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  #1  
Old 05-18-2012
jon_c jon_c is offline
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jon_c
Default Expectations with balancing

Hi, I've just started TI today and spent my first hour in the water trying to balance on my back. There are a couple of things I observed that I don't know if it's to be expected or not:

1. On my back, unless I kicked my legs, my hips and legs would leave the surface and sink to the pool bottom.

2. Upon kicking my legs, my lower half no longer sank, but I got absolutely zero propulsion forward. In fact I gradually went backwards. I was trying to focus on starting the move from the hip joint but really had no success. I noticed that turning on my stomach and kicking however I got forward propulsion, so I'm thinking I must still be kicking by bending the knees too much. Does that sound right?

I have quite tight hip flexors which makes it hard for me to get my hips to the surface, even if my chest and knees are. I'm also quite middle heavy, big hips, bum and thighs. Am I in for a hard time?

What mechanically is causing forward propulsion with the kick? Is it like cracking a whip where a pulsing travels from hip to toe, the pulse pushing against the water. Something like the wave a breakdancer might do from wrist across their shoulders to the other wrist? Or is it more stiff like a Japanese fan, which pivots from a point and throws air outwards to cool?
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2012
janedoemuc janedoemuc is offline
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janedoemuc
Default Re: Expectations with balancing

Swimming is IMO not a question of the body form but more a question if you are aware what you are doing with your body in the water and feel what the water is doing with you and respond accordingly in order to what you want to achieve. Wouldn't say that you will have any more hard time than anybody else. ;o)

I would try not to have expectations about anything but try to experience what the water and the drills offer you as a learning experience.

If you are going backward instead of forward I would check
1) the flexibility of the ankles
2) where are the toes pointing and
3) where is the movement focus of the feet.

My suggestions would be
1) flexibility of your ankles: keep them relaxed and moving with the water resistance.
2) try to point your toes in the opposite swimming direction (avoid pointing your toes in direction of your knees); avoid overdoing; it might result in muscle cramps of the sole of the foot;
3) try to focus to move the water with the dorsum of the foot (avoid kicking with your heel)

Anyway I would not try to force it. Water is more powerful than you. If you hit it, it hits you back. ;o)

Try to stay as relaxed as possible but keep being streamlined and make yourself as tall as possible.

I am not sure, where your hip flexors kick in when you are lying on your back... I suppose you can stand straight on solid ground and you do not have any problem with your hip flexors there. Same goes if you lie in your bed on your back. Why should you have a problem with your hip flexors lying on your back in the water? (Maybe I got sth wrong?)

If your chest and your knees are surfacing then I would guess you are missing some body tension in the middle.

To get some more "tension" in the middle (core area) I think it helps too, if you make yourself as long as possible, streamline, rest your head in the water (as on a soft pillow). Try to find balance in that position. You may play with the position of your head a bit and try to feel what the rest of your body does, when you put your head deeper into the water (until the water is touching your goggles) or lifting it. You can also try to straighten up (w/o "clenching") first on solid ground and then take that feeling into the water.

Hope that helps and improves your balance and forward movement a bit. Good luck & have fun.

Only my 2 cents. Cheers. janedoemuc
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2012
jon_c jon_c is offline
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jon_c
Default

Thanks, I'll take your advice on board.

So should one be able to be able to float on their back on the surface, including legs without kicking or movement?

Last edited by jon_c : 05-20-2012 at 04:38 AM.
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2012
MakoMike MakoMike is offline
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jon_c,
You can't float on the surface without kicking or sculling if your hands are by your sides. If you extend both hands above your head it gets easier, but to float without your feet sinking at all you have to extend your hands above your head then lift your arms so your hands are slightly out of the water, and also have your lungs fairly well inflated. Also you have to have your head submerged except for your face. Women float far better than men and I guess different people vary in this but that's how it is for me anyway. In my opinion you can improve a leg kick with practice but a lot of people are never going to be able to get much propulsion from their legs because of lack of ankle flexibility and general leg shape.
Mike

Last edited by MakoMike : 05-20-2012 at 06:03 PM.
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2012
bret.moffett bret.moffett is offline
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bret.moffett
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I think you need a little propulsion to work on the balance drills, at least I did. When I started TI, my kicking, like yours, actually took me backwards! I later learned this was because I was "pawing" the water -- imagine a bull pawing the ground. I overcame this problem in two ways. First, I bought a small pair of fins. They helped me immensely because they showed me how it felt to kick correctly and they gave me a little propulsion. The propulsion allowed me to work on the drills and progress further. I would not recommend using the fins for long though, just long enough to get the "aha" moment. Second, I improved my kick by going into the deep end of the pool, folding my arms on my chest, and using only my kick staying afloat. You can only do this if your kick is correct and it is much more intuitive to kick for me to kick in this position than flat on my back. Good luck.
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2012
Zanna Zanna is offline
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Zanna
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My kick would tend to make me go backwards also, and I would second the use of fins for drills if you have this issue.
As for floating on my back, I can have my hands at my sides and no problem with keeping my feet up. I just push on against my upper back.
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  #7  
Old 05-21-2012
jon_c jon_c is offline
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This is all very helpful, thanks to all above.
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2012
jon_c jon_c is offline
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jon_c
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Woohoo, second session today and I started going forwards! Most excited. I had glimpses of quite strong propulsion but can't reproduce at will yet. But it's there!

Started doing sweet spot too today, the forward propulsion was a lot stronger.
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  #9  
Old 05-22-2012
janedoemuc janedoemuc is offline
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janedoemuc
Default Re: Expectations with balancing

Quote:
Originally Posted by jon_c View Post
Woohoo, second session today and I started going forwards! Most excited. I had glimpses of quite strong propulsion but can't reproduce at will yet. But it's there!

Started doing sweet spot too today, the forward propulsion was a lot stronger.
Congrats! Keep up the good work. ;o)
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  #10  
Old 05-23-2012
jon_c jon_c is offline
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jon_c
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Thanks, I'll be one happy swimmer if I'll be able to swim without resting at each turn and exhausting 5 different strokes to get there.
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