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  #1  
Old 12-21-2013
Unicorn Unicorn is offline
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Unicorn
Default Some Guidance on How to Get Started ... PLEASE HELP!!

Hello - I am a total noob swimmer - I can get in the pool and not drown, mostly doggie paddle, and decided to purchase the Perpetual Motion Freestyle in 10 Lessons for self coaching. I bought a swimsuit and I suppose I will need to get a membership at a pool somewhere.

I am a 4-time individual CrossFit Games competitor and, although reluctantly, I am resolved to train for the inevitable swim event (whatever it might be) that has begun showing up in many of the higher end competitions. I am likely going to be thrown into the ocean in Miami at a comp in mid-Jan ('14) so I have about a month to at least get more comfortable in the pool.

I find swimming extremely unpleasant (due to a negative childhood experience) and bought this program based on the reviews from others who said it was the answer when nothing worked before (tried swim lessons already with miserable results.)

My intent is to just start practicing from Lesson 1 right from the video but MY QUESTION IS : how long do I spend on one drill/lesson before moving on to the next? How many minutes/hours/laps/sessions per week will be appropriate for me to make noticeable progress in a month?

I'm completely overwhelmed just at the thought of putting on goggles so any guidance will be much appreciated. I am in Atlanta, GA and have been unable to find a TI instructor in Georgia.

Thanks in advance for any helpful tips.
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2013
helixfairweather helixfairweather is offline
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Hi Unicorn!

I am listed as a "Senior Member" on this forum but the system uses how many posts one writes to create these categories. I comment and ask questions a lot, hence the Senior Member but I am in no way a really skilled TI-er yet.

One thing I *am* good at is learning from the PMF DVD, taking my time, working the drills and continuing to make progress. If you have the level of stress about swimming that you describe, I sincerely hope you reconsider this mid-January swim thing.

Terry Laughlin (founder of TI) says that we should never practice struggle. By setting a big goal with a short deadline, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of struggle between now and then.

To answer your questions about drills and time: I had those same questions. Because my profession as a dog trainer and teacher of dog trainers, I was very familiar with the utter importance of foundation skills and the need to forestall "just wanting to swim". I wasn't about to practice and rehearse my current level of ineptitude!

I would be happy to share my early practice plans with you. These include my subjective notes on each practice session - which are quite funny now, some 10 months later.

To keep this short (as I could wax on and on about practice sets), I followed the lessons on the DVD religiously. I added the next exercise once I felt very comfortable doing the previous one. I built up to an all TI set little by little. I spent as much time in the pool as I could do and feel good about having done it. Early on, it wasn't a lot. Now I am in the water for 75 minutes with a working time of about 60 minutes. Early on I Had to do a few lengths of whole stroke (my old trashing, survival way) in order to keep warm. As soon as I arrived at drills that incorporated 3 strokes of whole stroke, I then dropped out the lengths of whole stroke.

Terry's material is elegantly designed to lead you right to the next progression. If you can keep in mind "don't practice struggle", you'll be successful. THe goal is to be relaxed, have good balance, understand streamlining and to then gradually add in bits of propulsion.

You can private message me if you would like to see the PDFs of my early practice sessions (I called them "work-outs" at the time).

I have found that taking things slowly and building a good foundation to be very beneficial. Yes, I do champ at the bit at times wanting to "just swim" but I am more hooked on wanting to improve and that has become the precedence for me.

Almost every time I leave the pool, I want to go back later that evening and do it again. It becomes a real pain that (schedule-wise) I have to wait two days to go again. :)

I hope you find the learning process as enjoyable as I do.

Helix Fairweather
Keizer, OR
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  #3  
Old 12-21-2013
helixfairweather helixfairweather is offline
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Here is my very first practice set after my DVD arrived:

WEEK #1, Day 1 : LESSON 1
ACTIVITY TIME
Power Walking (across end) (not a TI drill) 04:00.0
PS: Trickle Breathing w/ Rotation (not a TI drill) 03:37.0

Superman Glide 05:50.0
Laser Lead Flutter 03:50.0
Superman to Stroke (3 strokes) 03:40.0
2X 25m FS - slow, easy 02:12.0
2X 25m FS - slow, easy 02:09.0


NOTES: (3) Supermans across pool - 12.5 yds Using the shallow end, going across 5 lanes with no dividers, during non-open swim time.

