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  #11  
Old 08-25-2017
sixtiesguy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Hi Sixtiesguy,

....Keep focus on posture/balance, core tone (not tight) - don't bend yur' boat :-)

Stu
Coach Stu,

Terry teaches that endurance has 3 parts: metabolic, motor, and mental. If the goal for us adult rec swimmers is to improve strokes and not merely get from one wall to the other in the pool, how do you address with your students how to keep * mental focus* for endurance, and keep relaxed? He said there's no motor without the mental part in a good place. For us adult rec swimmers who are not hell bent on timing our strokes, not qualified to be part of a Masters swim team, not practicing to swim a long distance in the SF Bay or participate in a triathlon, etc., I ask you: swimming back and forth, 25 yard pool, can be *tedious* and solitary.....and if it's like a hamster wheel, who can *attain TI relaxation* in that environment?...from a teaching perspective, what works to reverse the *negativity* there, what specific advice do you *implant* in the adult rec swimmer's head re: how to make this *fun* and keep the swiimmer mentally focused so that the swimmer's endurance *motor* can keep churning?

*Also*, Terry has lectured that breathing on one side doesn't work even though he did one sided for 10 years, and that bi-lateral breathing is necessary to keep you balanced and streamlined...without it, one of the spearing hands will never relax properly. Do you compel your adult rec swimmers to learn bi-lateral swimming asap?

Thanks,
Steve
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  #12  
Old 08-26-2017
Streak Streak is offline
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Hi Steve,
I started swimming late in life. Thrashing around from end to end needing to rest between lengths. I had never been coached and needed some method to follow. I liked the concept of TI with it's minimal requirement for kicking and focus on whole body swimming.
Once I managed to tame my wild stroke and improve streamline and balance, the lengths started to come much easier.
Lap swimming can become boring. To prevent this I mix it up with different drills and different focal points and over the last month or so and 1 or 2 open water swims in as well.

I only breathe to 1 side every second stroke and do not do tumble turns. While this is not ideal I have focused my energy more on the mechanics of each stroke than on areas where I would rather not spend too much time on. I see swimmers along side me doing perfect tumble turns and bilateral breathing with terrible SPL and stroke mechanics. One needs to focus on the areas which are causing the most resistance in your stroke and improve there. This does not mean that if I really try and get my bilateral breathing right that it wont make me a better swimmer but as I mention in the post below it becomes a case of diminishing returns.

See my posts here

http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...0&postcount=28

I think this points to now focusing on improving my endurance as mentioned above.
Before TI one day I just said to myself, "what's this nonsense about stopping after every length? Just push on". It wasn't pretty but I proved to myself I could do it. Before long I was doing 4 lengths non stop and it just improved from there specially with TI.


Keep it up, you will get there.
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  #13  
Old 08-26-2017
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Seve,

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixtiesguy View Post
Terry teaches that endurance has 3 parts: metabolic, motor, and mental. If the goal for us adult rec swimmers is to improve strokes and not merely get from one wall to the other in the pool, how do you address with your students how to keep * mental focus* for endurance, and keep relaxed?
It is easy to lose focus as you fatigue, and often fatigue will trigger tension, body sinks more, and survival stroking begins to take over. When swimmers get to this point in their set, there's no reason to continue. Stop, rest enough to do the next length or lengths at 100% both physically and mentally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixtiesguy View Post
He said there's no motor without the mental part in a good place. For us adult rec swimmers who are not hell bent on timing our strokes, not qualified to be part of a Masters swim team, not practicing to swim a long distance in the SF Bay or participate in a triathlon, etc., I ask you: swimming back and forth, 25 yard pool, can be *tedious* and solitary.....and if it's like a hamster wheel, who can *attain TI relaxation* in that environment?...from a teaching perspective, what works to reverse the *negativity* there, what specific advice do you *implant* in the adult rec swimmer's head re: how to make this *fun* and keep the swiimmer mentally focused so that the swimmer's endurance *motor* can keep churning?
These are similar questions/statements as the previous, but good to have more of your perspective.

First, you are qualified to swim Masters! Masters only means, "Adult swimming group" of every level, and every level is encouraged. You should be able to swim a length, in deep water pool comfortably - that's it. Some swim competitively, triathlon, and fitness. One thing masters swimmers share, regardless of skill level, is they all want to improve. Observing swimmers of higher skill and same skill is both engaging and a learning opportunity - you don't get this swimming solo. It's also a support group that keeps you honest and is encouraging - and a social experience too, something we all need and enjoy.

