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  #1  
Old 04-08-2011
smorley smorley is offline
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smorley
Default how to see where I am going

When I hold my head in what I think is the correct "released" position with laser pointing horizontally my direct line of vision is essentially straight down to the bottom of the pool. If I roll my eyes as far up as possible without turning my face upwards I can barely see to the end of my hands nevermind further down the lane.

Is this an indication that I have my head in an incorrect position?
How do I see where I am going without upsetting my body positioning?

When I look at fast lane swimmers flying by they seem to be continuously looking where they are going but they certainly don't seem to have a head up, hips down position. How are they doing this?
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2011
boken boken is offline
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Open water swimmers must 'sight' once every several strokes by briefly bringing the eyes above water to see landmarks, buoys, and generally make sure they are still on the right path. But I have never needed to do this in a pool. My pool has black lines on the bottom that you can use to stay in, or on your side of, the lane that you are swimming in. If your pool has lane lines on the bottom, I suggest you just look at those. If your pool does not but has lane dividers, you can follow them by looking at their position each time you turn your head to breathe. If you have neither, then I suggest swimming along the wall where you can see it when you breathe (like you would with the lane line) or learning some open-water sighting techniques. There is an open water DVD and other topics on sighting in the open water forum.

Keep the face and eyes looking down.
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2011
terry terry is offline
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Smorley
Having head and spine aligned is among the first focal points we teach. First of all, spinal alignment simply follows good anatomical principles. Secondly, it also produces several technique benefits. Improved balance is one. It also reduces drag and muscular tension.

However, it's only one among several factors that contribute to improved balance. If you're a newer TI swimmer, Balance is the skill component you emphasize before any other.

While the orientation of your head position is important, the sense of weightlessness is even more so. So put greater emphasis on fully releasing your head's weight and mass to be entirely supported by the water - and not at all by neck muscles.

The second aspect of balance comes from the position and direction of your hand on entry.
1) Make sure your hand is as relaxed as your head and neck. One simple way to check is that your fingers should be loosely separated.
2) Enter cleanly, quietly, and at a relatively steep angle (Mail Slot focal point)
2) Extend on a slight downward trajectory (VW Beetle focal point). From the time your hand enters, your palm should be back, your fingers below your wrist and your wrist below your elbow.

When I do all that, I feel as weightless as my hands and head. And sometimes when I see video of myself I note that my head may still be inclined ever so slightly forward.
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Last edited by terry : 04-10-2011 at 10:21 AM.
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2011
smorley smorley is offline
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My concern with seeing where I am going is not with regard to my position in the lane. In the pool where I swim the lane discipline is a bit ragged so occasionally I meet someone comming towards me on the wrong side or someone stopped in the lane. When I am looking down rather than forward I feel exposed to collision.


Quote:
Originally Posted by boken View Post
Open water swimmers must 'sight' once every several strokes by briefly bringing the eyes above water to see landmarks, buoys, and generally make sure they are still on the right path. But I have never needed to do this in a pool. My pool has black lines on the bottom that you can use to stay in, or on your side of, the lane that you are swimming in. If your pool has lane lines on the bottom, I suggest you just look at those. If your pool does not but has lane dividers, you can follow them by looking at their position each time you turn your head to breathe. If you have neither, then I suggest swimming along the wall where you can see it when you breathe (like you would with the lane line) or learning some open-water sighting techniques. There is an open water DVD and other topics on sighting in the open water forum.

Keep the face and eyes looking down.
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2011
ScottMT ScottMT is offline
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Good question smorley, your pool sounds dangerous! Being self-coached and a beginner I have pondered this too. A couple things that I have noticed are:
1) I am easily transfixed by the black lines on the pool bottom and it is easy for me to swim head low and too deep if I let that happen - especially when transitioning from the shallow to the deep end of the pool, I tend to follow the line down. I try to kind of look at the lines with peripheral vision and not stare at them.
2) I find that if I consciously think of the laser on my head pointing to the end of the pool and kind of roll my eyes up to look ahead my stroke improves (it feels like my propulsion is more horizontal and forward and SPL goes down) AND I can see forward a little better - still only a few feet ahead of my hand but that is enough to avoid the wall or swimming over someone. The interesting thing is that I don't consciously raise my head.

I would love to hear from Terry on other coaches on how far they can see ahead of their hand when they are in the groove.

Scott
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  #6  
Old 04-14-2011
fischelfe fischelfe is offline
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oh, this is a really good question, I have that problem, too. There is NO lane discipline where I swim and people do not give way for actual swimmers (as opposed to having a bathing tea party), so I always end up swimming a giant slalom... facing forward.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2011
andreasl33 andreasl33 is offline
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You probably did not know that to drift into your lane from the side is the inofficial way of begging a swimmer to start to practice butterfly. So far they have always left my lane once I complied.
Sighting a couple of times each length by looking forward a bit should be without serious consequences to your balance.
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2011
dougalt dougalt is offline
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andreas133:
An astute strategy, indeed!
Classic!
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  #9  
Old 04-15-2011
dougalt dougalt is offline
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andreas133:
I was chuckling so loudly after reading about your lane-claiming strategy, that my wife was disrupted from watching her favorite TV show "The Dog Whisperer", featuring Cesar Milan.
Upon realizing this, my chuckles increased to full laughter as I recognized that your solution to lane traffic management is exactly the same as one of the core principles of Cesar's success in working with dogs: no verbal comments, no eye contact... just take physical possession of the space, utilizing a calm/assertive demeanor! (Well, I'm not completely sure that a full-bore butterfly stroke could be categorized as "calm", but...) You see, Cesar feels that errant, misbehaving dogs are, in actuality, just BEGGING for someone (besides themselves) to assert some leadership and take control of the situation.
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