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  #21  
Old 12-14-2009
drone drone is offline
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For the last three or four years, I have been swimming regularly (2-5k) three to four times weekly, alternating between breast and crawl, always aiming for the least disturbance in water possible. I don't swim quickly - about 2.2k per hour, but I can function in the real world when I'm finished.
In February 2009, by complete chance, a DVD in my local library caught my attention - Freestyle Made Easy - which I borrowed, and which became the single most transformative catalytic moment since I began swimming about 47 years ago.
I watched the video, and for the first time in my life, did nothing but drills for one and a half months. I then gradually made the transition to whole stroke, imperfectly at first, returning to the video and fine-tuning elements that weren't working. At this point, I haven't tried swimming more than 3k in straight TI freestyle, but I'm confident that it will not be a problem. I've taken almost four months off swimming this year, due to two 2 month stretches in a cast, but know that the imprinting has worked to the point that when I return sometime this week, it will come back pretty quickly.
There are no local teachers here in Ottawa, Canada, and I would consider taking a trip for some onsite TI training to tighten up areas which I can't see myself. Furthermore, it seems to me that Canada could use a whole lot more TI instructors... so, hey... I might look into that as well, since I have been preaching the TI gospel to anybody who will listen, directing them to this site, and YouTube postings. Thanks, Terry. Cheers, Greg

Last edited by drone : 07-06-2010 at 03:54 PM.
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  #22  
Old 12-15-2009
ames ames is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Inca
One of the key lessons I've taken from reading about Mastery is that excellent performers are intensely error-focused in their practice.
They design their practice to do the following:
1) Look for a weak spot by putting themselves on the fine edge of equipoise between skill and difficulty.
2) Develop a strategy to make it better.
3) Practice the fix -- patiently, mindfully, tirelessly -- until the new improved skill is robust enough to resist breakdown.
4) Look for another error to fix, skill to improve.

The only bad thing about errors is ignoring them. Finding and fixing errors is essential to improving.
The Introducing NLP book I mentioned calls this the TOTE model of learning: Test-Operate-Test-Exit
Test--Compare your present state with your desired state
Operate--Perform an action to reduce the difference between the two states
Test--again to see if the desired state has been achieved, if no then try another action, if yes then
Exit--seems obvious but the book provides a good example of failing to do this... authors who write and rewrite but never publish--never get out of the loop.

The book adds: "So the journey from present state to desired state is not even a zig-zag after all, but a spiral.

There will probably be smaller loops like this going on within the larger one: smaller outcomes that you need to achieve the main one. The whole system fits together like a collection of Chinese boxes. In this model of learning, mistakes are useful, for they are results you do not want in this context. They can be used as feedback to get closer to your goal."

ames
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  #23  
Old 12-15-2009
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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My approach was/is the same that manofword and inca describe it. And I also had no one to watch and give me hints. I might add that jumping into full stroke was completely impossible for me. So I did drills a lot, I still do drills, I like drills. Which means in drills I imprint habits of parts of the movement which then are available when I do full-stroke. I am not fond of doing the whole thing and then refine or correct the details. At least for me and as a total beginner to freestyle the whole movement is way too complex and first imprinting a 'wrong' or not-quite movement and then correct it seems to be an inefficient approach.
But of great importance was to watch videos a lot, through watching videos I knew how it would feel like when it I was doing it right. And it proved to be like that: when I started with whole stroke, it was exactly the way I anticipated how it would be. So for me the the DVD was crucial. The drilling made it, but without the visual information from the video it would have been really hard.
I am this kind of systematical person, and I can learn just from theory or books. But there might of course be people for whom this does not work and they only learn when they do it.


I want to add something regarding our underlying subject here: how does the brain learn?


My wife is a physiotherapist specialized on craniocelebral-injury, or brain-trauma in other words. She spent years on learning how the brain learns. This is more the very basic principles, like how it works in children.I think these basic principle do still apply when we learn as adults, but we also have learned different and more efficient ways to learn. I think we also do learn how to learn while learning.