Second, if you feel swimming lengths is tedious or solitary, you're not paying attention. I don't mean to be rude here, but being engaged in every stroke, becoming self-aware, learning/improving *something* incremental in every pool session should be fun and engaging.

In order to engage physically, you must first engage mentally. Building razor sharp focus is a skill and put's you into (what Terry refers to as) the cocoon of calm - shutting off the environment that triggers anxiety and tension, and focus on doing one thing as best you can, i.e. hang the head, no tension in the neck for a single pool length.

Third, turning arms/legs, tension, survival strokes is "fight or flight" mode and it's not fun. Don't allow yourself to get to that point of anxiety and labor. When it does happen or creeps in - reset mentally, go back to superman for a length, focus on letting the tension go from neck, hands, arms, shoulders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixtiesguy View Post
*Also*, Terry has lectured that breathing on one side doesn't work even though he did one sided for 10 years, and that bi-lateral breathing is necessary to keep you balanced and streamlined...without it, one of the spearing hands will never relax properly. Do you compel your adult rec swimmers to learn bi-lateral swimming asap?
Breathing bilaterally is usually (mis)understood as breathing on 3's, breathing every third stroke alternating from left shoulder to right shoulder. I usually suggest to breathe when you need air, but do so without lifting head and breaking posture. Breathing on 3's is not enough air for most swimmers, but some swimmers I know swim long distances on 3's comfortably - so it's personal. However, a swimmer should be able to breathe well on both sides, but often one shoulder is favored more - and that's just fine too. Although I didn't read or get clear context of Terry's statement - coming in second hand, I don't think he meant breath bilaterally to fix or mask a balance issue, but instead to help and become aware of symmetry.

Whether or not you're breathing or not breathing in the stroke cycle, spearing hand should never tense, but stay loose, soft, and fluid. If hand tenses, that is a response to imbalance probably from lifting the head to breathe. Lifting the head is the source of the imbalance, tension in hand and elsewhere is only a reaction. Much like standing on terra firma, losing balance, trip, bumped into, etc - your hands/arms (and legs) will tense and brace for impact instinctively, essentially trying to right your vessel. The same thing happens to us in the water. The key is to learn to balance your vessel from the core, or from inside out - and not break posture lifting head to breath.

Hope that helps

Stu

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 08-26-2017 at 05:49 AM.
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  #14  
Old 08-26-2017
sixtiesguy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Streak View Post
Hi Steve,
I started swimming late in life....
Lap swimming can become boring. To prevent this I mix it up with different drills and different focal points and over the last month or so and 1 or 2 open water swims in as well....Keep it up, you will get there.
Thanks, Streak for your thoughtful comments. It *is* challenging to swim and *think* so much at the same time, and further, be told to *relax* as part of the TI thing! It would be easier to be surrounded by peers who are in the same boat as us, and/or have a TI coach offering first hand suggestions to a group. When there isn't a modicum of fun in whatever sports/ exercise activity I'm doing, I tend to bag it. But returning to the pool has been fun, and I'm sold on TI, although as I posted yesterday, I do have some focus "issues" when it comes to continuous lap swims....

...Anyway, I infer from the stuff you have posted (and Coach Stu's comments on your stroke) that you do have some specific goals in mind--I don't know if you care to share them---but you *are* timing yourself, you are looking to swim *longer* distances, you swim in open water, etc. Goals are motivators. And when you say that you "mix it up with different drills and different focal points," just curious, what is your regimen as an older guy challenged to learn a new thing, how often and how many minutes is one of your typical swimming sessions, and are the drills you mention in your post those drills that TI videos show for balance, streamline, Superman glide, etc.?

Thanks for sharing/ Steve
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  #15  
Old 08-26-2017
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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There's no way I'd have ever gotten as far as I had (swimming up to a mile non-stop) without TI.

