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  #1  
Old 08-14-2009
mutian mutian is offline
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mutian
Default Does TI really work for beginners esp. with weak kicks, weak abs, sinking feet, etc?

I have taken six TI classes and have been practicing for about two months and I am still sinking and cannot breathe well. I did make progress just not enough. My major probem is that I normally start gliding ok and when I roll to breathe 2 - 3 times I sink lower and lower in the water or become more sloped and finally have to stand up. My hips / kick are also low when I lie on my back and kick.

My coach pointed out my ab muscles are weak so I am going to exercise them (and other drills we designed). I asked a coworker who once held a master or youth record and can 'swim like walk" and he said I have to practice kicking - with kickboard until hurt. I showed him some TI demo and he said "oh that's basic I do that all the time". He is very muscular though.

I like TI way at first sight. But I wonder if any real beginners make it in the end and if so how long it took? What drills help the most? Is it only helpful for strong swimmers with some bad habits? Should I do the regular way first so I can at least swim?

I didn't learn swimming as a kid and have not been very active for years. I used to be very athletic and could pick up anything (other than swimming) just by playing it. I can swim breast stroke ok and my coach said I'm a natural breast stroker but sadly I was learning free style.
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2009
atreides atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutian View Post
I have taken six TI classes and have been practicing for about two months and I am still sinking and cannot breathe well. I did make progress just not enough. My major probem is that I normally start gliding ok and when I roll to breathe 2 - 3 times I sink lower and lower in the water or become more sloped and finally have to stand up. My hips / kick are also low when I lie on my back and kick.
I started about a year ago with conventional lessons. When I was done I could swim one 25 meter length followed by near hypervintillation. They told me to use a kick board which I did and suffered the ignomy of barely moving it. A masters coach told me to wear fins which I did with some success. When I had those fins on, I could really move that kickboard. But then I tried to swim a 25 meters without them and succeeded accompanied with the usual hyperventillation. So I put the fins up and decided to do it the TI way.

The TI emphasis on efficiency really helped out. I was able to slow my stroke down and glide in streamline. I developed a two beat scissor kick which allowed me to start making 25 meter lengths more easily. I have recently added a legitimate 2BK and I believe I have found a more efficient hip drive based on the abs not the lower back muscles. So unless your coach is talking about your hip rotation, I'm not sure about the abs comment. I'm still not good breathing. In fact that is the one thing that is holding me back. But I (being optimistic) feel like I'm on the verge of solving that.

Bottom line, I think my progress has been made in little increments. My work outs generally involve swimming 250-300 meters. That's not much but here lately I think its about to become more. I've unloaded my arms with hip drive and I feel so much better now. At your stage of the game, I was a mess. I would swim 2/3's or 3/4's of the way down and standup to catch my breath. Then I was finish the length and come back. If I made one 25 length during a workout, it was a major victory.

One of the keys to swimming is becomming progressively more relaxed in the water. That takes time in the water. You have taken the lessons and you have the drills. Forget about the kickboard and do your TI drills. The superman glide has been invaluable to me in establishing a baseline comfort zone. It sounds like your sinking is from bad posture. So the superman drill will be perfect for you. The main thing is you have to keep after it. Things will enventually start clicking and you will have your share of "Aha" moments. See where you are in a year. Maybe I'll being doing 1500 meter workouts by this time next year. But if I'm not, that's alright. I get there the year after. You will to.
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  #3  
Old 08-14-2009
naj naj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutian View Post
I have taken six TI classes and have been practicing for about two months and I am still sinking and cannot breathe well. I did make progress just not enough. My major probem is that I normally start gliding ok and when I roll to breathe 2 - 3 times I sink lower and lower in the water or become more sloped and finally have to stand up. My hips / kick are also low when I lie on my back and kick.

My coach pointed out my ab muscles are weak so I am going to exercise them (and other drills we designed). I asked a coworker who once held a master or youth record and can 'swim like walk" and he said I have to practice kicking - with kickboard until hurt. I showed him some TI demo and he said "oh that's basic I do that all the time". He is very muscular though.

I like TI way at first sight. But I wonder if any real beginners make it in the end and if so how long it took? What drills help the most? Is it only helpful for strong swimmers with some bad habits? Should I do the regular way first so I can at least swim?

