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  #11  
Old 12-13-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewa.swimmer View Post
the discussion sounds a lot like the reading debate that has gone on for many years. Phonics vs. sight words. Some children naturally go towards the little parts making up the whole (phonics/drill) others like myself prefer to have the whole picture first.
Actually, both forms work best via a part/whole approach. To use the organic method of stroke improvement, you have to examine your whole-stroke through a rather fine lens -- trying to be somewhat methodical. One fairly simple approach I've advocated is to work from front to back. Because of drag, the swimmer's leading edge usually has more impact on the whole than the trailing edge. So you could start by focusing on what your hands are doing, then examine your head position and movement then torso, and finally legs and feet.

Each of those body segments in turn could be broken down even more finely. E.G. The checklist for examining your hands could include:
1) Relaxed or stiff?
2) Extending on wide tracks or crossing to center?
3) Scooping up or arcing down?
4) Making bubbles as they extend, or not?
5) Stand still for a moment before beginning the stroke?
6) Start the stroke slowly and gently?

Those six points could easily consume 30 to 60 minutes of attention and improvement. There it is, one entire practice devoted solely to your hands.
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2009
gsteve gsteve is offline
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I'd like to amplify something that I've experienced myself: regardless of the learning style or coaching technique, the foundation for beginning the process should ideally be a demonstration of what the end result is -- namely a fluid and efficient stroke.

When I first encountered TI, I was very excited to learn of Terry's almost scientific examination of stroke components and of the drills he'd developed to coach swimmers to be more efficient.

Though I found the TI method method made intuitive sense, I did not enjoy drills and, equally important, it was not always clear to me how the drill was to be folded seamlessly into the whole stroke. My experience was more akin to the slumping ballplayer who gets worse the more he "thinks" about what his body is supposed to be doing while he is at bat.

My epiphany came when I viewed the Shinji video and, voila, I could see for the first time what I was supposed to be doing when I made my way down the pool: suddenly all the pieces came together.

The point I'd like to amplify, then, is that the knowledge - visual and conceptual - of what it is one is trying to achieve, is the starting point for any student of TI. The drill/whole stroke blend that one chooses to pursue is up to the individual swimmer (and coach) but the goal remains the same.
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  #13  
Old 12-13-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ames View Post
"NLP is the study of excellence."
Ames
This quote resonates particularly with me because I believe the most striking evolution in TI has been in this direction. It would be fair to say that, for its first decade, TI was a method of swimming improvement. In its second decade TI has evolved to become a process for understanding excellence . . . not just in the pool.

In swimming you can find your "avatars," or examples of genius, in the water - such as my video link, or Shinji's. But to learn the Principles of Genius in swimming you must look first in other disciplines. Our ability to learn those principles in swimming is handicapped by the fact that the most visible models and messages -- Red Cross-influenced instruction and competitive swimmers and coaches -- are, in the main, misinformed.

I have unconsciously been striving to understand the Principles of Excellence for many years. In the last 10 years that pursuit has become more explicit. And the most useful information I've found has all come from outside swimming. This has included books like:
Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
The Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee
Mastery, the Keys to Success and Long-term Fulfillment by George Leonard
Flow, the psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The Cambridge Handbook of Expert Performance by Anders Ericsson et. al.
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

The first two moved from spiritual to behavioral, the next three from psychology to behavior, and the last from behavior to biology.

After watching the video link I'm moved to ask, if John Grinder were to fully observe the principles of NLP, would he be better off using the word replacing the word "excellence" in place of "genius?"
It seems to me that a common filter people apply to the word "genius" is inborn attribute. Whereas I believe most people view "excellence" as something earned or acquired.
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  #14  
Old 12-13-2009
Manofword Manofword is offline
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Terry, I am an "anal" student when it comes to learning. Once I get a direction, I just seem to "inhale" all I can. I read all I can; watch all I can etc. I think what you are describing above is a "syncretism" of both methods. From my limited contact with TI, (about 4 weeks) I would think that one couldn't miss with that combination. The book lacked for me what I couldn't see in my mind as I was reading. The DVD lacked the specific instruction, re:timings of hands/feet etc. Put the two together and I think the teaching is much more dynamic if not unstoppable!

