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Old 10-29-2009
rgiven rgiven is offline
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Default Breathing psychology

Perhaps, I myself am guilty of over thinking this but I've been considering why those (myself) included can breaststroke all day but struggle with freestyle breathing. A lot a excellent posts have been written on the mechanics of breathing and the key importance of relaxation. But what does it mean to relax beyond the physical means of doing this (calm breathing etc).

Because of the nature of the breast stroke, for me the mind is almost making a subconscious decision (or conscious one if that is a particular focal point) to submerge the head, you can after all decide to continue to stroke with the head out of the water without it preventing a complete breakdown of the stroke as it the case in full stroke freestyle. When I turn to breathe in freestyle at some level I think there is some anxiety that I won't have time to get enough air before I HAVE to turn the head underwater again. I'm wondering if there are any 'mind tricks' or visualisations which might help remove this anxiety either when swimming full stroke or in particular drills. For example when starting to learn TI and wanting to imprint the sense of support that the water brings to the body in superman glide, as well as feeling the support I tried to imagine it was a huge vat of custard or honey I was swimming in!! Might sound mad but I think it worked for me.......

Anyone else thought about breathing anxiety in this way!?

Last edited by rgiven : 10-29-2009 at 12:43 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-29-2009
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default My preference

When I'm trying to relax in breathing, I focus on making sure the breathing never stops. I can hum with it to listen if I really need to. If I'm rushed inhaling, it usually means that I'm trying to exhale for too long after the head is out- or I'm out of balance and forced to lift and have that ever-so-brief moment to breathe of an unbalanced swimmer.
Sometimes, just to get swimmers comfortable in the bow wave, I have them do skating with fins on (but a moderate, not heavy kick) but with the head in the bow wave/breathing position (not sweet spot). The constant bow wave gives them comfort in this place. I usually don't have to ask them to start looking down from time to time- they get cozy enough to try it on their own because they're tired of looking at me walking alongside them :)
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Old 10-30-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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One thing that helps is realising that only a small amount of air is needed; it doesn't take that long to inhale. If a breath is missed, you could immediately take a breath on the opposite side or wait briefly for the next arm cycle. Or you could roll to sweetspot. So anxiety is the only real problem.
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Old 10-30-2009
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Default It's Anxiety in my case (as well as balance issues).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgiven View Post
Anyone else thought about breathing anxiety in this way!?
Take another look at "1 length to 1 mile in 2 weeks - by changing my breathing" posted By Nicodemus in the O2 in the H2O conference. He told us of what worked for him (and his daughter) and I expect it worked because possibly his "anxiety" was diminished. (I stand to be corrected on this assumption.) I took what he said in his post, combined it with what Pat ( hi Pat ) had been telling me all along, and started bobbing on my back - face up - while fluttering down the pool. This helped me to develop a rhythm of sorts and the feeling of when to breathe. After a while I begin to backstroke with an intentional effort to submerge the head as far as buoyancy would permit- just for the bobbing and breathing practice. This has helped reduce my breathing anxiety because I have learned how to develop a breathing pattern. It has helped me learn to breath out with meaning.

And what Dave says above is very true for me as well: "Sometimes, just to get swimmers comfortable in the bow wave, I have them do skating with fins on (but a moderate, not heavy kick) but with the head in the bow wave/breathing position (not sweet spot). The constant bow wave gives them comfort in this place."

If we are comfortable then anxiety has likely disappeared and then we can relax .... and then ... we have arrived !

Last edited by Mike from NS : 10-30-2009 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 10-30-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splashingpat View Post
and is a PROBLEM!

that I do NOT thnk is address!
Right, anxiety is a real problem.

When I do 200y breaststroke, I find that I build tension that, once noticed, can be released with either a good exhale or by relaxing more mentally or physically. Sometimes it seems like I tense up out of habit! Same with the crawl.

