Originally Posted by Danny
You should not be bobbing and certainly not be using the aforementioned Bob to help you breathe.
I don't like the one armed drills for freetstyle in any of its form actually but if you find benefit in it then of course use it.
James, if you mean that you should not introduce a Bob into your stroke for the purposes of facilitating breathing, then I agree with you totally.
I think the one armed drill is useful in the same way that skating is useful. Both drills remove the use of arms and hands to cover up stroke problems. The idea is that you should correct your problems rather than cover them up. So what does the one armed drill offer that skating does not? For me, a lot of problems can arise in the catch and anchor that may throw off my balance and torque me in a direction that I shouldn't be going in. Skating doesn't practice catch and anchor, but the one armed drill does, and without the extended hand on the other side, I get to see some of the problems I might otherwise not notice. Your objection that the catch and anchor should be a whole body movement, which is hindered in the one-armed drill also does not seem to hold to me. The part of the recovery that influences your catch and anchor is done with your recovering shoulder and torso, and there is nothing in the one-armed drill to stop you from practicing the high side recovery motion with your shoulder. In fact, placing more emphasis on shoulder recovery gives a useful perspective to me when I do it.
No drill is the same as full stroke, and all drills can be criticized for this. A drill emphasizes certain aspects of full stroke and neglects other aspects. Sometimes this emphasis can be useful, but it depends on what problems you are dealing with.
As far as bobbing is concerned, as I said above, it is a bad idea to introduce bobbing into your stroke to facilitate breathing. That said, the one armed drill does make you aware of what impact the recovering arm has on your body position in water. As a matter of principle, I find it helpful to be aware of such things. In full stroke, the bobbing is greatly reduced because of the extended arm. It is also impacted by the timing and nature of the kick. So there are a lot of choices here about what to do with this effect. But the effect is there and being aware of it is (in my opinion) a good thing. Breathing technique is an area that probably deserves its own thread (or even forum), but I will only observe that I see vast differences in the breathing technique (for example) of Terry and Shinji. I think a lot of these differences are due to differences in body type and flexibility. That is where each of us has to find their own right choices. Being aware of the weight of the recovering arm and its impact on breathing is (again in my opinion) something that is useful. what you do with this knowledge is up to you.