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Old 11-02-2012
CharlesCouturier CharlesCouturier is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,244
Default Ankle Band Drill - A non TI method pursuing TI goals

I don't wish a long life to this thread. I simply wanted to answer Terry without polluting Werner's thread:

Originally Posted by terry View Post
First, congratulations on having your athlete qualify for that circuit. How does one qualify? By nation? Or among all potential swimmers worldwide?
Open Water swimming, even at the highest level is extremely democratic, far more than Pool swimming.

All it takes for any among you to test your luck on this circuit is to first not violating very simply eligibility rules, which may vary from country to country, and get accepted by the organizing committee. So that swimmer must not participate to any Championship both at the Master level and Club level. Otherwise his eligibility is compromised. In our case, we may race Masters for fun (in non Championship races) and will stick to Club level competitions for more important time trials.

Not sure yet that he would be allow to race both the Professional Grand Prix circuit and the FINA World circuit though, which is not a problem since we won't even try a full marathon (typical of a Grand Prix event).

Other than that, it was just a matter of convincing the committee, which is led by my former boss LOL. And as far as he was concerned, he just needed some proofs that we could actually swim around 2:15 for 10k that day, which places us fair mid pack. So you begin there, earn a reputation, then progress to more prestigious races.

If anyone here would like more info, just drop me a PM. For girls, a 10k in 2:30 probably guaranties a spot (so holding 1:30/100m for 10k open water).

Originally Posted by terry View Post
Second, I agree you're on the right track in teaching him to adapt to 2BK, but think there's a better - and much faster - way.
I've had lots of personal experience with ankle band. The most useful thing I got from it was feeling catch better. Also helped encourage higher elbows. But it taught me little or nothing of the awareness or muscle activation that ultimately gave me a 2BK that has gradually become a powerful aid to race performance -- and feeling silky synchronicity.

When swimming with it, I could feel my legs straining against it. When I swam instead without it, but simply pressing my feet lightly together, I no longer felt my legs straining to pull apart. Instead I felt my spinal stabilizers really working.
The Ankle band drill remains a bit mysterious. It has made a lot of noise here in Canada after our former head coach (national team), ie Joel Filliol had claimed that it is the best drill for triathletes. Is this true? Is this false? Well I guess it depends in what you compare the commitment to this drill to....

So many self coached triathletes are getting most of their technical program (drilling as well as formatting their full stroke) wrong....

I agree with you that this drill is far from being perfect, in large part for the reason you put forward.

Parallel to all this, I've been the follower of a forum member that decided to really explore what this drill could bring to him. We're talking about an over50yo person, that was slow. So one that could be classified as beginner level. He's been banding for over 6 months now (without removing it, except for one exception, which I'll be covering...). He has accumulated over 120kilos of Ankle band drill.

His very first major finding is perfectly in line with yours. Whilst to me, this drill was more about improving balance (by necessity), for him, it was rather a first occasion to really improve his pull through phase. I was a bit surprised by this feedback, but tend to respect all researchers no matter in which format they come.

Not long ago, he was posting a very strange comment. He had discovered (according to his lines), that the Ankle band would teach him how to rotate from the hips. Before this discovery, he would feel that his legs were fishtailing, ie kind of zigzagging behind him. But now all of a sudden, he would feel that by engaging his core muscles in a way he had never done before, he could eliminate this zigzagging sensations.

So (you may already feel where I'm heading here). I, as a researcher (Isolated Rotation drill) asked him: Well, since you claim having master this crucial element, it means you could do my Isolated Rotation drill. Thus far, attempting to teach this things to swimmers of his level had massively failed.

Well he accepted to get wet without his ankle band, wear a pull, booked the IR like it was a walk in a park, found it a bit boring after a whilst. Had no issue getting some propulsion out of it, and felt it was very easy to perform.

Woa. This is where I am at. He then tried to convinced me to use massive Ankle band prescriptions for all my beginner swimmers, something that is totally out of question (nice try...).

My elite swimmer was attending my last Training Day. He booked 14500m in that day. His band set was 5x400m off 5:45, he was holding between 5:15 and 5:20 (so sub 1:20/100m pace) with the band no pull. So I'm not overly worried in his case. Add to this that I don't really have time to teach him balance. Well... I tried that 50k prescription and will see how it unfolds. It shouldn't take him more than 2 weeks @ 25k per week anyway.

Originally Posted by terry View Post
Our teaching methodology now has our coaches lightly hold the student's ankles together (not supporting, but just pressing inward with an open hand) while they swim a short distance -- 8 to 10 strokes. Then reverse and have student hold the coach's ankles similarly. We ask the student to compare sensations. What forces do they feel their own legs exerting. What do they feel the coaches exerting.
A few minutes of that is often enough to break old habits and start new ones. It's part of a 3-step manually-assisted process that consistently gets formerly-busy kickers pretty well along to a far more economical, and reasonably well-timed 2BK.
But if I shared all three steps, I'd have to kill you ;-). Or send you a bill for training.
I'm absolutely convinced, without any doubt that your 3-step approach works perfectly. I am just not so sure that my approach will not work equally as well for this particular case under these particular conditions. I have not prescribed massive volumes of Ankle band drill to any other swimmer.

So your process is standard procedure for most if not all TIers, whereas my approach here remains an exception that applies to this person in this context.

I'll know if it worked when he removes the band. I expect instantaneous 2bk with perfect body position. If this doesn't happen, then I was wrong. But I will have lost only 2 weeks so not a bit concern there.
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