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  #1  
Old 12-28-2009
spdhiman spdhiman is offline
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spdhiman
Default limited progress

i have been learning TI for 1 year with the easy freestyle dvd and 3 sets of lessons from TI coach. I swim 3-4 times a week for 1 hour. I seem to have made limited progress, i can still only swim about 4 laps in the pool and am exhausted after that. I am reaching the conclusion that swimming is so individualized with respect to body habitus that the TI approach doesn't work for everyone needs to be invidualized.

Also what does TI think of the FINIS swim snorkel, is it recommended as aid for swimming.

stuck in beginners mode
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2009
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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Spdhiman,
I am sorry to hear you have not had much success so far. I hope that we can improve your results here on the forum. Is it possible for you to post some video of yourself so we can see what is going on?

I have had a few students for whom I was not able to make progress. In every case it was because they were tense in the water and I couldn't find a way to help them really relax into it and trust that the water will support them. From that experience, I would guess that you have a similar issue, but video would help.

As for your actual question, I believe there is some individualization in every physical activity, but some basic principles will hold true. All good swimmers are relaxed in the water and pretty well balanced. There are subtle differences in how far they rotate or the exact timing they prefer for example. But those are more minor than the basics.
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  #3  
Old 12-28-2009
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Mike from NS
Default a beginner ... one who begins to learn ....

spdhiman;

Let me tell you some of my learning to swim experience. We are always learning and in a way we are always in the beginner stage. We just get to be a more advanced beginner. We learn what works and what doesn't work. There were times my frustration level was so high that I had decided swimming wasn't for me; but by the time I had reached home I couldn't wait to get back to the pool to try once more.

I couldn't float very well and the only motion my kick brought about was backwards. I was a complete mess. The input offered from so many on this forum helped to bring some advancement for me. I still feel very much a beginner but now have more confidence and minute skill -- therefore I put myself in the "advanced beginner" bracket now. As Eric suggested tension and poor balance are often the main problem. They were my main problems and to a lesser extent now, they still are.

What brought about my greatest "leap" towards being able to swim was a combination of what Pat had suggested many times and what Nicodemus pointed out in a thread last summer. He went from swimming a length to a mile in a very short span just from becoming more comfortable and finding how to relax. Both Pat and Nicodemus "preached" the benefits of bobbing. Here I do the same. I found that by swimming on my back, with travel driven by fins, and using my arms to try to submerge me as deep as possible and for as long as possible in a bobbing fashion, that I became more aware of when to inhale and exhale as well as more comfortable in the environment. Sounds very simplistic indeed but it really helped reduce tension and learn to trust the water to float me. To improve balance a number of Superman Glides with and without the aid of a pull buoy (as suggested by Shinji) have really helped in this area. The more I try to swim with a matter of fact and unhurried, even lazy, attitude the better things have worked. I'm forcing myself to relax. Whether in practising with the drills or straight out freestyle.

So as you say swimming is an individual type activity but most have been where you are. If you want it bad enough - which the time you've invested indicates - then keep at it and it will come. I'm sure there have been times you have wondered why put yourself through all of this. When it "clicks" and the fun level takes over from the frustration level and you enter the advanced beginner stage -- then you will have your answer.

All the best..

Mike
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2009
inca inca is offline
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inca
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Another beginner responds....

I began swimming in the summer of 2009 and had absolutely no swimming skills whatsoever. What is more, I had just turned 56. MY PT felt that swimming would be a good exercise for me, so I felt that I had to master it. The only drill I could really do was the Superman Glide. I tried 'so hard' to do the following ones but absolutely could not do them with any degree of success. I finally decided to stop 'trying' so hard. I began watching TI swimmers on video again and again, and decided to just 'give up' and try to swim like them. Lo and behold, I began to 'get' it. I suddenly could do much more than before.

I think the key for me, as the others here have said before me, was that when I 'gave up', and stopped 'trying so hard', I released a lot of tension that I had within me. Tension that I did not even realize I had. I thought I did the SG so perfectly relaxed. But now that I was really much more relaxed, I realized how wrong I was.

And, even now I have some times where I fail to see myself making the progress I would like and find myself getting frustrated and thinking maybe I should give up again...perhaps I'll never 'get' it. That is when I start absorbing the TI videos again, and when I post here, and when I start reading avidly....but allowing myself to stop 'trying' and just do whatever I am able from that which I had learned. Sometimes I see a marked improvement right away...and sometimes I don't. But the key is that I allow myself not to succeed right away now. I 'know' that it is definitely possible for me to do it...and I know that somehow, as long as I keep aiming for the right goals, I will eventually notice progress.

You are way ahead of me, because my issue now is the breathing and we all know that without perfecting the breathing there is no way I can swim for too long or too far in a proper fashion. Furthermore, it is very difficult to relax in deep water when I feel that I am not too sure of my breathing skills. I do not know how long it will take me...but I 'know' that eventually I will get it.

