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  #1  
Old 02-04-2014
larryc larryc is offline
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larryc
Default Mental block keeping me from swimming laps

I'm working with a swim coach to get my freestyle stroke down. We've made a lot of progress, but something is STILL keeping me from getting all the way from one end of the pool to the other.

It's taken me about six months to actually get comfortable in the water and no longer afraid of the deep end. (I was already athletic but swimming wasn't part of it.)

I'm in excellent shape, arm movement decent, kick is erratic. I don't really fatigue before reaching the other end -- the swim just falls apart and I don't finish. Something mentally is impeding me.

We're trying to be more "in the moment" with the strokes instead of actually thinking about the other end/the wall. This is helping some -- what else should I be doing?
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2014
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryc View Post
I'm in excellent shape, arm movement decent, kick is erratic. I don't really fatigue before reaching the other end -- the swim just falls apart and I don't finish. Something mentally is impeding me.
I'm not clear on what you mean by "the swim just falls apart and I don't finish." What are you doing differently when it "falls apart"?


Bob
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2014
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryc View Post
I'm working with a swim coach to get my freestyle stroke down. We've made a lot of progress, but something is STILL keeping me from getting all the way from one end of the pool to the other.

It's taken me about six months to actually get comfortable in the water and no longer afraid of the deep end. (I was already athletic but swimming wasn't part of it.)

I'm in excellent shape, arm movement decent, kick is erratic. I don't really fatigue before reaching the other end -- the swim just falls apart and I don't finish. Something mentally is impeding me.

We're trying to be more "in the moment" with the strokes instead of actually thinking about the other end/the wall. This is helping some -- what else should I be doing?
If you can get access to an endless pool I think this would help with the data - is it a mental block or a physical swimming technique issue? the endless pool will take away any mental blocks from the equation and you will find out if you can swim for minutes at a time.

Often with otherwise very fit people, pacing is an issue in swimming as the lower cadence of swimming compared to running or cycling feels initially easy but may actually represent a sprint rather than a steady effort.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2014
machelett machelett is offline
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I've been there myself for a long time so I know exactly how you feel. It's all in your mind.
It may sound paradoxical but if getting to the other end is so important then you need to step back and relax first. Sometimes we want something so bad that we get all tense and as a consequence fail to acquire it.

Don't try to do it all at once; see it as process and ease yourself into it: Find the mark from where you can easily reach the wall--halfway, two thirds of the way, or whatever else you can manage. Then swim to the end from that point.

Repeat until you feel comfortable doing so and then move that mark further back. Eventually you will hit the other wall and you'll wonder what you find so hard about that in the first place.

Another approach that worked for me when I was past the length--and I'm confident that you'll complete your length soon:
Think about the things that will happen. Expect your swim to "fall apart" and when it does, laugh about it because you were right and everything happened as predicted. That means you're in control of the situation. And feeling in control helps a lot.

What you're trying to do is not hard by any standard. What you think about is what makes it hard. Stop taking it seriously, make fun of yourself, of your failure to carry your athletic potential over into swimming. If you find it hilarious that you can't breathe--"boy, I goofed up again!"--it'll be easier to let go and actually find some air.
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of. That is especially true in swimming and once you get that you'll laugh all the way through your first mile. :)

Good luck!
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2014
exmax exmax is offline
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the points raised are all spot on
as another newbie i had a similar issue (related to breathing initially)
i had a rough idea how many strokes it would take me to do 25 m from the pieced drills
however, once i got 3/4 down the pool things fell apart (very difficult to break down the actual process ) but it happened time after time
not sure if it was apprehension, or panic that i was finally in reach of a goal
either way the only way i overcame it was to focus on something else
thats where the tempo trainer came in stroke to the beep nothing else mattered
and then i made it , and again each time easier
the crazy thing is that it then started to happen again - i became used to stopping after 25m so the wall had only really moved
back to the beep in a 50 m pool and i have no problem doing a length and can now swim multiple lengths in the 25 m pool without stopping
i dont yet have experience of an endless pool or open water, but can only imagine how good it must feel
hope this helps
thanks
Shaun
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  #6  
Old 02-05-2014
jbarxx jbarxx is offline
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Default Same thing...

I just made a similar post before seeing yours. I am now able to do a full lap but it took me a full 1.5 years to get there. I know that it has to be easier than this. I see people saying that something just clicked. I want that click. I look forward to following your post as well as mine.

Jim
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  #7  
Old 02-05-2014
larryc larryc is offline
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larryc
Default Kick goes awry, too

All,
Thanks for the great comments! I actually made it all the way to the wall today without stopping. Not thinking about "the wall" made all the difference. Laughing helped too.

But -- it was still a struggle. My kicking gets erratic when the arms start moving, and very erratic each time I come up for a breath. One of my swim coaches noticed that my legs go out wide when I breathe, then come back in where they should be when my face gets back underwater.

Bottom line: I'm kicking faster, and with far more tension, than I need to be. I've tried kicking slowly, then adding the arms. Tried moving the arms, then adding a slow kick.

The kick IS better than it was, mostly because I'm now kicking from the hips and not the knees. But it's still hindering my swimming. Any advice?
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  #8  
Old 02-05-2014
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello larryc,

may be a look at http://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/c...ills/the-kick/
will help you a step forward.

Best regards,
Werner
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2014
exmax exmax is offline
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i had a big scissor kick going on, which i now know was to balance my over rotation especially when trying to breathe
so i took the problem to the other end of the scale and used no kick, legs together, light pressure but relaxed, streamlined pointed toes
at the start i struggled as i didnt have any real momentum, my spear was too high so my legs dragged behind
so i speared deeper and up my legs popped, i became more balanced ,you can then also feel how your trunk rotates in stroke ie mine moved laterally which made me realize my core strength needed work.

i am not sure if its right, but when i move faster through the water i feel i need to spear higher than when im at a slower pace . which to me seems logical as i found the inverse to be true
no hijack intended but any feedback appreciated

currently im only 600 mins into swimming freestyle but hopefully using everyones insights we can all become more efficient swimmers
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  #10  
Old 02-11-2014
cpa_pfs cpa_pfs is offline
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I too struggled swimming laps. Very frustrating as I am an endurance athlete. I've run dozens of marathons yet 25M and I was exhausted. I would stop and clear my googles or mess with something ... which weren't real problems but I was buying time to catch my breath and figure out how to get back to the other end of the pool. In reality I was resting. There is a thing I call "resting while running" ... and I was "resting while swimming".

What helped was swimming more efficiently (pushing the water backwards instead of pushing down on it), but also swimming with my running partner. He demanded that we swim down and back (50M). I reluctantly followed. At first, it was so hard to do. But after a few days ... it was the "new normal".

Then we started doing swim sets where we started when the clock reached :00 and swam 50M then started a new lap every 2 mins. This was a huge benefit. It soon became more like running in that I became comfortable with the constant effort expenditure. I quit swimming so hard and found a sustainable pace. I swam in the lane next to him and literally let him set the pace. I just paced off of his feet ... like we have done for each other over thousands of miles running together. Then we added 100M. Then 200M. Etc. At some point, I quit focusing on the lap and relaxed and help pace. Just like late miles on a long run.

Last edited by cpa_pfs : 02-11-2014 at 02:56 PM.
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