2X25m = 2 lengths of the 25m pool using a lane
FS = Freestyle (my old way of doing it)
PS = PoolSide

TOTAL TIME: 25.28 min


DVD finally arrived! VERY good workout! I could feel the head position carrying over into the strokes. For my laps of swim at the end, I could tell my head position was much better and noticed the times I lifted it up. Tried breathing on the left - not ready for that. Really felt successful and worked out!

====================================

Terry convinced me in a forum post to not think of these as "work-outs" (old style swim training mode - make 'em work really hard) but rather as "practices", where we practice good skills to imprint them.

Helix
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  #4  
Old 12-21-2013
sojomojo sojomojo is offline
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Since you’re a CrossFit competitor, you can think of swimming as another challenge that you will eventually overcome with lots of practice and determination, but three weeks will be difficult especially for an open-water competition crowded with other swimmers.

Open-water swimming isn’t for everyone. If you’ve got a “negative childhood experience” with swimming, you’ll find open-water swimming to be a bigger challenge than swimming in a controlled environment of an indoor pool. Even US Olympic swimmer Nathan Adrian readily admits that he’s scared of open-water swimming http://nathanadrianappreciationblog....e-full-article
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  #5  
Old 12-21-2013
dgk2009 dgk2009 is offline
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I agree with Helix,I'm going on 4 years now and still wouldn't really call myself a swimmer,fear of the water and trouble relaxing make it difficult,it just takes time,swimming is a journey not a destination,dont rush it.
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2013
Unicorn Unicorn is offline
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Thanks, Helix, for the training tips! I am going to try some of the drills tomorrow if I can get up the moxy to go to the pool and your breakdown is very helpful!

I absolutely know I won't become a swimmer in 3 or 4 weeks. I've already had to endure two open water "swims" in the Pacific Ocean since they introduced swimming at the CF Games in 2011. I was totally unprepared and I used the "" quotes because what I did to make it from Point A to Point B in the water could scarcely be called swimming. But, I didn't really have a choice - if I didn't complete the swim I would be disqualified and after working my butt off all year just to qualify to compete at the Games, I wasn't about to DNF because I wasn't willing to do the swim portion.

I'm just hoping to at least start becoming more comfortable in the water - I'm pretty sure that I don't have a chance at being competitive against people who actually know how to swim in that particular event - but I'd like to get through the event with something that at least resembles a stroke and not a drowning dog, lol!

Just as an aside - I pretty much think it's BS that theyve started included swimming in CF events since I don't know of a single CF gym who's facility includes a pool .... I think they do it to be extremist and because the dude who programs the events is a former Navy SEAL. Having said that, I still love the sport and now expect to see at least one water event at the finals (in 2013 it was in a pool.) I'm trying to be more open-minded towards swimming and am hoping that training in it will make me a more well-rounded athlete.

Thanks, so much everyone for the feedback - would still love to hear if anyone else has suggestions as to how you know when it's time to move from lesson to lesson or how much time spent on each drill, each day -- like a training schedule.

Thanks again!!
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2013
Danny Danny is offline
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Unicorn,

I would think about a 2-track approach. Don't think about using freestyle in your next competitive event. That will place pressure on you and make learning freestyle more difficult. I think breast stroke is easier to learn -- not competently from a race perspective, but to reach a comfort level that would allow you to finish your swimming event without starting to drown. If you can do that, then work on freestyle without the pressure of a deadline. I'm betting you'll find the whole process much more enjoyable that way.
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  #8  
Old 12-22-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unicorn View Post
Hello - I am a total noob swimmer - I can get in the pool and not drown, mostly doggie paddle, and decided to purchase the Perpetual Motion Freestyle in 10 Lessons for self coaching. I bought a swimsuit and I suppose I will need to get a membership at a pool somewhere.

