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Old 02-12-2014
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Default 7 Habits of Highly Effective Swimmers

This article came out of an earier post "Learning to Coach the TI Way" and is worthy of its own thread: "7 Habits of Highly Effective Swimmers" by Coach Novak. Whether you're a competitive swimmer, triathlete or just swim for fitness, every swimmer regardless of level, novice through elite, will benefit following these 7 habits at each and every pool session.
  1. Always count strokes
  2. Control effort and maintain form
  3. Constantly seek ways to reduce drag
  4. Practice effective swimming
  5. Strive to be the quietest swimmer in the pool
  6. Focus on looking easier—at all speeds
  7. Master the skills that win races. It's not what you do at practice - it's how.
Key words are "practice", "master", "how". I have always been curious why most swimmers/triathletes refer to their swims as "swim workouts". I've seen many books and articles on "swim workouts", "Swim Workouts in a Binder", "Swim Workouts for Triathletes", etc, It's a long held perception of muscling though distance, more and harder is better, one size fits all. We don't refer to baseball, golf, hockey, soccer, tennis, dance, karate, even football as "workouts", but as a practice since it's not just about muscle, it's about how to recuit muscle and when, strategy. So then why not "swim practice". Follow these 7 habits, change perception to "swim practice" and find out how much more benefit, improvement and enjoyment you will discover at your next pool session.

Enjoy your next swim practice!

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 02-12-2014 at 09:28 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2014
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Good advice--will keep this list in my swim bag.

Since I swim early in the a.m., I usually am the quietest swimmer in the pool (since I am the only one there!). Just a few times I met 2 swimmers that were a whole lot quieter than me--they were two female ducks that liked to swim along side of me. they went a whole lot faster than I could!

In all seriousness, thanks for this list--simple and easy to remember.

Sherry
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Old 02-15-2014
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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I can also recommend the original book - its a classic

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Habits-H...fective+people
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Old 02-15-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Sudden wondering ... does no.1 mean I should count: 1, 2, 3 as I swim, or just that strokes need to be counted (by my watch for instance)?
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Sudden wondering ... does no.1 mean I should count: 1, 2, 3 as I swim, or just that strokes need to be counted (by my watch for instance)?
Hey Talvi, It's best to count each arm stroke (1,2,3,...). The watches count just one arm (the watch arm). I have used the watch to count strokes, but I have to stop to see the value, and often found count one or two off (and that's on one arm). If I'm in middle of 500+, I will count every 3rd length. And if in 25y pool, if I finish the length with my left arm means (to me) 13 strokes, finish right arm 14 strokes. Terry (and Coach Mat) wrote an excellent blog on conscious stroke counting: http://totalimmersion.net/blog/why-i...ious-hard-way/

Stuart

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 02-17-2014 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 02-20-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Hey Talvi, It's best to count each arm stroke (1,2,3,...). The watches count just one arm (the watch arm). I have used the watch to count strokes, but I have to stop to see the value, and often found count one or two off (and that's on one arm). If I'm in middle of 500+, I will count every 3rd length. And if in 25y pool, if I finish the length with my left arm means (to me) 13 strokes, finish right arm 14 strokes. Terry (and Coach Mat) wrote an excellent blog on conscious stroke counting: http://totalimmersion.net/blog/why-i...ious-hard-way/

Stuart
Thanks Stuart, and for the blog too. I find I am so focused on my timing etc etc that counting goes out of the window, even when I set out to do it. The meditation on the stroke or presence in the moment doesn't seem to be what's missing (most), but I can really imagine how, once even a half-decent technique is attained, counting might be fun, but feel I'm ways off that still.

Then again, when I meditate, I've found that counting can distract. I meditate on my heartbeat and find a count sometimes creeps into my mind to become a "monkey thought", distracting me from the present.

On the other hand maybe I'm just too simple to be able to focus on so many things at once! :)

Interesting.
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #7  
Old 02-20-2014
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Hi Talvi,

Yeah - counting strokes is almost a focal point all on its own. Try not to think of more than one or two focal points at a time to keep it simple. We humans just aren't that good a multi-tasking, I'm certainly not. Use just one length to count strokes and not think of any part of your stroke while you count - that should help.

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM
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Old 03-01-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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I am thinking counting really helps maybe when you've got a rhythm and good technique, and want to improve/refine/hone that, whereas I'm still struggling just to get to that decent technique.

I think, for someone like me, counting strokes has no benefit and that it's better to try and, for instance, get the hang of how the rising front times with the breath catch rotation and kick to get that push feeling in the pull ---- hmm, just writing that down ... it's like herding cats!

Having said that, for the first time yesterday I finally got a feel of push and anchor etc so maybe some progress is taking place. FWIW I think it was when my shoulder rotation and head turn/breath was tied to the rising front body - and I guess to relaxed lead arm and wider tracks .... damn, back herding those cats again it seems! :D

I feel if the cats start pulling together then I can make my focus more external ....
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #9  
Old 03-01-2014
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
I am thinking counting really helps maybe when you've got a rhythm and good technique, and want to improve/refine/hone that, whereas I'm still struggling just to get to that decent technique.

I think, for someone like me, counting strokes has no benefit and that it's better to try and, for instance, get the hang of how the rising front times with the breath catch rotation and kick to get that push feeling in the pull ---- hmm, just writing that down ... it's like herding cats!

Having said that, for the first time yesterday I finally got a feel of push and anchor etc so maybe some progress is taking place. FWIW I think it was when my shoulder rotation and head turn/breath was tied to the rising front body - and I guess to relaxed lead arm and wider tracks .... damn, back herding those cats again it seems! :D

I feel if the cats start pulling together then I can make my focus more external ....
Haaaarrrr! "Herding Cats" - awesome! I'm gonna have to steal that one from you Talvi. It really summarizes the frustration one can go through as we break down the complexity of swimming. I look at each stroke like the precision and grace of a golf swing, and hold try to hole for each stroke. What you can do is say ... near your final few laps of your swim session, take your best lap of the day and count just one length. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Keep up the good work!

Stuart
MindBodyAndSWIM
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  #10  
Old 03-03-2014
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Thanks Stuart, and for the blog too. I find I am so focused on my timing etc etc that counting goes out of the window, even when I set out to do it. The meditation on the stroke or presence in the moment doesn't seem to be what's missing (most), but I can really imagine how, once even a half-decent technique is attained, counting might be fun, but feel I'm ways off that still.

Then again, when I meditate, I've found that counting can distract. I meditate on my heartbeat and find a count sometimes creeps into my mind to become a "monkey thought", distracting me from the present.

On the other hand maybe I'm just too simple to be able to focus on so many things at once! :)

Interesting.
Did you try having the skater's waltz play in your head? If you start it with the first spear and get to the end of the refrain then that's 16 strokes, then you only count the bit at the end. It also helps you smooth out the rhythm of the stroke I find.
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