Knowing is half the battle?
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Old 10-31-2009
daveblt daveblt is offline
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One thing that does help is making sure you don't close your lips tightly at any time during the breathing cycle . Always try to keep the lips parted slightly for a constant exchange of air.


Dave

Last edited by daveblt : 07-09-2010 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 10-31-2009
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Default calming exercise

I remember an exercise we did in TI teacher training where to relax while half in the water, we took a big salad bowl and filled it up with water (do this in your bathtub). Put a shaving mirror in the bottom and put your goggles on. try looking right in and then looking at yourself while your face is in the water. Watch yourself blow bubbles out your nose and mouth. Try coming back up to breathe while still leaving the corners of your mouth kissing the water. You can do the same thing turning slightly to the side, leaving a cheek in the water to help relax.
I've been a swimmer for years- doing this exercise took my breathholding from about 50 seconds to 100 seconds in half an hour of practice.
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Old 11-03-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDave View Post
I've been a swimmer for years- doing this exercise took my breathholding from about 50 seconds to 100 seconds in half an hour of practice.
Alan Alda has you beat! Watch the forth video on the following page: http://www.pbs.org/saf/1206/video/watchonline.htm

The first and second videos are also very interesting.
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Old 11-03-2009
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Default yes - it can get better...

I have great difficulties with breathing. I am doing whole strokes since about a month and breathing is an issue. On the right side it is not good and on the left side it is very bad. I spent quite a lot of time drilling it in spear switches, Zen skating and switches - actually in all drills and in full stroke I drilled breathing - very little progress. It would take all my attention to get the mouth to the air - that is fairly easy - but then not to breathe in water but air - that was the point. I was often close to panic to get air, turned the head too far, over-rotated and moved the head up out of the air way too high. The drilling brought only little progress.

So today I was in the pool, a nice shallow a little shorter than 25m pool. I did spear switches for a little while and then I did Zen-switches for about an hour. I just didn't stop. And I didn't care about breathing. I did Zen-switches without breathing, and when I had to breathe I stood up and took a breath and then resumed. Actually Terry recommends that in the 'Easy Freestyle' DVD.
So after an hour I began swimming laps, and after a while the full stroke struggle suddenly relaxed. I did completely relaxed strokes and could swim lap after lap without break, which I never could before. What an enjoyment!
And - I had plenty of air! I could choose when to breathe. After 2 strokes, 3,4 or 5 - no problem. I could very relaxed breathe to either side and tried to move my head as little as possible to get to the air, actually it became fun to try it out. And when I got too much water and no air in I wouldn't breathe and do it on the next stroke. It was completely amazing, I didn't count but it must have been 50 or 60 laps altogether - I never did something like that before.

So what I want to say is this: it might be an option not to care about the breathing too much but to care only about the swimming. So shallow pool and just stop and get up for breathing if necessary. Once the strokes are relaxed the breathing can be integrated so much easier that I think it's worth trying that.

I don't know if this helps... hope so ...
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  #10  
Old 11-04-2009
weinzwei weinzwei is offline
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Great thread!! I have been tryin to understand the psychology of breathing in freestyle. With TI and help from many TI instructors i have learned to swim better than ever! However for me the breathing has been an issue in the pool and not in open water. When i swim in open water i breath very naturally, and can swim fairly long distances without any issues (still slow). When i get in the pool i swim 25 meters and am out of breath. I swim for an hour 25 - 50 -100 meters at a time which is a real struggle, and by the end of the session my stomach is in great pain and i am feeling the stomach issues throughout the rest of the day including terrible burping. What makes me relax in open water as opposed to a pool??? I desperatley want to be able to swim lap after lap in the pool but have not been able to over come the breathless / stomach cramps. My Ti instructors have tried to help but have been unable to figure out how to help me relax. I would appreciate any other individuals out there that have had or have a similar issue and some of the techniques they used to over come the psychological road blocks of breathing.

Thanks,

Jon
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