I have to say there's SO MUCH to the mental attitude for me to swim relaxed and for a longer period of time. Sometimes I can't always put my finger on WHY I have a 'bad swim day' or a good one. But several factors (many of these are mental) include:

1) the amount of traffic getting to the pool! It can just be stressful.
2) Will I even get a lane? Will there be an unscheduled swim club leaving only a few lanes left for lap swimmers?
3) if I'm in a time constraint at all once I'm there (thinking of other things that I have to do, pick up daughter at an activity, other errands, etc.)
4) if I've eaten something within the last 3 hours or so. I swim SO much better on an empty stomach.
5) If, for some reason, I'm overly aware of someone in the next lane who is swimming better/faster than me. I know I need to just block it out, but sometimes it's hard.
6) If I have to share a lane with someone who doesn't stay on his/her side (like a leisure backstroker or breaststroker with flailing arms -- you know the type!).
7) if kids find their way into my lane and aren't aware of any lane etiquette rules. ...and I run into them. That really breaks my stride!

These are mostly just mental things. Then there are the physical things...the list goes on and on!
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  #16  
Old 08-26-2017
sixtiesguy
 
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Thanks, Coach Stu, I just wanted to respond, yours are very helpful comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post

First, you are qualified to swim Masters! Masters only means, "Adult swimming group" of every level, and every level is encouraged....Observing swimmers of higher skill and same skill is both engaging and a learning opportunity - you don't get this swimming solo.
What I meant to say was that only some local YMCAs have Masters swim programs, and those that do, change the buoys in the early morning hours, 6:30-9 AM, so that the Masters can train by swimming 50 yard/50 meters (25 yard lengths is too Mickey Mouse).....I meant to say that at my level, I'm not sustaining my strokes by about the 40 yard point, and as such didn't think I was "eligible" to be training with the experienced Masters. They have leagues and have swim matches against other clubs, too. Your point about hanging with better swimmers and the social experience of peer-to-peer helpfulness is well taken, believe me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Second, if you feel swimming lengths is tedious or solitary, you're not paying attention...being engaged in every stroke, becoming self-aware, learning/improving *something* incremental in every pool session should be fun and engaging.
I agree. But honing the skill of razor sharp focus to "shape the vessel" in the water and yet trying to be relaxed is at my stage, working at cross-purposes. Sometimes I think that what is causing my fatigue is the constant self-analysis of my freestyle that induces what you refer to as that unwanted state of anxiety and labor. If the suggestion is to do more lengths of Superman glides, I'll try that. I'm much more relaxed with TI breast stroke and backstroke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
...However, a swimmer should be able to breathe well on both sides, but often one shoulder is favored more - and that's just fine too. Although I didn't read or get clear context of Terry's statement - coming in second hand, I don't think he meant breath bilaterally to fix or mask a balance issue, but instead to help and become aware of symmetry.
Just so I'm clearer about Terry's statement, at approximately the 1:38 mark of this 2009 lecture (YouTube link below), Terry says that breathing on both sides made him more symmetrical, and that during the 10 years he spent breathing only on his left side, his right spearing hand was never "patient", and now that he's breathing both sides, it *is* patient and that's the TI way. Clearly, his inference is that someone in my position should learn to breathe on both sides *asap*, (and be relaxed while learning that skill), and I assume you agree.

https://youtu.be/46GghWnOKYA

Again, thx for your helpful comments, Stu.

Steve
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  #17  
Old 08-26-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Steve,

One of the things that Terry often points out is that the same type of mental skills are involved in learning swimming as are involved in a lot of other activities. Take, for example, yoga. At first glance this can be a somewhat painful and boring experience, but oddly enough, if you are patient with yourself and don't force poses before your body is ready, you start to discover things about your body that you never knew. Muscles that you didn't know that you had and ways to move that never occurred to you before. This is what is sometimes called the ah ha! experience, and once this happens to you then you're hooked. The same is true with swimming. I don't remember exactly when this first happened to me, but the experience of making a minor change in what you're doing and seeing a BIG improvement as a result is empowering.

It sounds to me like that hasn't happened to you quite yet with swimming. I don't know why different people are attracted to different sports, but swimming may not be for everyone. I first came to it at about the age of 50 when I had to stop running because of injuries. My first approach was to try to get a "workout" which was just punishing and no fun. Then I noticed people who looked to be in a lot worse shape than I was and were just sailing past me. So I started asking them questions and my attitude towards swimming changed. I decided I was going to give up on the idea of getting a workout and invest some time just in learning technique. It was probably at this point that my positive swimming experiences started. In the meantime, I can get a good workout and also focus on technique, but the workout aspect came slowly.