I am not an expert myself, but from what I know there are a few very basic principles that are crucial for learning. The first is usually not obvious to us I think, but can be nicely watched with small children: the brain needs to know the position of the body in space, it must be very certain not to fall. If it is comfortable with it's position, it will relax and will readily learn, if not it will try to counterack and run into panic if it can't managed. The brain will automatically and without our control correct our position. Your whole body system will run into a complete panic if the brain 'thinks' that you are falling. Take a small child swiftly up from a flat down position and you will immediatley see panic in it and it will start to cry. Put it down and move it a little bit: it relaxes. The cradle does exacly that, and you will see mothers all around the world moving their children to relax them. You can see small kids, and even we as grown-ups often do that: searching for niches. Leaning against a wall, in a corner, have a steady 'world' around is very relaxing. You can see children after they change their sitting position that they move around a bit on their butt until the brain is satisfied with the steady position.
The next principle is: resistance. The main basic input for the brain is haptic, the feel of the surface, exactly speaking it's resistance, more precise the change of resistance. Small kids take their toys and bang it on the ground. Show a small and complicated mechanic tool to children or adults and tell them to figure out what it does: almost everybody will immediately take it in the hand, start to move it around and feel it. Only very few people try to figure it out just by looking at it, most people can not. Speech only develops after the haptic experience. Kids will learn names of things after they could feel what it is.
There is lot of other stuff. For precise movements the crucial task is not to initiate the movement, but to stop it. Controlling a movement means being able to stop at a controlled pace, refining means to accelerate just enough and ending a movement gracefully.
And not to forget, it is very hard to learn when it is not fun. Fun makes it a lot easier, a principle that unfortunately is not always used in schools.

If we see the way we as grown-ups learn swimming we can still find those principles. First we have to convince the brain that we are not 'falling' in the water, additionally it's not only the fear of falling but also of drowning, absolutely life-threatening situations for the brain. So, gliding in the water to relax and give the brain an opportunity to learn that we are save. That is a very important message, without it we have no chance of relaxing.
Think of over-rotating in freestyle: I noticed that with myself, and others have reported that: the legs do a scissors like movement to counteract to the (possible) loss of balance, and we usually are not aware of it, people are surprised when they see it in a video. The brain does that on it's own, maintaining position is so crucial that it's almost impossible to stop the brain from correcting it.
Then resistance: water resistance. Exercise arm movements for freestyle in the air versus doing it in the water: in the water the brain learns a lot quicker from the haptic experience of the water resistance. I believe that in the air the brain will learn a different movement than in the water, and it might not even help at all to train water movements on earth.
So if we look at the 'Easy Freestyle' DVD Terry follows these principles. First Superman Glide to relax, and in the lessons movement exercise in the water. Highly effective way of learning.

Although those basic principle do always apply, I think we talk about something more advanced here. I think we can call that effectiveness, or experience. I noticed here in the forum when people talk about age it usually has a more or less subtle notion of deterioration, and I think age is mainly regarded as loosing. That might be due to our highly youth oriented society, but I do believe that this is a not only a not helpful view, but it also does not reflect the correct perspective. I regard age as experience and effectiveness, and there is no need for overwhelming muscle power and relentless activity. It might not be necessary to answer the question, whether effectiveness is a consequence of loosing physical power or the loss of physical power is a consequence of more effectiveness. The fact is we do learn easier, more effective and faster with growing age. Only if we strongly believe that we are unable to learn we will get unable to do so.
It might not be accidental that Terry is so much and more and more involved in effectiveness as growing older, and might not be without growing older.
And it might be that the 'study of excellence' does mean something else to a young person than to an older person.


Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
...
How we learn... ... NLP talks about the 3 main ways we perceive and organize information: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic... when you can include all three the impact is more powerful and memorable.
I believe that the kinesthetic approach will always involve haptic, and I also believe that there is no learning without the kinesthetic approach.

