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  #1  
Old 11-06-2009
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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westyswoods
Default Pressing Hand on Breath

Need help with correcting the patient hand from pressing down and toward center when in a breath cycle. I have been working on gaining a good seamless breathing pattern but have become aware of my opposite hand pushing down and toward center off track when taking a breath. I know it is a balance problem and throws my whole body out of streamline. This happens both sides with left being the worse. My switch and skating drills are fair to good with kick starting to tighten up. (I think) Will video tomorrow.

Have a great day and enjoy the journey

Thanks Westy
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2009
atreides atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westyswoods View Post
Need help with correcting the patient hand from pressing down and toward center when in a breath cycle. I have been working on gaining a good seamless breathing pattern but have become aware of my opposite hand pushing down and toward center off track when taking a breath. I know it is a balance problem and throws my whole body out of streamline. This happens both sides with left being the worse. My switch and skating drills are fair to good with kick starting to tighten up. (I think) Will video tomorrow.

Have a great day and enjoy the journey

Thanks Westy
This is a fairly common problem that you correctly point out is due to balance. I was able to overcome it by realizing inititally that I was late in breathing which caused me to have to begin a stroke on the opposite side to maintain buoyancy until I got my head back into the water. Even when I figured this out, I had gotten into a bad habit so I had to constantly paractice what a lot of people call the "catch up" drill. It's pretty simple. While doing whole stroke, don't begin a pull until the opposite arm has fully recovered into the water. Some people advocate passing an object from one hand to the other in order to stress the point. This is a marvelous drill because it also emphasizes "front quadrant" swimming. You should try it without breathing to get the hang of it and then slowly work in breathing. For me, it was the breathing motion that caused the most problem. I had to concentrate on holding my left hand spear, until my right hand got back into the water. It was pretty maddening but I finally caught on. You will too.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2009
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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I have exactly the same, but only on my real bad breathing side. I practiced breathing in drills a lot, but it doesn't seem to really help. I lift my head to air instead of just rolling it, and leave it there for too long, then I have to 'lean' on the spearing arm to compensate for that out of balance movement, so the spearing arm moves down and in.
What I do in the moment: I am drilling with the Tempo Trainer. 1.30 secs/stroke is really fast for me, and I simply try to maintain that stroke count. The effect is that I have neither time for thinking about the breathing nor do I have time to loose my balance. In a way I 'just do' it without focusing on it too much. It slowly gets better.

Last edited by haschu33 : 11-06-2009 at 04:19 PM. Reason: try to be more precise
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  #4  
Old 11-06-2009
vol vol is offline
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Not sure in your cases, but although I have the same problem, the reason actually has nothing to do with which side I breathe, because it's always the same (left) hand that drops, whether I breathe on the right or left side, or even if I don't breathe. There was an earlier discussion about this here, and someone pointed it out--and I have come to fully agree--that the cause is the lifelong habit of being right-handed (in my and most people's case). It's just I am not used to using certain muscles (still to be identified!) on a particular side as I do on the other side, or those muscles are weak.

The result of this is that I have alternating good-bad-good-bad strokes. When my left hand pulls and right hand extends forward, the stroke is long (seems I can glide forever), I am a very good swimmer, but the next stroke, I am a very poor one, with dropping left hand, and seems I can't sustain myself for even 2 seconds. If pictures had been of both strokes, it should be very clear.

What's needed is to identify which muscles they are that need to be worked on.

Last edited by vol : 11-06-2009 at 05:08 PM.
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2009
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default Keep in mind

The breath happens from the body's rotation, not from the arm pulling, so try not to tie it to that too much. If you're crossing, you're probably breaking posture to lift out and up for the breath. Lean the top corner of your head in while rolling (this would bring you BACK to posture if you're broken it). If you see air before you're getting it, you're out of alignment. Lifting the forehead up more won't help the breathing when in balance, but it will sink your hips down.
Try some single switches to breath and see if your direction changes. Keep trying them with slight adjustments until you remain moving in the same direction after the switch during the breath- no going off course.
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2009
Janos Janos is offline
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Default weightless arm

Hi Westy,

I too suffered from my arm dropping when I went for air, but curiously only on a left side breath.

I resolved the situation by accident. Terry has spoken of the weightless arm. This occurs because your core drives the stroke. Your arms are just part of a chain of events that start from your hips. So as you swim, you must 'see' your hips as the main propulsive force, this then allows you to free your arms, relax them, and tense them only momentarily when in 'catch' mode as your hip drive acts against your vertical hold on the water to propel you.

My left sided problem was not just dropping the leading right arm, but I was also aware of a more clumsy entry with my recovering arm when taking a breath. Once I started 'seeing' my core as a vessel, that moved independently from my arms, I started taking the breath, and returning to a face down position fractionly before my shoulder started to return...I feel this point may be essential, as it allows you to fully focus on a clean arm entry. This then balances out your stroke, and you swim cleanly and silently. The total focus on rotation ,makes your arm action weightless, you don't lean on your extending arm, and it allows a fully relaxed recovery, and ultimately, a sublime swimming experience!

This has been a recent discovery for me, and perhaps that final big 'eureka' moment in my freestyle journey! I can now focus totally on subtley refining my stroke.

I hope that helps in some way.

Kind Regards

Janos

Last edited by Janos : 11-07-2009 at 12:41 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-06-2009
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Great: same experience, different solutions.

