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  #11  
Old 08-22-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by zerdna View Post
I know that this is THE first thing that has to be done right, but i am still not sure that i am doing it right. Problem for me is that there are seem to be two types of advice that i am having trouble combining
1. Neck should be relaxed and weight of the head supported by the water
2. Head should be aligned with the spine as when standing straight touching the wall with the head, back, and heels

Thing is that when i try to relax the neck and let the head go, it moves down, away from alignment with the spine in this straight 'back to door' position. I think there is some trick or point i am still missing. Could someone clue me in on how you guys do it?
the term "relax" is loaded. you obviously can't relax until you're jello because then you would be a floppy piece of flesh in the water.

we use a number of cues to train you. often these cues may cue you beyond where you need to go in order to get you to the proper place. so most people are over tensioned when they swim; when we ask them to relax, they usually relax to the right place.

some people relax to the point of no tension. that is good in one sense - you can follow instructions perfectly! but now let's take that back to how much you really should be relaxed.

i like to describe the level of relaxation as:

the minimal amount of tension required to hold a position firmly during movement.

so as you found out, *totally* relaxing the neck is not what you want. your head drops down too far. so you must have some minimal neck tension to hold it in place. you just need to figure out how much that is.

another way i like to think about it is, you want "flexible tension". that is enough tension to hold position but still allows you to move and is not tension that wipes your muscles out, or makes so too stiff that you cannot move or react to changing conditions.

now as for balance, i would watch Coach Mandy's SwimVICE video and play with all elements (ie. are you lifting your head up? spear depth, actively pressing the front of your body, velocity, etc.) that can affect your balance positively, but keep your head in alignment with your spine.

if you feel so inclined, definitely posture improvement strategies and exercises will help with this but are probably beyond the scope of a forum post. I would encourage you to look at:

Gokhale Method http://www.gokhalemethod.com
Foundation Training http://foundationtraining.com/
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2013
wie wie is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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wie
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Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
i like to describe the level of relaxation as:

the minimal amount of tension required to hold a position firmly during movement.

so as you found out, *totally* relaxing the neck is not what you want. your head drops down too far. so you must have some minimal neck tension to hold it in place. you just need to figure out how much that is.
Thank you!
This is very helpful.
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2013
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
some people relax to the point of no tension. that is good in one sense - you can follow instructions perfectly! but now let's take that back to how much you really should be relaxed.

i like to describe the level of relaxation as:

the minimal amount of tension required to hold a position firmly during movement.

so as you found out, *totally* relaxing the neck is not what you want. your head drops down too far. so you must have some minimal neck tension to hold it in place. you just need to figure out how much that is.

another way i like to think about it is, you want "flexible tension". that is enough tension to hold position but still allows you to move and is not tension that wipes your muscles out, or makes so too stiff that you cannot move or react to changing conditions.
I also like to point out the difference between "Tone" and "tension". I choose to use the word "Tone" in the context of just enough muscle tone to hold the point in position, while still being relaxed or supple.

A swimmer of mine described this a a state of "relaxed readiness".
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USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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