Last edited by haschu33 : 12-17-2009 at 09:10 AM.
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  #24  
Old 12-15-2009
inca inca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
If we see the way we as grown-ups learn swimming we can still find those principles. First we have to convince the brain that we are not 'falling' in the water, additionally it's not only the fear of falling but also of drowning, absolutely life-threatening situations for the brain. So, gliding in the water to relax and give the brain an opportunity to learn that we are save. That is a very important message, without it we have no chance of relaxing..
I know I spoke about the necessity of relaxing and feeling very comfortable in the water before swimming in my previous post, but just to highlight again how important this is: Since beginning to learn how to swim, I have always used a smaller pool with the deepest water being under 5 feet. I had progressed to the point where this pool was too small for me (in length) because I could swim from one end to the other easily without taking a breath. I tried to learn proper breathing but couldn't be sure if I was because even if I was not getting enough air I wouldn't feel it. So I had no choice but to go into the regular pool with deeper water. Of course, I was nervous because I do not have sculling/treading skills. Although I had no problem in the shallow pool doing a very good stroke, rolling to my back easily, etc, I am having an awful time. And, I realize that the only difference is that I am now nervous/tense all over again. Once I can get myself comfortable being in this pool, I can think of progressing again. Before that it is futile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
The fact is we do learn easier, more effective and faster with growing age. Only if we strongly believe that we are unable to learn we will get unable to do so.
I also could not agree with this more. I am 56 and just began learning how to swim this past summer. I got all my info from TI here (By now I have finally ordered my DVD, which I just received today....Excellent, quick service, Terry!) on the internet. People are simply amazed. They find it very difficult to believe that I could do this at my age. I can't believe their reaction. This is absolutely not physically taxing. so why are they so surprised?
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  #25  
Old 12-16-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drone View Post
There are no local teachers here in Ottawa, Canada, and I would consider taking a trip for some onsite TI training to tighten up areas which I can't see myself. Furthermore, it seems to me that Canada could use a whole lot more TI instructors... so, hey... I might look into that as well
Greg
It is one of our ongoing frustrations that a homegrown TI-CAN has not sprung up -- as it has in places as far-flung as Poland. Israel, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Australia. Mostly anglophone and right next door. How can this be?

So we always welcome interest from neighbors to the north who might like to become TI teachers.

In the short term, we have two excellent TI teachers in Lake Placid, perhaps 3 hours drive from Ottawa? Shane Eversfield and my daughter Betsy. And they teach in an Endless Pool, which has proven itself as the nonpareil place to learn swimming skills.

Contact Betsy at: betsy@totalimmersion.net
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  #26  
Old 12-16-2009
terry terry is offline
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My approach was/is the same that manofword and inca describe it. And I also had no one to watch and give me hints. I might add that jumping into full stroke was completely impossible for me.
At this point it's easier for me to relate to Haschu's experience via my efforts to learn skating-style x-c skiing. I'd been doing classic for perhaps 8 years, always on a rail trail behind my house. It was easy to learn, mostly just shuffling at first. It was only near the end I learned the much more dynamic -and enjoyable - kick and glide.

I'd heard about the skating technique but never seen anyone do it because my skiing was usually solo. Then we went to Lake Placid to ski on the 1980 Olympic course at Mt Van Hoevenburg and I saw people skating with high skill for the first time. It was one of the most mesmerizing things I'd ever seen. I knew instantly that I needed to experience what that felt like.

I rented a set of skate-skis and gave it a try. I couldn't even move 3 feet. My feet just scrabbled helplessly against the snow. So I signed up for lessons, with my wife and 3 daughters. We took a 90-minute group class, progressing through 5 basic drills to actual skiing. They all learned quickly and easily and went off to ski. I was awful at the first drill - gliding on a single ski in a track cut for classic, while pushing off with the unshod foot. Having failed to get the first drill, my efforts became increasingly hapless with each successive drill.

So when they went off to ski an actual loop of the easiest course, I took off one ski and went back to the track. I practiced this - and all subsequent drills - in precisely the same way I worked on swim drills. As soon as I felt fatigue breaking my coordination I would stop, take 5 deep breaths, then resume. I continued this way, gradually building from 20m to 30m to 40m etc. between rest breaks. When I could ski the full length of the stadium field - perhaps 200m - nonstop without fatigue on each foot, I put the other ski on and progressed to the 2nd drill. I had spent at least 90 minutes on the simplest drill that everyone else seemed to master effortlessly in 5 or 10 minutes.

I continued this way through every subsequent drill and, since then, have never failed to spend at least 15 minutes doing tuneup exercises on the stadium infield before heading out to ski loops.

Eight years later I'm the most accomplished skier in the family. Learning slowly helps me remember well. I would never have learned this skill without the drills. But I'm also a very patient, process-oriented person . . . and have always needed this patience to learn sports skills.

A PS to this is that I've since noticed that those I see most faithfully doing tuneup drills on the stadium infield at Mt Van Ho are the best skiers. And those I see just going out to ski laps, without drills or tuneups, are the run of the mill skiers.

(Little or no skiing for me this year though. My focus will be almost entirely on swimming, preparing for the Maui Channel in March, Tampa Bay Marathon in April, Catalina Channel in June and English Channel in August.)
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My TI Story
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  #27  
Old 12-16-2009
terry terry is offline
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Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
I regard age as experience and effectiveness, and there is no need for overwhelming muscle power and relentless activity. It might not be necessary to answer the question, whether effectiveness is a consequence of loosing physical power or the loss of physical power is a consequence of more effectiveness. The fact is we do learn easier, more effective and faster with growing age.
This is one of the most eloquent and informative posts I've ever seen on the TI Forum. I look forward to meeting you in person (wish I could meet all of you in person) on my first visit to Germany.

