Total Immersion Forums  

Go Back   Total Immersion Forums > Freestyle
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-02-2014
larryc larryc is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 22
larryc
Default The eyes have it

Pretty excited today…

My freestyle has felt wobbly, tense and unbalanced for the past week. I couldn't figure out why.

Just swam and the first few laps were lousy. Then it hit me: my eyes were looking straight down at the bottom of the pool, when they should be up a bit higher.

So I adjusted. My actual head position barely changed, but my eyes went up about 15 to 20 degrees. Still looking at the black line, not the wall ahead.

My body immediately relaxed, breathing improved, everything improved.

Now I know!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-02-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Lappeenranta, Finland
Posts: 1,675
Talvi
Default

FWIW I too have found "raising" the head beneficial. I don't always do it though. Today I didn't. Have to say that today was a bad day, but hadn't thought about this as a possible cause.

I'm also don't have a reference point for my head placement/position, but your angle sounds about what I did on the previous session.

How do you find your new head position affects your alignment when you turn to breathe? I was getting frustrated with this today and went back to having my head aligned straight with my spine, at atten'shun so to speak. I find this causes problems at slower paces, or I have to rotate body and head more.

May I ask what pace you're swimming at? Today when I got down to about 1:45, at times I really felt my head cutting the water and making the bow wave. However when my pace drops to 2:00 or lower that disappears. I think this is relevant to head position too, but really struggling to figure out what's working and what isn't.
__________________
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
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-05-2014
sclim sclim is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,499
sclim
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryc View Post

So I adjusted. My actual head position barely changed, but my eyes went up about 15 to 20 degrees. Still looking at the black line, not the wall ahead.
Sorry, could you clarify?

Your eyes went up 15 - 20 degrees, but your head position barely changed. That is, your head alignment moved, if anything, so little that you could not quantify it, or that it moved upwards, but somewhere between 5 and 20 degrees?

The reason I ask, is that the TI mantra, as I understand it, suggests that when you are perfectly relaxed, with the water supporting your torso and your head, the laser beam that comes out of the top of your head, in other words the proxy for your head axis, should shoot forward under or just at the waterline and parallel to it.

Any deviation from this, as I understand it, will create more drag, either directly, by presenting more frontal cross-sectional area to the water, and by tending to lever the lower half of the body downwards, out of the downstream protected axis streamline profile, and should only be accepted if mandated by physical inability to actually get in that position or some other inescapable reason.

If your head axis angle changed upwards 5 to 20 degrees (or whatever), how did it contribute to your relaxation, do you think? Not challenging, just asking, so that I can add to the vast storehouse of vicarious experience others have told me, to try and better understand what this poor feeble body of mine is trying to achieve!

Last edited by sclim : 07-05-2014 at 02:31 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-05-2014
CoachStuartMcDougal's Avatar
CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
coach
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,353
CoachStuartMcDougal
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
Sorry, could you clarify?
The reason I ask, is that the TI mantra, as I understand it, suggests that when you are perfectly relaxed, with the water supporting your torso and your head, the laser beam that comes out of the top of your head, in other words the proxy for your head axis, should shoot forward under or just at the waterline and parallel to it.
Yes, you said this precisely. It's really hanging the head into weightlessness which gives you the laser beam alignment. But as LarryC noted looking forward gave him that sensation. This is common. Often when we have swimmers hang the head, laser beam, nose down, etc - the swimmer will actually push head down applying tension in the neck attempting to get to the laser alignment. I have had swimmers 'just look a bit forward' to release this tension in the neck. Although the priority is to release tension in the neck, getting there is different with every swimmer.

Stuart
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-05-2014
tomoy tomoy is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 585
tomoy
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Often when we have swimmers hang the head, laser beam, nose down, etc - the swimmer will actually push head down applying tension in the neck attempting to get to the laser alignment. I have had swimmers 'just look a bit forward' to release this tension in the neck. Although the priority is to release tension in the neck, getting there is different with every swimmer.
Stuart
[raises hand] Guilty. I think for me, it's asymmetrical too. My left-lead skate and right-lead are different in terms of what feels like natural head position - probably related to breath preparation. Most experienced-but-non-TI swimmers have a high and forward head position, so the language aims to fix that, but it goes the other way too. In my case I think it's years of poor posture (damn computing).
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-05-2014
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,898
Zenturtle
Default

A head is heavier than water.
If you completely relax the neck, the head will fall forward, out of alignment.
You have to engage a little neck tension to keep the head in line with the spine.
Amount of neck tension is also dependant on buoyancy.
Some people are almost totally submerged.
If they keep their head in line, little is above water, so little force is needed to keep it in that position.
If you are very buoyant and half your head is out of the water when aligned, you have to lift half of your head weight to keep it in line.

