Clarifying Switch Drills
I just spent about an hour slowly drowning myself trying to figure out switch drills and so Iíve decided to come to the Internet for itís collective wisdom. In the TI Bible (Chapter 8, Drill 6, Step 1) it says that ďwhen you see your hand under your nose, keep moving it forward to full extension as you roll (switch) past Sweet Spot on the other side.Ē
I attempted this several different ways and I have two major questions. First, the way I understand this is that if perpendicular to my chest and straight at the pool is 90 degrees and my right shoulder is 0 and my left is 180, I should be starting at 0, bringing my hand up to my face, and then rolling through 90 and almost to 180. Is that correct?
Second, when Iím rolling am I supposed to be pulling with my extended arm? Thatís what I was doing, but it doesnít explicitly state that in the book and Iím concerned that I may be completely misunderstanding the drill. I found a few older videos, but they were of a series of drills and apart from providing soothing music and highlighting the fact that Iím nowhere near that graceful in the water, they werenít all that helpful in identifying exactly what drill was being performed.
Iíve gotten to be comfortable with drills 1-5 over the past week* and up until today I was really enjoying the whole process, but for some reason the switching drills made me want to go back to running, and I donít need that sort of negativity in my life.
*Iím still working on making both sides feel ďchocolateĒ in hand-lead Sweet Spot, but my legs are good at sinking, Iím bad at breathing water, and I donít have access to fins.
The sweetspot position is only to breath.
From sweetspot turn first in skating position. When in good skating position you start with the exercise. The back arm goes forward under water. When you can see the hand of this arm in front of your face you do an armstroke with the hand in front and switch to the other side in skating position.
Then you can turn to sweetspot to breathe.
Example: Sweet spot with right hand in font and left hand at thigh.
Turn to skating position with right hand in front (spearing arm) and left hand back. You are "skating" on the right body side, in a rotation that just clears the left shoulder. Then the left hand goes forward under water (tense to the body for less drag). When the left hand passes your face, you do a weight shift to the other side and an armstroke with the right arm. Now you are in skating position on the left side, the left arm spearing, the right at the thigh. Then you roll back to sweetspot to breathe. With a pause if you need to correct the skating position or in one movement if you want to train a fluent body roll to air.
If this is now to difficult just practice in shallow water and stand up to breathe without sweetspot.
To make you comfortable in sweetspot, only exercise the change from sweetspot to skating position and back.
Also keep in mind that this is an exercise to introduce the rolling movement, especially the rolling movement to breathe. In whole stroke you won't roll so far.
And don't run away ;o)
It's a learning process and takes a bit of time. For many, breathing is the most challenging part of swimming freestyle.
Well breathing was certainly the hardest part today, but at least I stayed hydrated throughout the duration of my time in the pool.
Thanks for the thorough breakdown, that certainly makes sense and it's what I was attempting to replicate, I just wasn't very "slippery." At least the lifeguard didn't think I was drowning, even if it felt that way at times.
Expanding on Inge's response. It sounds like you're using the 10 lesson dvd, spear-switch. Switch drills are difficult and we use more for refinement since they can be easily executed with errors. We have improved the process to using "slot to skate", skate and superman/torpedo. Slot to skate, is a single switch easily executed in a position that is part of freestyle, addresses both timing and feeling the weight of high-side (recovery) arm dropping in that rotates you on to your opposite edge; send weight and momentum forward, not pulling hand back. This correct position and switch movement integrates into freestyle much more quickly. So don't be too concerned or stuck on spear or swing switch drills, use later for refinement when balance is more optimal.
Thanks for the insight, I'm actually just using the book, I don't have any DVDs at this point. I've been back in the water twice this week and the switch drills are feeling much more natural. I've done a few 50s trying to integrate all of the drills and visualizing staying pointy and gliding and while about 30 of those yards still felt awkward, I get about 20 yards at a time where I really feel like I'm slipping through the water and my catch feels good. I can't get to the website in your signature line from work, but I'll try to check it out this evening and see if I can grok what you're saying about the "slot to skate" process.
Thatís great to hear! That slippery feeling is the foundation of balance your have built, now youíre working with a stable platform. The ďslot to skateĒ is part of the new sequence in 1.0 Effortless Endurance . Most succinct series Terry had compiled to date. Although the 10 lesson DVD is great too, and contains the spear/swing switch drills we use more for refinement as balance has been achieved.
Anyway, post any questions you may have
Enjoy your journey!
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