One last point: swimming in a crowded pool with kids and other obstructions is no fun and not a learning environment. If that's your problem, then I'm not sure I can offer good solutions other than finding another pool. If it happens occasionally, that's OK, but if it's the rule, I wouldn't want to swim like that either.

Good luck!
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  #18  
Old 08-26-2017
Streak Streak is offline
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Steve,
Some great advice from everyone.
My main motivator is trying to do regular exercise. Exercise that will have the least chance of causing any injury.

I try and swim about a mile per session (mainly 3 times per week but now with the additional 2 open water swims per week as long as the water stays warm). I don't have a strict regimen. More often that not it's 100-200 warm up. If my non TI swim buddy is there then I join him for his 6x100 on 1:50 drill, rest the another 6x100 at faster pace still on 1:50 or sometimes on 1:45 if we are feeling really strong.

I then do 100 breast stroke followed by 100 back stroke.
Then maybe some fist, finger, palm drill.
Sometimes I use the tempo trainer and swim 100 sets going faster in pace and then slower again using the timer.
I try and do 100 per session breathing to my weak side.
Sometimes I like what's going on the lane next to me so use that as motivation.
Now and again I put on my alpha fins and drag my legs behind me focusing just on what's happening up front and getting the feeling of what it feels like to have the hip drive with ultra light legs dragging behind you in the draft of the stroke. Adding a little bit of kick and feeling the speed through the water motivates me to improve my 2 beat kick.

https://youtu.be/G9XtaCp5CeI

I also struggle to swim and really focus on more than 1 thing at a time. Having the TT beeping in my head, while counting strokes and focusing on say elbow lead recovery is a sure recipe for brain overload! One thing at a time for me.

Once every few moths I swim a continuous 1650 yards as a benchmark.

I never do any of the TI drills from the books or videos ( I don't have the patience!!) but every so often I do do some of the training sets that I have found posted here over the years.

I hope that answers the "mix it up" question.

Keep at it.

Joel
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  #19  
Old 08-26-2017
sixtiesguy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaswimmer View Post
There's no way I'd have ever gotten as far as I had (swimming up to a mile non-stop) without TI.

I have to say there's SO MUCH to the mental attitude for me to swim relaxed and for a longer period of time. Sometimes I can't always put my finger on WHY I have a 'bad swim day' or a good one. But several factors (many of these are mental) include:


2) Will I even get a lane?
6) If I have to share a lane with someone who doesn't stay on his/her side (like a leisure backstroker or breaststroker with flailing arms -- you know the type!)
Nova Swimmer,
Of your original list, I'd say the above 2 are a regular part of my world. Many people do the breast stroke, and #6 does become a problem with the ability to truly relax and get in the zone and think of swimming efficiently. *Peak* weekday hours for adult lap swimmers at the plentiful YMCA indoor pools here are 6 AM-8 AM; usually, in the afternoons the local high school swim teams take over the YMCA pools daily from 3:00 PM-7 PM, with maybe one lane open for lap swimming.

You have written in the past that it took you *two* years to get past stopping at 25 yards. Two years is a pretty long time, and I'm just curious about what happened to you after that 2 year threshold, and your motivations and determination to stick it out...so that you're now swimming a mile...Thanks for sharing!

Steve
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  #20  
Old 08-26-2017
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixtiesguy View Post

Just so I'm clearer about Terry's statement, at approximately the 1:38 mark of this 2009 lecture (YouTube link below), Terry says that breathing on both sides made him more symmetrical, and that during the 10 years he spent breathing only on his left side, his right spearing hand was never "patient", and now that he's breathing both sides, it *is* patient and that's the TI way. Clearly, his inference is that someone in my position should learn to breathe on both sides *asap*, (and be relaxed while learning that skill), and I assume you agree.

https://youtu.be/46GghWnOKYA

Steve
Hi Steve,

Thanks, now I remember Terry's conference video and context. Terry was a left side breather since youth swim teams and low (right) side arm pulled for stability when breathing to left shoulder. It wasn't until he forced himself to breathe off right side where he discovered he could easily leave the arm extended and relaxed in front while breathing off both right shoulder *and* left shoulder. So for Terry this was an awareness issue where he could easily or "leisurely" extend left or right arm in front while rolling to breathe. And yes, learning to breathe both left and right sides is a priority, but not at the expense of balance and posture. Stabilize your vessel first, learn to breathe second.

Stu
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