I am a 4-time individual CrossFit Games competitor and, although reluctantly, I am resolved to train for the inevitable swim event (whatever it might be) that has begun showing up in many of the higher end competitions. I am likely going to be thrown into the ocean in Miami at a comp in mid-Jan ('14) so I have about a month to at least get more comfortable in the pool.

I find swimming extremely unpleasant (due to a negative childhood experience) and bought this program based on the reviews from others who said it was the answer when nothing worked before (tried swim lessons already with miserable results.)

My intent is to just start practicing from Lesson 1 right from the video but MY QUESTION IS : how long do I spend on one drill/lesson before moving on to the next? How many minutes/hours/laps/sessions per week will be appropriate for me to make noticeable progress in a month?

I'm completely overwhelmed just at the thought of putting on goggles so any guidance will be much appreciated. I am in Atlanta, GA and have been unable to find a TI instructor in Georgia.

Thanks in advance for any helpful tips.
hey cool to meet a CF guy here in the forums! i'm not a CF person but i love Kstarr's mobilitywod videos and they are infinitely applicable to getting to great swimming.

as for your question, i like to tell clients that the time to change or move onto the next drill is either:

1. you feel that you've mastered the drill. hopefully you can verify via video that you are looking good there.

2. you are getting tired or sick of doing that drill. mentally you are ready to try something else.

also, in the early stages, you should consider not swimming for distance but for imprinting good swim habits. when i first learned TI and rebuilt my stroke, I stopped going to masters practices and just swam anywhere from 800-1500y in a 25y pool. I would drill incessantly, picking a few focal points or drills to work on each time. I would do this 3x per week. Depending on your ability to learn new physical movements, it could take months or it could take years but swimming diligently and judicious use of a underwater camera will help greatly. I had a gopro which i brought with me every session. i would set it up pointing down the lane both above and below the waterline and looked at the video after my swim and see what was wrong, and attempt to fix it next time i jumped in.

how long is the CF games swim? is there a winner, like the first guy out of the water or is it part of an obstacle course or similar?
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2013
masher masher is offline
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Hi Unicorn,

I think your story is a lot like mine, I know next to zero about swimming and have had poor-to-non-existent swimming instruction and some near-drowning experiences. So... there's that. But I saw Terry's YouTube video and started learning based on the DVDs and this website.

What I've learned so far:
I have the O2 in H20 DVD, the Easy Freestyle DVD, and the Self-Coached Workshop. My personal favorite is the Self-Coached Workshop, as I feel it goes into the most depth and it is the one I look at when I need extra help.

I can get to the pool a few times a week. I have a small child and am busy at work, so that's the best I can do.

I can honestly say it took me an entire month to get through a lesson. I have about 3 months worth of practice now, and I am just now getting to the point where I am introducing breathing, and trying to get to where I can cross a 25-yard pool. I still feel too tense and too breathless and off-balance most of the time, but I get a little better each time. I had a lot of form setbacks when trying to introduce sweet-spot breathing and trying to do zen switches.

I don't know how much of my slow progress is my lack of experience, skill, or anxiety levels. But I can tell you that I have started to feel slippery, and at times "relaxed" while swimming, this is very fun! and a whole new experience for me.

I started out doing entire 40-minute practice sessions of nothing but superman glide and flutter, then skating on both sides, with some kicking. Then go home, watch lesson 1 again, maybe some of lesson 2. Rinse and repeat. I watch the DVDs over and over and over. I watch them and everything looks so easy, then in the pool guess what, not so easy!

Some tips that have really helped me in my first few months.

1. NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH. Remember this! For me it was a bit of a problem at first because at first you will be doing superman glide and flutter, etc. and beginner-type exercises before breathing is introduced. This made me get really, really uses to holding my breath all the time. In fact this was counter-productive. Then I came to this forum and saw the NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH tip and I had this forehead-slapping moment. I wish someone would have hammered on this when I started -- breath-holding is the EXCEPTION, not the rule. I was so used to holding my breath all the time, I wasn't aware of how much tension and breathing troubles I was setting myself up for. Breaking that habit has been somewhat tough.

