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  #11  
Old 12-11-2016
Eric
 
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Lie on a bed on your stomach firstly with your head turned to the left then with your head turned to the right. See if you notice any difference in particular, if there is a side which feels more comfortable/natural or whether it feels exactly the same regardless of which side your head is resting.

The purpose of this is to determine whether there is any difference in the flexibility with regard to the rotation of your head.

Now, if it feels more comfortable or natural lying with your head turned to the left and awkward with your head turned to the right, then it's more likely than not you have less flexibility on the right.

How does this translate to your breathing and your stroke? Well to put it simply, your head is turning less on the right so your mouth can't clear the waterline to take a breath. The natural instinct will be to lift your head which will then cause your body to dip resulting in a loss of balance and stability. You will then lose your streamlining, and will need to start your left catch earlier to compensate.
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2016
Penguin Penguin is offline
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Good post, Eric.

You might try, bite my tongue, using a kick board. Turning your head first to one side, then the other. Feel the differences. Try to work through them. Do this for a few laps every time you go swimming. It took me a couple of weeks of this to have it not feel totally awkward, but it did help a lot.

Another thing is to go back and spend time breathing on your traditional side, thinking about and analyzing all the movements and feelings you find there. Then try to transfer them to the new side.

Look for differences in the spearing angle of the lead arm and differences in the catch timing.
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  #13  
Old 12-14-2016
Eric
 
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I'm interested to see what efdoucette discovered in assessing his flexibility.

However, in response to your suggestions:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin View Post
You might try, bite my tongue, using a kick board. Turning your head first to one side, then the other. Feel the differences. Try to work through them. Do this for a few laps every time you go swimming. It took me a couple of weeks of this to have it not feel totally awkward, but it did help a lot.
I would not recommend using a kick board for this reason.

When you spear your lead arm into the water, you aim for a 'target' below the surface of the water which is generally below the body line. I might add that this target will vary in depth depending on the each individual's shoulder flexibility but nevertheless it will be below the surface of the water. This is the skate position.

When you hold onto a kick board, your lead hand or hands if you are holding it with both hands, is/are above or at the surface of the water. Needless to say this will generally put the head, hip and legs in less than ideal, if not in incorrect positions.

Leaving the hips and legs aside, the head will be higher than the natural position when swimming whole stroke.

So it's not really an effective way to fix your breathing. And, you may well end up imprinting less than ideal techniques elsewhere in your stroke.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin View Post
Another thing is to go back and spend time breathing on your traditional side, thinking about and analyzing all the movements and feelings you find there. Then try to transfer them to the new side.

Look for differences in the spearing angle of the lead arm and differences in the catch timing.
Whilst this seems a logical approach it really depends on whether both sides of your body are equal in flexibility. This is something that needs to be determined and can't simply be assumed. Generally, the dominant side will be more flexible.

If both sides are completely equal in flexibility, then yes, you may try note the feeling on the compliant side and attempt to process the information and mirror it on the weak side. But this is difficult.

If flexibility is different on each side, then translating the feeling from one side to the other is pointless because the range of movement is different on each side. You may well attempt to do something which is possible on one side of the body but next to impossible on the other. To give you an example, think about someone who is right handed attempting to write with his left hand.



So where does this leave us?

The primary cause for difficulty in breathing is the lack of balance and stability.

When breathing, the body (the "vessel") is placed in a challenging position and this is where it is critical have control over the balance and stability the vessel. The more control you have, the more relaxed you will feel and this will give you more time to breathe.

My suggestion is to spend time on superman glide to work on balance. Skate to work on stability and re-enforce balance when in the rotated streamline position. Followed by skate, roll on to back to breathe, skate (SRS).

In the last drill SRS, it is important to execute the roll from skate to on your back in control and not just merely rolling onto your back and then back to skate. That is, you should able to be perform the roll at whatever speed you desire, fast or slow. At some point when there is sufficient control over the rolling action including the balance and stability of the body, you should practice stopping halfway through the roll such that the body is vertical.

I should add that kicking should kept to an absolute minimum.

When this can be comfortably achieved, not only will bilateral breathing will come naturally with little effort, but your whole stroke will improve significantly.
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  #14  
Old 12-14-2016
efdoucette efdoucette is offline
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Thanks for your interest and suggestions. I appreciate everyone's contribution and suggestions to help me with my swimming deficiencies.