Just say relax the neck and let the head become weightless is too simple.

Different folks, different...etc

Looking straight down or a little forward while minimising neck tension is the best general advice I think.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-05-2014
CoachStuartMcDougal's Avatar
CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
coach
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,353
CoachStuartMcDougal
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
A head is heavier than water.
Just say relax the neck and let the head become weightless is too simple.

Different folks, different...etc
It really is that simple Zenturtle. Hanging the head, no tension in neck - is one of the best focals to use, especially on swimmers that have been looking forward with tension for years. Adding more complexity to where the head should be only adds tension to the neck and sometimes shoulders too. For the few that add tension in neck with laser or hang head focal, removing tension by looking a few degrees forward puts them into a natural posture with no tension in neck. The swimmer will feel a sudden sense of relaxation throughout their body.

Stuart
MindBodyAndSwim
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-06-2014
sclim sclim is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,499
sclim
Default

@CoachStuartMcDougall: Just so I understand correctly the gist of your last 2 comments -- the priority for efficient and streamlined swimming is to let your head hang relaxed in the water. Once you have achieved this subjectively, you have achieved your intention. At that point, it really doesn't matter if someone takes a protractor and notices that the axis of the head and neck has angled up 10 or so degrees or whatever -- you are saying that doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, because of the overwhelming beneficial knock-on effect of the subjective feeling of relaxation the swimmer feels in his upper torso. Did I get this correctly? Or did you mean that when the swimmer feels relaxed, even though he thinks he has angled his sightline forward by about 10-15 degrees, it is an illusion, and that when measured, he is really aligned exactly correctly, and that he has learned to take his cue accurately from the sense of relaxation and balance? Or does the actual status of the axis accuracy (whatever it might happen to be) in the last sentence not matter, only the sense of relaxation?

@Zenturtle: If I understand your argument correctly, your priority would be to maintain the theoretical ideal of having the head axis line up exactly with the trunk axis (presumably for reasons of minimum drag and also, I guess, overall head, trunk leg balance). As you say, the specific gravity of the head is higher than that of water. So, generally, the head will tend to sag a little in relation to the trunk, which is less dense than water in the net sense. In the situation where the swimmer's trunk is very buoyant, and it floats high on the water, the increased percentage of the head lifted by the neck (which is the connection to the floating body) partially out of the water and therefore not supported by it as much as compared to in complete submersion, aggravates the sagging tendency. Thus, physics dictates that to keep the head axis in line with with the body axis, there must be a certain amount of neck muscle tension to assist the buoyancy effect of water lifting the head which is insufficient by itself. In many swimmers this happens unconsciously, and in effect they are tension free. Other swimmers must allow and accept a minimal amount of tension to maintain this correct alignment until it feels natural. Did I paraphrase your thoughts accurately?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-06-2014
sclim sclim is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,499
sclim
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
Looking straight down or a little forward while minimising neck tension is the best general advice I think.
@Zenturtle: I forgot to ask, if your priority is to maintain a perfect alignment of the head axis with the body axis (assuming I understood this priority correctly), what is the intent of "...or a little forward"? Is your logic that, for some people at least, looking a little forward results in a balancing out of the confusing effect of gravity, and the eventual head axis alignment works out to be 100% perfect?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-06-2014
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,898
Zenturtle
Default

I think you and Talvi are searching for magic bullets that doesn't exist, certainly not in the little details.

The magic of swimming is in the whole body timing and rhythm, not in little details of limb movements

Look at Streaks stroke. He has to work on his pull, his kick, his balance, yet his stroke is very pleasing to the eye., and he is moving pretty fast despite of these flaws.

Same with head position. You have to be in a certain ballpark, but getting the head 1 or 2 degrees lifted up or not is not so important.
Experiment a bit in a sensible range and take a position that works for you.
If you float in superman position, experiment with the head position. If you can't float without kicking, take a pul buoy. Now the only thing to concentrate on is your head position.
Just slowly turn your head up or down and be aware of the tension in your neck and the effect the head movement has on balance.
Rotate the body a bit around the axis while keeping the head still. Do this at various head angles. Again be aware of neck tension and balance effects. Find the best position and take this one in your swimming.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 07-06-2014 at 11:37 AM.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.