For me, the potential to be a Kaizen Learner - to steadily improve your learning capacity - with age is the most empowering and hopeful aspect of life experience. It is so evident, in observing those among my Masters contemporaries, how steady is the decline when they rely on sheer physical effort to swim well. Those capacities do decline.

But if you can improve your perception, sensitivity, touch, coordination and concentration enough, you can nearly balance out whatever is lost in aerobic or muscle power. And in some cases actually get better with age.

And one reason I feel particularly fortunate to be a swimmer is that I'm convinced it offers unmatched potential to maintain your performance level through greater efficiency and effectiveness. In land sports, performance is so much a battle against gravity, and there is really no way to finesse gravity.

In the water, you are solving a wide range of problems, balance, stability, drag, elusive traction. And virtually every one of them can be finessed.

Swimming is aging-appropriate for more reasons than being low-impact.
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  #28  
Old 12-18-2009
HandsHeal HandsHeal is offline
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The co-founders of NLP believed that four essential patterns of behavior underlie success in an endeavor:

1) the ability to set specific goals and outcomes
2) the behavioral flexibility to attain specified goals and outcomes
3) the sensory acuity to be responsive to feedback and to adjust current behavior and/or goals that are not working
4)self-maintenance to be able to monitor one's internal state and make adjustments as needed

NLP techniques change behavior by modifying internal representations (visual, kinesthetic, etc), with representations that can best aid the attainment of desired goals.

Clearly, TI already has a unique and proven method for teaching individuals how to swim better. TI has developed and disseminates practically the whole enchilada for swimmers worldwide. Anyone from novice to experienced Marathon swimmer can find improvements using TI methods and philosophies.

Both the swimmer and TI coaching have significant roles in practicing the four NLP patterns of behavior. In my opinion, TI holds a golden chalice of experience and insights and is therefore positioned better than individuals for determining and teaching the modified internal representations that will improve swimming behaviors.

My internal representations include visual snippets from observing good swimmers. As well, I really appreciate Coach Terry's choice descriptors. Words and phrases like, “Yeilding to the water”, “Feather feel”, “Soft Hook”, “Mindfulness” and others have influenced modifications to my stroke.

There is a thread response by Terry where he says,
Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
to swim farther, you strive to improve your economy so you can sustain your pace without fatigue. One -- among many --things you may do to swim more efficiently is slightly increase rotation. But your thought isn't "now I have to rotate more" it's "now I have to swim with more ease.
With this comment I began to realize the magnitude of TI's undertaking. “Ease” has a rather abstract meaning. That stroke thought might not be generally effective, because of the wide variation in skill levels, and thus internal representations, coming to TI. By analogy, we would not give our 15 year old child the car keys on the day they get their learner's license and say, “Okay, go - and drive carefully.” Swimming with 'ease”, or driving “carefully”, doesn't have the same internal representation to a novice versus a seasoned swimmer, or driver.

The newcomer to swimming needs to be taught, for instance, first how to float, then all the fundamental mechanics, then coordination, and so forth. Then, and only then, can they begin to put those fundamentals together with the advanced stroke thought, internal representation, of “swim with Ease.”

I'm looking forward to ever more interesting internal representations to consider, and methods to modify them, that flow from the Kaizen thinkers at TI headquarters.

Happy Strokes,
HandsHeal

Last edited by HandsHeal : 12-18-2009 at 03:26 PM. Reason: spelling correction
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  #29  
Old 12-19-2009
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
This is one of the most eloquent and informative posts I've ever seen on the TI Forum.
I have some problems to accept this but I do appreciate :-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
I look forward to meeting you in person (wish I could meet all of you in person) on my first visit to Germany.
Will be my pleasure, I am looking forward!
And you might get the opportunity to get a ride in a 08 Volkswagen Bus which is not available in the US as far as I know.

Just let me know when you are coming.
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  #30  
Old 12-19-2009
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haschu33 View Post
I have some problems
to accept this
but I do appreciate :-)

Will be my pleasure, I am looking forward!
And you might get the opportunity to get a ride in a 08 Volkswagen Bus which is not available in the US as far as I know.

Just let me know when you are coming.

appreciate it and
do accept it!
Writing is a very strong suit for you!

Last edited by splashingpat : 12-21-2009 at 09:42 PM.
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