Eric, I definitely have less flexibility turning my head to the right side, a stiffness on the right side neck muscles. So, I have begun mild neck stretching exercises.

I also have spent more time at the pool skating on my left armpit, rolling to my side / back for air. I notice that as I roll, after a second or so, I will bob to the surface. So I am not at the surface when I start my rotation to air but somewhat submerged, I think.

Anyway, I will take your suggestions to the pool today focusing on stability and balance and will work on that control drill, sounds great. This is exciting, I'm positive I can make this happen. A symmetrical rotation could be in my future.

Many thanks again Eric (from another Eric)
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2016
Eric
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efdoucette View Post
I notice that as I roll, after a second or so, I will bob to the surface. So I am not at the surface when I start my rotation to air but somewhat submerged, I think.
That is normal. Floating to the surface indicates that you are relaxed and starting to have control over the balance of your vessel. Please take note of the position of your hips and legs as you should try to have them float towards the surface of the water as well.

As for stretching exercises for your neck, it will help but unless you're at elite level swimming, it is not really necessary. Once you gain control over the balance and stability of your vessel, you will instinctively make the necessary adjustment to overcome the inflexibility of your neck.

And don't forget to practise on both sides. Balance and stability of your vessel plays a major role in your whole stroke and not just with breathing.

Keep me posted of your progress.
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  #16  
Old 01-18-2017
efdoucette efdoucette is offline
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Hello Eric, if you are still out there.
Bi-lateral breathing is coming along, slow but sure. I have been working on balance and control through skate and whole stroke, both sides, but more focus on my left armpit (weak side). Today was a good day, bi-lateral on my first 50M felt good (well much better), the next 50M a little more submerged and had to reach for breath a little more on my weak side. But overall it is progress. I then reverted to strong side breathing to get in my laps, then went back to SG and skate drills with more whole stroke mixed in. More work to do, thanks again for your assistance, I am happy with the progress.
Eric
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  #17  
Old 01-19-2017
Eric
 
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Hey Eric,

Good to hear you are making progress. You mentioned you feel a little submerged in your 2nd 50m. I feel it could be a result of tension introduced by you practicing something that is still challenging. This tension will decrease as your balance improves.

I suggest rather swimming 50m with bilateral breathing, try breathing 25m left side followed by 25m right side. Or for every 3 breaths on the left take one on the right so that you are always practicing breathing on your weak side.

On the non breathing strokes, take note to keep your head relaxed yet completely still and look straight down to the bottom of the pool as in the SG drill.

And of course keep up with the SG and skate drills.

Eric
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  #18  
Old 01-19-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Eric(s),

just some thoughts to be thrown in:

- some of my students have synchronized a deep head/body (one or both sides) with a little overrotation and a recovery elbow behind their scapular planes (And added tension to reaqch for air and not to let it come in...). Have a look in ZT's thread "Never leave the scapular plane") and watch yourself...

- Mat's hint: Imagine you're lying on thin surface of ice and wan't break through while stroking and getting forward.

- As in my own case it might be a little too deep spear. Go back to skate and look if you're left-right-symmetric and have in mind your hand's position as targets for spear.

- Play around with your breathing patterns with some more weight to your weak side. R-R-L-R-R-L... or similar for strokes or laps. If air gets lean try to get more often air on your weak side or just breath only on your weak side for some minutes.

Best regards,
Werner
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  #19  
Old 03-27-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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I don't how helpful or relevant this might be for you, but I've found that it's important to put my face back in the water immediately after quickly getting a breath on the breathing stroke. I had gotten in the habit of waiting for the recovering arm to pass my head on the way to the spear, and then turning my face back into the water along with the arm.

Now that I'm paying attention to putting my face back in the water immediately, I have felt like my torso is a much more stable platform, completely unrelated to the motion of turning my head to breathe, and my stroke is more symmetric. This makes my weak side breathing feel as good as my strong side breathing--I'm just more symmetrical and stable overall. Might be worth exploring for you to see if the same applies in your stroke.
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  #20  
Old 03-28-2017
CSM CSM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
I had gotten in the habit of waiting for the recovering arm to pass my head on the way to the spear, and then turning my face back into the water along with the arm.
Shoot... I do this too! Will work on it.
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