As I have the same problem, I'd like to summarize:

The problem is the spearing arm going doing and crossing while breathing on the other side. I think it is save to say that this 'problem' actually is a symptom, and it indicates a balance problem while breathing.
As CochDave puts it: 'If you're crossing, you're probably breaking posture to lift out and up for the breath.' essentialized to:

'If you see air before you're getting it, you're out of alignment.'

Quite a statement, I grant it 5 out of 5 stars, it has the potential to become a classic :)

I think it is obvious that may be the worst way to solve our issue is to work on the symptom. So let's look at the cause.
Several solutions are being proposed:

- @CoachDave: 'Try some single switches to breath and see if your direction changes. Keep trying them with slight adjustments until you remain moving in the same direction after the switch during the breath- no going off course.'

- @artreides: 'the "catch up" drill. It's pretty simple. While doing whole stroke, don't begin a pull until the opposite arm has fully recovered into the water. Some people advocate passing an object from one hand to the other in order to stress the point. This is a marvelous drill because it also emphasizes "front quadrant" swimming. You should try it without breathing to get the hang of it and then slowly work in breathing.'

- @vol: indicates it might have to do with being right-handed and: 'What's needed is to identify which muscles they are that need to be worked on.'

- @Janos: 'Once I started 'seeing' my core as a vessel, that moved independently from my arms, I started taking the breath, and returning to a face down position fractionly before my shoulder started to...I feel this point may be essential, as it allows you to fully focus on a clean arm entry'

- @haschu33: 'I am drilling with the Tempo Trainer. 1.30 secs/stroke is really fast for me, and I simply try to maintain that stroke count. The effect is that I have neither time for thinking about the breathing nor do I have time to loose my balance.'

We need an update then on what worked for whom.
Or enlarge our list :-))
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2009
vol vol is offline
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Let me add what I have done that helped convince me that it's probably a matter of weak muscles on one side. If you use pull buoys you can try this, though I didn't use pull buoy but simply kept my legs together as if having a pull buoy: swim with the pull buoy (or, like me, keeping two legs together without any kicking), hand strokes just like you do in freestyle, try not to breathe for as long as you can so that you can see whether it has to do with breathing or not. What I experienced was, even if I don't breathe for several strokes, when my right hand is outstretched forward, I felt very comfortable, and my body glides forward very stably, right arm remaining on surface for "indefniite" time, so to speak. Now comes the next stroke: right hand starts catch, left hand extends forward, then as soon as right hand begin to make pull, left hand immediately drops, as if there is a string connecting left arm and left torso (or perhaps connecting left hand and right hand?) that draws the left arm down. In order to balance myself in this position, my right elbow has to be really high, so that I become overrotated (with left arm awkwardly pointing down). Next stroke, the right arm extends forward, I'm save from the imbalance again. So on and so forth...

The whole process I didn't have to breathe with my head underwater. So it's not about breathing, at least in my case. It's some muscles that didn't get used or are too weak to support the right arm (Perhaps it's certain muscles on the left side of the torso?), or whatever other problem resulted from life-long right-handedness.

Anyway, I can see that if I can correct this and make my left side swim the same as right side, I would swim really well, as I'd be perfectly balanced and can swim in stable rhythm and my left stroke length would be as much as my right stroke length.

Last edited by vol : 11-06-2009 at 08:44 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-06-2009
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default Just a word of caution

You can do a catch-up drill without building in some bad habits. match them up on wide tracks without stopping the flow- that's the goal.
Tagging one hand to another will create multipl problems, one of which you're already trying to get rid of. Tagging forces crossing the middle- the place I call the "no swim zone". You've stated that you cross on breathing strokes, which we definitely want to avoid. Tagging kills the momentum from the hips, and teaches the swimmer that crossing causes rotation, instead of a shift of weight from one wide skate to another.
Passing an object from one hand to another can work if done right, but two things should be avoided. First- don't watch the show! Pass it off without ruining the head position. That's where I invoke the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Second- before passing it off, let go! If you pass while still holding, you use the pull to make the rest of the rotation happen. If instead, you're focusing on taking the shoulder, hip, and arm down quick enough to get that object before it drops or floats, you have tricked yourself out of pulling hard to make rotation happen. You're learning to use piercing to rotate, while maintaining enough patience to still pass it off. Stick pass ftw!
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2009
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Wow what a variety of responses.

I am in the process of trying to figure out which may work for me. I have practiced the catch up in the past prior to TI. It was done with a very small wooden doll and had tape shoulder width apart. I would catch to the tape on each side but had no idea of balance, hip drive, hang my head or a multitude of other focal points. I was just told to do it so I did. DA

Coach Dave please clarify "lean the top corner of your head in.....if you see air before your getting it your out of alignment.

What am I missing in that is the head not supposed to follow the body rotation to air? If so does it not also follow back into water when spearing hand and shoulder enter water?

There may very well be a right side left side imbalance due to a total left knee replacement and a very large muscle deficit left quads... Although both sides are a problelm left is much worse.

Tempo may be an issue as I am about 1.5-1.8 when doing whole stroke. Working on getting a MP3 so I can hear it.

I am going to have my wife do some extensive videos tomorrow, if I can figure out how to post them on this site I will. Right now I need to put some notes together from what has been suggested.

I was blessed with a mentor who once told me. "We have nothing in life which we have not been given by someone else. Knowledge is not worth having if you can not share it with others."

Thanks To All This Is Why These Forums Are A Great Learning Tool.

Westy
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