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  #21  
Old 12-05-2010
bsaaditya bsaaditya is offline
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Default a unique combination of learning and instinct.

In my experience, the day that imprinted better breathing skills was when I swam through the breathlessness and pain. When you're stroking continuously through the fatigue, something happens and you begin to take in the exact amount of air required for each stroke. This is the body's reaction to your determination to swim through it, and you'll find it easier after gasping for a while.

So I say it's all about fine-tuning your natural instincts to your stroke, and imprinting those patterns so you can eventually eliminate the gasping phase altogether.

Last edited by bsaaditya : 12-05-2010 at 03:10 AM.
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  #22  
Old 12-05-2010
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Breathing is no red herring. Nor is it a straw man or any other rhetorical fallacy. Rather, in swimming, it is a skill and one that is dependent on, but also distinct from, movement skills. In fact, I consider the ability to maintain an efficient stroke while breathing in crawl to be the most exacting of all swim skills.

What sets breathing apart from movement skills is that there is a profound psychological component to the ability, yea need, to get air that is not there with stroking skills.

One recent illustration of the distinction between breathing skills and the necessary movement skills - like balance and streamlining -- that facilitate it is the posts this week by two different swimmers of how liberating it was to learn, here on the Forum, that they should neither try to fill every bit of their lungs with air, nor expel every last molecule. Once they simply got and expelled 'enough' air they could swim much farther without fatigue. That has nothing to do with Balance, Streamlining, Wide Tracks or any other stroking skill. There's a lot to learn about the mechanics and timing of inspiration and expiration as well.
Terry, thanks for your thoughts. By saying breathing is a red herring I didn't mean to imply it's a non-issue or something learned easily. What I meant is that a lot of the discussion surrounding it is, in my view, needlessly complicated.

I don't disagree with anything you say above, but I do maintain that (a) attaining a consistent and relaxed breathing style is virtually impossible unless one is already executing the rest of the stroke properly, and (b) if one is already executing the rest of the stroke properly, breathing becomes a lot easier than much of the discussion I have read suggests.

My own eureka moment in this respect came when I realised I wasn't reaching fully during spearing. Until that point I couldn't begin to fathom how breathing could ever be reliable and relaxed. As soon as I began reaching fully, however, an immediate consequence was that the air was always there when I turned for it.

My breathing isn't perfect, I might add. But when I get the rest of the stroke right it is pretty good.
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  #23  
Old 12-05-2010
aerogramma aerogramma is offline
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Hello Suzanne,
thanks for the tips and advice on improving one's breathing skills.

I tried it today and found it an excellent tune up excercise, definetely added an extra tick to my balance awarness.

For longer continuos stretches (ie 30min) I must admit I had more problems than expected with the 4x breathing pattern, but that may improve with time.

The focus on external visual cues (the pool walls, the water shimmer etc) it's good advancement on what was already in the Nod excercise on the easy freestyle dvd.

aero
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  #24  
Old 12-05-2010
isaac.ohel isaac.ohel is offline
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I am a 66 year old beginner. Could it be that my neck is not flexible enough? Symptoms: In the nod, my eyes are well below the surface. Looking at a mirror, I need to turn my shoulders 45 degrees to have my eyes face the mirror. It strains my neck trying to keep the top of my head along the water line.
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  #25  
Old 12-05-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by isaac.ohel View Post
I am a 66 year old beginner. Could it be that my neck is not flexible enough? Symptoms: In the nod, my eyes are well below the surface. Looking at a mirror, I need to turn my shoulders 45 degrees to have my eyes face the mirror. It strains my neck trying to keep the top of my head along the water line.

It sounds to me like your trouble has more to do with being able to relax your neck muscles and find support in the water.

Your eyes are supposed to be underwater during the nod...but you may be pushign your head down too far. Do some superman glides an focus on total relaxation and support of your head by the water. THe water should feel like a pillow. Release your head into the pillow of water. For some that will be releasing it upward (they are pushing down too far), for others it will be releasing it downward (they are lifting up too much). For me I've gone through both phase before I discovered true relaxation. I still have to focus and remind myself of it.

These exercises are designed to help you reach total relaxation of the neck allowing your head to find support while it is in the breathing posiiton.
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  #26  
Old 12-05-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerogramma View Post
Hello Suzanne,
thanks for the tips and advice on improving one's breathing skills.

I tried it today and found it an excellent tune up excercise, definetely added an extra tick to my balance awarness.

For longer continuos stretches (ie 30min) I must admit I had more problems than expected with the 4x breathing pattern, but that may improve with time.

The focus on external visual cues (the pool walls, the water shimmer etc) it's good advancement on what was already in the Nod excercise on the easy freestyle dvd.

aero
Aero, that's great to hear. I did not intend for the 4x breathing pattern to be sustained for longer distances...it's a tool to use to help imprinpt proper head position. use it as long as you need to each practice to "get" the breathing feeling set. Then go ahead and try breathing without the nod, either 2x, 3x or 4x.

I don't think it's necessary to try more than 50 or 100 at a time with the 4x NOD pattern, but it's something you can sneak in for a 25 in the middle of a longer set if you start finding your breathing no longer feels "right".
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #27  
Old 12-06-2010
alkerz alkerz is offline
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alkerz
Default My head sink.

Hello Suzanne.
(I am a japanese that is not good at English.)

I tried "Nod". However when I turned my head, the surface of the water is 10cm away from my eyes. I don't think that I can breathe.

Is the position of my head too deep? I try to sink my head as deep as possible so that my legs are not shunk.
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  #28  
Old 12-06-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Alkerz,

With the limited information given it is going to be difficult to give good solutions. Can you explain a little more on how your basic balance and streamline drills are going? The best solution would be if you could get some video of your swimming and post on this forum. A video is worth a thousand words.

No need to explain your English. It is much better than my Japanese.

Welcome and come back, this is a great place to gain and share knowledge.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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  #29  
Old 12-10-2010
afbcpa afbcpa is offline
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Default Exercises Today

I tried these exercises today. It was a great revelation for me. I was not "aware" at how out of balance I was. My breathing felt more relaxed. It's amazing how much I was lifting my head and didn't realize it. Also, I can't believe how much more focused I've become by thinking about releasing my head into the "pillow". Thanks for this, I look forward to continuing the exercises.

Tony
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  #30  
Old 12-13-2010
dougalt dougalt is offline
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Suzanne,
Just tried the "nodding" idea today: what a big instant improvement in balance and head position!
Thanks for this great tip.
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