So to sum up, what works for me:
  • Absorb TI...in every way that I can.
  • Relax totally. Get really comfortable, secure and at home in the water. Enjoy it. If that means dropping back to a simpler level, so be it. I go back to something that I feel relaxed and begin enjoying again.
  • Before setting off on a lap, focus on one thing and aim to achieve it in the best way I understand and to the best of my ability....but do not strain.
  • Make sure to enjoy the journey...and not see it as a "hard job" that I have to "bear".
  • Don't be judgemental of the progress, or seeming non-progress, that I am making.
  • Report back here in the forums for a sense of community, for a feeling that someone out that cares and would love to help me, and for advice and encouragement.
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2009
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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westyswoods
Default

Spdhiman,

Welcome to the world of TI. From the previous post you most likely have come to the conclusion this is a very caring and sharing community. I am 63 yo and decided to restructure my swimming two years ago. There was a point when one plus miles was not a problem for me then came age and time off, injuries ect so I had no choice but to find a new way. Along comes TI and you want to talk about frustration or learning curve as I prefer to call it. Take everything I had done for years break it down and try to put back in a balanced, smooth, efficient, tireless manner and I have big time challenges. I could not say it better than the previous post. It is a journey not to walked with frustration and disappointment but a constant view of incremental improvement and awareness. We all too often think of our abilities as being inherent and for myself until I realized constant improvement only comes through constant awareness,practice patience and enjoying the journey.

Presently I am working to maintain balance while breathing. Stick with it and use this forum it has been an invaluable source of support and help for me.


Wesy
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2009
as as is offline
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as
Default nice

it was nice to read these eloquent posts.
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2009
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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haschu33
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by inca View Post
Another beginner responds....
Inca, marvelous respond! I could underline every word...
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2009
Grant Grant is offline
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Grant
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[quote=inca;8093]Another beginner responds....


And, even now I have some times where I fail to see myself making the progress I would like and find myself getting frustrated and thinking maybe I should give up again...perhaps I'll never 'get' it.

The rest of this post was really pertinent and I just wanted to emphazise that it is big breakthru when we can take note of the negative or self sabatoging thoughts that arrive in our heads. And by observing them it allows a little space to occur that gives us the opportunity to stop the cascade of thoughts that are hooked to the beginning one.
Each person can establish a method to break the cascade. For my own use I say to myself "thanks for the info and right now I am going to do ---- (usually the opposate of what the original thought was or at very least something other than that thought)
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  #9  
Old 12-30-2009
joeintx joeintx is offline
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joeintx
Default

I too have been trying to teach myself how to swim, I'm 52 and just "learned" last year.

Also, I have to use a Finis Swimmers Snorkel otherwise, I sink!

Would attending a TI Workshop be able to help me if all I can do is swim using a snorkel?
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  #10  
Old 12-30-2009
don h don h is offline
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don h
Default helping spdhiman to get unstuck

hello spdhiman,

you said you are "stuck." i have a few ideas to jazz up your swimming:

1. from now on, every time you push off from the side of the pool work on and learn to enjoy and appreciate a very streamlined position. in addition to stretching out your legs and keeping them together with toes pointed, work on extension. as you place hand over hand, and tuck your head, work on extending your arms and shoulders as far as you possibly can. the more you learn to extend your arms and shoulders, the narrower you will be in the water.

learning to extend in this manner should be carried over to your freestyle, when you are extending one arm and shoulder at a time straight ahead. your freestyle will be significantly faster when you fully extend.

there is a variation of the "catchup" drill, which helps to transfer the streamline position you do during pushoff over to swimming freestyle. pushoff into the streamline position, fully extended, with hand over hand. now, as you stroke with each arm and recover, do not start back with (or move) the other hand until the hand you have just stroked with is returned to and placed on top of the other hand. in other words, after every stroke you return
to the fully extended streamline position before making your next stroke. keep your kick going lightly, legs extended, toes pointed, with a low amplitude.

once you get the hang of this drill, you should notice a greatly reduced stroke count, as you swim the catchup drill.

2. let's jazz up the propulsion you are getting from your arms. your "paddle" consists of and "runs" a straight line from extended fingers, extended hand, and your arm up to your elbow. each time you stroke, don't apply any force until, somewhere even with the top (forwardmost part) of your head, you place your "paddle" in a position vertical to the bottom of the pool. as you take your paddle back, keep it vertical as far as you can, then finish your stroke and extend your arm all the way, close to your body. relax, and take your "paddle" straight back, at about the same speed your body is moving forward over the tiles.

3. let's jazz up your alignment. we want to align your body, and the force you are applying with your arms. this will make your streamline more productive, by reducing "weaving," and it will help you to propel your head and upper body forward, and not up. try the one arm swim drill.

the one arm swim drill is not for building power. it's for balance, alignment, and finesse. put the arm you are not swimming with down at your side. make your "pull" with the arm you are swimming with. do not breathe on the side you are pulling with. as you recover and extend the arm you are swimming with, rotate as though you are pulling with the arm you are keeping down at your side, and breathe on that side. practice this drill with the right arm, and the left arm. the improved alignment, balance, and finesse will transfer to your freestyle. you might swim one length with one arm, then a length with the other arm, and then a length using both arms. keep your kick going lightly, as described above in the catchup drill.

these things should jazz up your swimming. no kiddin'.

don h

Last edited by don h : 01-01-2010 at 11:53 AM. Reason: correct a couple words
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