I didn't learn swimming as a kid and have not been very active for years. I used to be very athletic and could pick up anything (other than swimming) just by playing it. I can swim breast stroke ok and my coach said I'm a natural breast stroker but sadly I was learning free style.
Mutian, Like you I'm an adult on-set swimmer (meaning I never learned as a child either). And like you I was very suspicious about whether or not Ti would work for me. Others who saw me in the pool working on drills would say, "you need to kick harder get a kick-board," "You've go to work your ab muscles more do sit-ups and crunches."

They were all well meaning but also wrong. Good freestyle has very little to do with kicking and having six-pack it does however have to do with having a strong core in the sense that your hip drive propels you forward. I'm not sure if you have the "Easy Freestyle" DVD or not, but this is an excellent way of getting the basics of freestyle to the whole stroke. The drills that incorporate TI (i.e. Superman glide, SM Flutter, Fish, sweet spot, Skating, under-switch, Zen switch, and whole stroke) take you on a step-by step progression of how to have an efficient, strong and beautiful stroke.

I know its frustrating at first and you have a lot of questions, but you need to not get down on yourself. Its confusing at first, believe me I've been there! But the rewards are tremendous! I've been swimming less than a year and already I have swum over 2.5 miles, swam from Alcatraz Island back to San Francisco's Aquatic park, am swimming the length of the Golden Gate bridge on August 15th and will swim my first long distance swim of over four miles from ATT&T Park back to Aquatic Park on August 23rd, and I would never have even tried to do it without TI!

I'm not joking, take a look at some of my other posts about what I've done and where I've come. I have no swimming background whatsoever, no knowledge of any of the strokes and I learned because of the way the drills broke everything down for me. Like you I can pick up a sport quickly, but I'd rather know how to do it right and efficient rather than just know the basics and Ti can do that for you. Good luck and I hope this rambling posts helps you. Oh and BTW if your sinking when you roll to breathe my guess is that your pulling your head out of the water rather than turning it to the side and keeping it on the surface of the water. A trick i've tried to learn to breathe on my side is to follow my recovery shoulder with my eyes as I roll, it seemed to work for me :)

Also, when you return your head to the water remember to look down not ahead in the water, a slight tilt of the head will cause hips and legs to sink.

Keep Swimming!
Naji
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2009
Alex-SG Alex-SG is offline
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Hello Mutian,


1. Is TI for beginners ?
When I took my first TOTAL IMMERSION workshop 3 years ago, the prerequisite was to be able to swim freestyle at least 25m. A total beginner (who barely knows how to stay afloat) probably has to go through some other initiation training first.


2. Training plan
As advised by other Forum members, it is important to improve step-by-step:
- 1. Technique, 2. Endurance 3. Finally Speed
- Technique: First balance & Streamlined position, then rotation, then coordinated propelling movements
- In the beginning advisable to do 90% drilling and 10% Freestyle swimming


3. Sinking
Inevitably some of us are less buoyant than others. I am 6'3'' and have very long legs. Of course I have to work harded to keep my balance because by feet will always have a tendency to drop.
When I do drills like skating and turn to sweetspot, I have to wait 1-2sec for my face to re-emerge before breathing. As TI said: It is OK to sink horizontally and surface with some delay. What is not OK is to panic and lift the head up to air (that makes you lose balance and drop the lower body)


4. Kicking
When you have learned the stroke and swim the TI way, it is not important to have a strong kick. Just a very small one will do te help the rotation. But the TI swimmer does not rely on kick to move forward !
Having said that when you do TI balance drills (Superman glide, fish, skating) you need to have a decent kick to move forward.
Some TI coaches suggest to use swim in the beginning so that the student can focus on the drill (Ex. head position, core rotation, elbow recovery) without having t worry about the foot toe nails scratching the bottom of the pool !


5. Best Drills

a. To develop a stronger kick --> Vertical kicking.
Do 100 of those at the beginning of each session. Then immediately turn on your back and continue kicking in the same way

b. Balance drills
From what you say, you definitely need to focus on balance drills first
Superman Glide, Skating
May be do 20min of drills only. Then spend tha last 5min to inject the drill sensations into your freestyle stroke. Drill 1 LAP, Swim 1 LAP.
The focal point when you swim is of course balance, keep head relaxed and down, keep arms relaxed

Let us know how you go, we all love TI and have made fantastic progress using this method.

