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Old 08-22-2018
daveblt daveblt is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 820

Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Hi Cathy,

Tension in the shoulders is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome, far more then tension in the neck - but both are related. Recruiting the shoulder is primal, a response to imbalance. Soft, relaxed shoulders are fluid and move freely; tight tense shoulders are rigid, not fluid or free. Terry used to say “swim with [the feeling of] light shoulders” an excellent focus. Look at any of his videos, notice how soft and “light” his shoulders are:

To feel what a tense vs soft/light shoulder is like, in Superman (and Skate) drill, extend arms forward using shoulders, bring the shoulders to the ears - feel the discomfort and also become aware of the tension in the neck and chest too. Most will sink of few inches with tension. Then with tension, release the shoulders, allow the shoulder to sit back in its socket - feel the sudden comfort *and* stability (body rises to surface) with relaxed shoulders.

Find out what is causing your imbalance that is recruiting the shoulders to solve unconsciously, as well as use the focal point, “swim with light shoulders”. This will take time, be patient with the process.


Like I've mentioned before, a pinky entry that is rotated at least just slightly down along with a spear to the far wall that is not fully locked out and with a feeling that you are extending from the shoulder and not the hand seems to help keep tension from the shoulders. A pinky down entry and relaxed but toned arm helps to keep you from balancing off the palm of your hand which turns your arm in to a long stiff lever resulting in late catch and breath timing .

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