For instance: I watch You & Shinji and then I try to DO what I SEE. I dissect the movements in my mind into specific "points" I want to work on then I do my best to execute in the pool. I also re-read the book to get the principle explained as well. I get front quadrant in my head, but I have to watch to see the timing of my stroke hand with my recovery hand and rotation together. Then I practice and video myself with instant feedback in my training. I can't view the underwater video until I get home. I use the GoPro cam for that. That is just how I do it. I am a type "A" train alone guy and there is no one I know, in my area, that has even heard of TI, so local coaching is out of the question.
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  #15  
Old 12-13-2009
ames ames is offline
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Just wanted to say that I had the most wonderful swim this morning. For the past few sessions I have been trying to make it all come together, i.e., integrate rhythmic breathing into a nice, easy, smooth, stroke and today it happened. I warmed up with breaststroke and head bobs, then some supermans, and then whole stroke with sweet spot breathing. My main focal point was relaxed hands. Just swimming with the sweet spot breathing was a joy, almost meditative, but then when I was able to add the rhythmic breathing I was ecstatic. I still kick too hard and have plenty of other things to work on but from now on, they are just "tweaks", as I feel I have crossed the biggest hurdle I had in front of me.

Yes, I agree that swimming, especially the TI-way, is so much more than just swimming. Every time I swim, I do a little ritual, to express my gratefulness for the gift of swimming. I sit at the edge of the pool, put my cap and goggles on, and say a silent benediction to the water and the oneness of the universe and then jump in. If the water feels a little chilly, I add, "It makes me feel alive!" and that takes the sting out.

ames
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  #16  
Old 12-14-2009
terry terry is offline
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Ames,
Your ritual is very eastern. While in Japan I saw something similar. Some people - mainly older ones - would bow to the pool when they arrived on deck, then bow again before leaving. Needless to say I loved it.
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  #17  
Old 12-14-2009
dwag4life dwag4life is offline
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I've only been doing TI for almost three months and probably do not do the drills as much as I need to anymore, but in the beginning they were crucial. I don't think I tried whole stroke for almost a month going to the pool at least four times a week, but now I just use them to warm up, especially skating on my "weak" side, then do a couple lengths of switches before whole stroke.

One thing I do that nobody has mentioned, maybe because it's not a good practice is to rest then swim a length without breathing because I find I can feel my stroke and be more aware of focal points than when I am in the middle of a long swim arguing with myself about what lap I'm on haha. I rest and do this at the end of a swim usually too, so I can check my stroke before I exit the pool. I too try to watch Shinji or Terry a few times a week to try and imitate mastery. I know I should drill more, but I like swimming whole stroke too much. Even without drilling more my distances keep going up and up by trying to be mindful and relaxed. I never thought I would be able to swim an hour without stopping but I did two miles in 1:09 the other day and always look forward to going to the pool. Thanks Terry!
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  #18  
Old 12-14-2009
inca inca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manofword View Post
Terry, I am an "anal" student when it comes to learning. Once I get a direction, I just seem to "inhale" all I can. I read all I can; watch all I can etc. I think what you are describing above is a "syncretism" of both methods. From my limited contact with TI, (about 4 weeks) I would think that one couldn't miss with that combination. The book lacked for me what I couldn't see in my mind as I was reading. The DVD lacked the specific instruction, re:timings of hands/feet etc. Put the two together and I think the teaching is much more dynamic if not unstoppable!

For instance: I watch You & Shinji and then I try to DO what I SEE. I dissect the movements in my mind into specific "points" I want to work on then I do my best to execute in the pool. I also re-read the book to get the principle explained as well. I get front quadrant in my head, but I have to watch to see the timing of my stroke hand with my recovery hand and rotation together. Then I practice and video myself with instant feedback in my training. I can't view the underwater video until I get home. I use the GoPro cam for that. That is just how I do it. I am a type "A" train alone guy and there is no one I know, in my area, that has even heard of TI, so local coaching is out of the question.
I have the same approach to learning as Manofword and could not have written out how I feel about my progressing with TI any better.