Feel free to also post a video of yourself if you want feedback...
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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T.I. is good for beginners especially because it breaks the stroke down into little increments and works on balance first and foremost. Conventional lessons often focus on endless kicking with a kickboard. I see regulars at the YWCA who've been doing this for about a year and still haven't really progressed with actual swimming.
If you are sinking when you breath, it could be you're lifting your head up or it could be you're tightening up. From skating position, practice turning your head as if to breath, but not doing it. Just get the feel of staying balanced while doing this. Then swim a few strokes and try to get the same feeling while actually breathing.
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  #6  
Old 08-19-2009
mutian mutian is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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mutian
Default Thank you everyone

I'll stick to it only take it as a longer term project. It's just not easy for some of us. I'll read more here and think about it. I have the DVD and will probably follow the drills all over again.

Thank you all.
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  #7  
Old 08-19-2009
esveer esveer is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2009
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esveer
Default TI Works for beginners

I am 57 years old and started swimming last November (swam years ago but not for the last 30 years). By late February I was thrilled to be able to swim 50 meters freestyle without stopping. Then, in March I discovered TI. I am now swimming a mile 3-4 times per week in uninterrupted sets of 400-500 meters. I definitely think TI works for beginners because it got me past the place where it was a work-out and took me to the place where I practice. I have a long way to go to get my technique where I want it to be, but the progress has been amazing. I have gone from 30 to 24 strokes for 25 meters and I am never winded. I barely kick and am not sure that is correct, but I plan to attend a TI Weekend (I have only used self teaching tools) and am sure that will help refine my technique. Keep at it.
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  #8  
Old 08-19-2009
terryhand terryhand is offline
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Hi Mutian,

I do sympathise with you. But two months is not very long. It took me a long time to acquire a half decent flutter kick that was not actually impeding my progress, let alone a two beat kick. Some people obviously do pick up TI very quickly, but for others it can take a bit longer. I sometimes think that “good” swimmers don’t always appreciate how difficult it can be.

If I am really honest, I would have to say that it took me a couple of years before I was really balanced and relaxed in the water. My stroke is still far from good but I know that I never stop learning and that’s the joy of TI.

As for practicing kicking: yes vertical kicking but also any of the skating drills. It’s so easy to say kick from the hip, but it can be the hardest thing in the world to do. A kickboard will not help you at all.

All I can say is just keep at it. It will come in the end.
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  #9  
Old 08-19-2009
Nicodemus Nicodemus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutian View Post
My major probem is that I normally start gliding ok and when I roll to breathe 2 - 3 times I sink lower and lower in the water or become more sloped and finally have to stand up. My hips / kick are also low when I lie on my back and kick..
Hi there,

You have already been given great advice by posts above. Here is my 2-cents worth -

1. Ignore the (well-intentioned but bad) advice from that coach about working your abs. You need to focus on technique not strength. Your abs will develop as a side-effect. You do NOT need to do other exercises to be strong enough to swim.

2. Look at the bit of your post I have quoted above - especially the bold bit. The answer to your problem is right there. Just practice floating flat on your back with a gentle relaxed kick. The purpose of the exercise is for you to learn balance in the water, NOT to 'develop' your kick. Allow your torso and head to really really relax and trust the water to support you. This is called pressing your buoy. Once you can do this really comfortably on your back then do the same thing face down in Superman glide etc. Sort out your balance and everything will get easier. On your back should feel like you are so relaxed and supported you could sleep there. If you need a break from this exercise you ain't doing it right.

3. Don't waste your time on kicking with a float. Or any exercise to 'strengthen' your kick. TI is about ceasing to struggle against the water. Get good technique - then think about adding a bit of power.

4. Shouldn't your TI teacher be pointing all this out to you???
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  #10  
Old 08-19-2009
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mutian View Post

I didn't learn swimming as a kid and have not been very active for years.
I used to be very athletic and could pick up anything
(other than swimming) just by playing it.
I can swim breast stroke ok and my coach said
I'm a natural breast stroker but sadly I was learning free style.
some of the best freestyle (crawl) swimmers,
can't breast stroke!

but I learnt freestyle (crawl)
much later on....because as I kid..it the turning side to side...
but then again I'm great sidestroker....


so Crawl was the last...
because I just do NOT think
I ever become that BUTTERFLIER!

good luck with it
...if I got it, then
so will you get it

Last edited by splashingpat : 08-19-2009 at 09:19 PM.
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