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Old 02-23-2009
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
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Jamwhite
Default Improving your balance in breast and free

Consider the following two drills:

1) Push off the wall and glide with both arms and legs shoulder's width apart until your momentum slows and your feet sink.

2) Push off the wall and glide with arms clasped together (hand on hand), head between your shoulder, with knees and ankles touching each other until your momentum slows and your feet sink.

If you perform both drills, you will notice that the first one is significantly easier than the second. The first drill is stable. Metaphorically it is like a car with four wheels that keep you nice and level in the water. The second drill is much less stable. Metaphorically it is like being on a motorcycle with two wheels in the water and balance is required. Also notice that drill #2 has the potential for you to go further with the same amount of effort because you are more streamline.

To improve your balance in breaststroke, I suggest attempting to swim lengths with the smallest stroke count that you can manage. (Here is a thread on traveling 4 strokes per length: http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...read.php?t=235.) As you stroke, keep to legs and arms together, allow yourself to come up to the surface and let your momentum die down until your legs sink. At first, you probably will not be able to do this because as you slow down, balancing becomes more difficult, but as you practice, you should start to feel yourself better able to stay upright without shaking or rolling. Once you can remain stable until your legs start to sink, wait until just that moment before stroking.

To improve your balance in freestyle, I highly suggest that you first practice balance in breaststroke so that you get use to how your body balances at slower speeds. Breaststroke is easier because you balance flat on your stomach instead of on your side as in freestyle. Once you are comfortable with your breaststroke balance, warm up your freestyle so that you can get your lowest SPL.

To practice freestyle balance, pull as normal and glide. Allow your glide to slow down before pulling your arm out of the water and position yourself in overskate so that your hand is still out of the water but ready immediately to spear forward. Wait.

I find this extremely difficult. The weight of the arm out of the water regularly rolls me as my momentum slows. This is because I do not use wide tracks in freestyle, so I am regularly off balance (although I never noticed this until I started swimming slower). Discovering that I was off-balance during recovery has provided the root cause for several of the minor stroke errors I occasionally catch myself make (periodically rolling a little too much, lowering an arm when I breath, and feeling like I am not getting much power sometimes in my hip rotation)

I have been practicing balance alot lately, and I found the most interesting drill combination is to swim 25s first my lowest SPL breaststroke one length and then my loweset SPL freestyle.

As I slow down my stroke, returning to all the focal points from the book take on crisper meaning. For instance, I have always had a problem of lowing my dead arm when breath to my left side. This is because my left side breathing is off-balance and I would compensating. Practicing streamline balance here has helped me to improve way I breath so that I am less inclined to need to lower my arm.
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Old 02-23-2009
AWP AWP is offline
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Great highlight of the 'most' important aspect of swimming.
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2009
naj naj is offline
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Thanks Jamwhite! I was going to post about my frustration with breaststroke but your ideas have now given me a new sense of trying to get this confusing stroke right. I see so much bad breaststroke technique is in my community pool and don;t want to duplicate the constant stroking, lack of glide or efficiency.
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Old 03-07-2009
bkjagadish bkjagadish is offline
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...thank you Jamwhite for the insightful guidance supported with a link...shall be looking forward to more such notes from your desk...
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