The only thing I might add is that as a total beginner, who could not swim at all, I think it is very important to first and foremost get relaxed and very comfortable in/with the water. I know the SG is a way to do this...and it actually worked for me...but the minute I progressed past that and attempted any other drill, my concentration and focus on trying to "get it" and get it "prefect" wound up getting me tenser rather than more relaxed. That's when I watched the Shinji video countless times until that relaxed feeling became part of me and I knew I could not and would not swim without it. I left the drills and went to whole stroke, imitating what I inhaled through constant watching over and over, forgetting about drilling. Once I could swim, albeit far from perfectly, I could begin to concentrate and focus on specifics much more calmly and with less frustration. I guess this is a long-winded way of saying that one needs a certain amount of swimming skills before drilling, but after that drilling can be very effective for improvement.

I also feel that since I lack a TI person critiquing my swim and letting me know where I am off the mark, only a self-video could help me try to see it for myself. Unfortunately that is not a possibility at the pool I use....but I am still trying to get a way to do it.
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  #19  
Old 12-14-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwag4life View Post
One thing I do that nobody has mentioned, maybe because it's not a good practice is to rest then swim a length without breathing because I find I can feel my stroke and be more aware of focal points than when I am in the middle of a long swim arguing with myself about what lap I'm on haha. I rest and do this at the end of a swim usually too, so I can check my stroke before I exit the pool.
Dwag
This sure sounds like a good practice to me. This raises a good question. What constitutes good practice?

In this instance, I'd say that breath-holding - simply to see how long you can hold your breath - would be good practice for free-diving, but not for swimming. Breath holding is a high-value skill in free diving. In swimming skilled breathing is a far more valuable skill.

But you're choosing to swim with less frequent breaths because you've found it allows you to examine your stroke, and deepen your perception. What you take away from that will be of great value in swimming. That makes it good practice.

This a good blog topic.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #20  
Old 12-14-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inca View Post
as a total beginner, who could not swim at all, I think it is very important to first and foremost get relaxed and very comfortable in/with the water. I know the SG is a way to do this...and it actually worked for me...but the minute I progressed past that and attempted any other drill, my concentration and focus on trying to "get it" and get it "prefect" wound up getting me tenser rather than more relaxed. That's when I watched the Shinji video countless times until that relaxed feeling became part of me and I knew I could not and would not swim without it. I left the drills and went to whole stroke, imitating what I inhaled through constant watching over and over, forgetting about drilling. Once I could swim, albeit far from perfectly, I could begin to concentrate and focus on specifics much more calmly and with less frustration.
Inca
Your experience seems to exactly match what Dr John Grinder talks about in the NLP video that Ames recommended earlier in this thread.
He explained that children often learn more quickly than adults because they assimilate impressions in an unfiltered way, which allows them to imitate more freely and easily. Adults filter their impressions (What should I be doing or feeling?) through many preconceptions. One of those is a need to get it "right" and a fear of getting it "wrong," leading to the tension you describe.

The secret is just do the thing and welcome whatever experience comes your way as information, not a judgement on your character or worth.

Errors get your attention and identify opportunities for improvement. For example, as I type this post, I notice the mishits on my keyboard, not the correct ones, leading me to concentrate more, so I can avoid wasting time retyping.

One of the key lessons I've taken from reading about Mastery is that excellent performers are intensely error-focused in their practice.
They design their practice to do the following:
1) Look for a weak spot by putting themselves on the fine edge of equipoise between skill and difficulty.
2) Develop a strategy to make it better.
3) Practice the fix -- patiently, mindfully, tirelessly -- until the new improved skill is robust enough to resist breakdown.
4) Look for another error to fix, skill to improve.

The only bad thing about errors is ignoring them. Finding and fixing errors is essential to improving.
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My TI Story
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