013
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquarius View Post
Since I started swimming (a little over 3 years ago), I've always breathed bilaterally. And I've always had a bad side (left). I've done my nodding drills, and more of them on by bad side (generally in a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1). But I think I'm not really improving it because I don't know what the real cause is. So I'm wondering if anyone has pinned this down. Could it be less flexibilty in the neck on one side? Or less rotation? Or a problem in the stroke on one side? Or with the recovery? Or what? What are the drills, besides nodding, that can help?

By the way, does one's bad side have to do with handedness?

Thanks.
For me, it has to do primarily with the fact that I was originally taught to breathe on only one side, and swam exclusively that way for many years. In fact, I was unable to breathe to my "bad" side - at all - when I attended a TI weekend workshop in February of 1999, and one of the biggest breakthoughs that happened that weekend was that I came out of it breathing on both sides.

But I'm still slightly more comfortable breathing on my "good" side, and it stems from the fact that I'm not doing it in exactly the same way on the two sides. One thing I noticed several years ago is that when I was breathing on my good side, my eyes were looking back in the direction from which I had come, whereas when I was breathing to my bad side, my eyes were looking toward the side of the pool. I tried focusing on looking back when breathing on my bad side in much the same way that I did when breathing on my good side, and I began feeling less uncomfortable when breathing on my bad side.

So I'd suggest that you try to mentally compare what you're doing when you're breathing on the two sides and identify subtle differences.


Bob
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2013
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hi Andy,

Quote:
...And yet this is all psychological, how quickly can someone who loses their dominant hand learn to write with the other, a matter of months? interesting stuff. ...
When I'd gone to school as pupil There was a teacher who lost one arm (his right) in WW2. He told us it took him five years to get readable handwriting again (with his less dominant hand)... But the new looked far better than his old...

For some of us there's a parallel in freestyle: When breathing to our "bad side" we sometimes do need a stroke or half less than on the better felt side. (Alternating laps from Hashu33's advice...). Curious, isn't it?

Regards,
Werner
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2013
sinker sinker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBobM View Post

"So I'd suggest that you try to mentally compare what you're doing when you're breathing on the two sides and identify subtle differences."


Bob
Right on, Coach

I am a left side only breather altho I have tried unsuccessfully to breathe to the right. I am so comfortable with the status quo that I have put off the time and effort necessary to breathe right, preferring to get more "bang for the buck" by spending time on what I consider more pressing improvements.

I have noticed, though, that I rotate more to the left than the right. At times I need to focus on getting a little more right rotation, as I am almost flat in the water and my recovering fingertips sometimes skim the water while my left hand fingertips never do this.

I also know that my left hand stroke is, in a difficult to describe way, a little different than the right.

The time is soon coming when I will begin to work on this area also, Aquarius, and I think that we will succeed if we follow Coach Bob's advice.
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  #10  
Old 01-19-2013
aquarius aquarius is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsumrall View Post

Check your thoracic spine mobility. The thoracic spine is the connection between your head and your hips, your shoulders and your legs. If not functioning properly, it can "quietly" inhibit your swimming, even on one side. Do you sit for a living? Do you sit very much? Try this test that is pictured in this blog, you can read the article if you want to, but, in my opinion, it is not the best one out there. I just wanted to link a picture of this test for you...


http://blog.paddlingcoach.com/how-to...bility-strongl
Thanks.

Doesn't this test have more to do with shoulder flexibility? In any case, I see no difference between both sides.
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