2. The more time I spend in the pool, the better. I was never much of a swimmer, and coping with all the sensory input -- noise, visuals, splashing, water getting in your ears/nose/mouth -- It is so much for your brain to process, while trying to think about form & technique, and oh yeah try not to drown. Hours spent in the pool were needed to properly de-sensitize my brain just so I could think.

3. The bobbing exercise! I don't know which post it was on this forum, but someone described a simple exercise for calm breathing. You go to shallow water, and calmly breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. Without changing your cadence, just submerge as you exhale, then come back up before your lungs are nearly empty. You should be able to breathe like this, bobbing up and down, forever, and stay relaxed. I basically do this exercise now every time before I start practicing, to try to teach myself never to hold my breath. I also try to finish my exhale while I'm out of the water, to ensure I'm not holding my breath anywhere in the transition.

4. Good googles! My eyes seriously kill me if I'm wearing the little speedo-type goggles in the pool for an hour. I got some Aquasphere Kayenne goggles -- the brand isn't important, there are others in the same style. And it is night and day. I can hardly tell I have them on.

5. A streamlined swimming suit -- my baggy trunks just didn't cut it after a while.

Again, this is just the collected wisdom of a DVD-learner who is 3 months into the program... I think an in-person lesson or a weekend clinic would be awesome, but I want to be more comfortable in the pool before I spend $$ on an expensive seminar. I also just don't think 2 days in the pool, even with an instructor, would have been justified with my uber-beginner status. Maybe I'm wrong about that? I'd like to hear the story of a beginner who took a full-fledged TI seminar out of the gate.

best of luck!






Quote:
Originally Posted by Unicorn View Post
Hello - I am a total noob swimmer - I can get in the pool and not drown, mostly doggie paddle, and decided to purchase the Perpetual Motion Freestyle in 10 Lessons for self coaching. I bought a swimsuit and I suppose I will need to get a membership at a pool somewhere.

My intent is to just start practicing from Lesson 1 right from the video but MY QUESTION IS : how long do I spend on one drill/lesson before moving on to the next? How many minutes/hours/laps/sessions per week will be appropriate for me to make noticeable progress in a month?

I'm completely overwhelmed just at the thought of putting on goggles so any guidance will be much appreciated. I am in Atlanta, GA and have been unable to find a TI instructor in Georgia.

Thanks in advance for any helpful tips.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2013
exmax exmax is offline
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i am in a very similar position to unicorn and masher
please take this as information coming from a complete novice but
as an ex pro rugby player i have always avoided swimming , everything was land based, weights, running, cycling, certainly not putting my head in water lol
my perception of what i thought i was doing, and what i thought other swimmers were doing, was completely at polar opposites
in the crawl i resembled a drowning man, flailing and kicking for all my worth just to make it to the end of the pool in a completely exhausted state.
my only stroke has been breast stroke( never done any front crawl) - head above water no idea of the actual stroke, but all targeted to getting an award for distance - this is how we were taught at school

the hardest thing for the dvds and you tube videos to convey is just how relaxed you really need to be to get the most out of the drills - it was only when i experienced this, that i actually understood what it was all about.
and it took a ti coach to hold my arms, loosen my hands, let my head neck and shoulders relax to get to this point
no one was near me in the UK so i traveled a couple of hours to see someone
im not clear how far away you would be from someone in your state, so i appreciate it may not be possible for you to do this
again my perception of what i thought Terry was doing wasnt what i was doing in reality

i now dont have to get to the other side
i dont measure distance
i dont look at the clock
all things that i would naturally do by instinct of playing competitive sport i can now actually let go of at this time because i am learning relaxed

im happy doing the drills while all around other people are pounding out laps and a hell of a lot of effort
i look forward to swimming now more than the running and cycling that i will need for my first triathlon next year

considering what you spend on shoes bikes or any training gear to gain a few seconds in time/ speed my biggest recommendation would be to find a ti coach near you and start at the very beginning, regardless of what you think you can do now
the benefit to cost ratio is off the charts

all the best
Shaun
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