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  #1  
Old 02-11-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Default Is TI freestyle still evolving?

I assume so and would be interested to hear from any TI coaches further details, or from anyone else who has modified what they took from the TI materials.

My own feeling is that there should be more emphasis on economy of thought while swimming.
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2011
jeetkevdo jeetkevdo is offline
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I was excited to read on the thread titled "Trouble in (TI) paradise" that Terry plans to address the wholestroke/organic learner. I'm fairly new on the TI scene, but from what I gather this seems to somewhat of a shift of at least the marketed learning materials.

Do TI coaches as a whole have the flexibiity to adapt to the driller vs. the organic learner, or is this approach something that Terry is beginning to develope?

Personally, I tend to favor training wholestroke while reverting to drills to hone specific areas I might want to address. However I did work on balance and streamlining initially.

I am scheduling my 1st lesson in a couple weeks, so I am anxious to see how this coach can adapt to how I best learn.

-Kev
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  #3  
Old 02-12-2011
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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I would say that our teaching methods are evolving more than our technique. And this has occurred as our student base has changed. In the beginning, Terry taught very stacked shoulders, 3:00 lead arm position, and drills that allowed you to hang out in a position for a while and really imprint this. I believe that was because a bit of his early coaching was working with elite level swimmers who would naturally modify these positions as they increased speed. For example, an elite swimming could drill rolling to 90 degrees, but will naturally back off that to 45-70 degree roll as they speed up. In my first workshop, the director repeatedly said that the extremes we are talking about are a "purposeful over exaggeration" to get you to change habits.

We found, more recently, that many of our triathletes and fitness swimmers take our statements more literally and had harder times making the transition from drill to swim. So we evolved the way we speak to accommodate that trend. That is why we now teach to roll "just off the stomach" because that is really where we wanted you all along. But if you take us literally, then we need to adapt to you and teach literally.

I have only been with TI since 2005, but I had been studying Terry's ideas since I saw his first articles in the early 90s. My perception is that the drills have always been designed as a tool to change your full stroke. Many, probably most, swimmers need to completely change their movement patterns to learn a new skill and avoid falling back into old habits. I have to believe that, all along, our coaches have worked with some athletes who could make those changes without needing drills. Our experience says that this group is a small fraction of the population, so we designed our system (I say "we" but it was mostly Terry's genius) to fit most people.

My rule of thumb is to always train at a level that requires 100% concentration to hold 1 focal point. So if you have a focal point like "keep your hips breaking the surface", some people will only be able to do that for 25s in skating or half lengths in full stroke. That is where they need to train. As people move forward they will have to move through our progression towards full stroke to keep the challenge going. Some people need to work full stroke to keep the challenge going. Then you increase stroke rate, stroke length, or swim distance to keep the challenge going. Training should never be mentally easy.

So if you learn best in full stroke, I would train you in that style. I would, however, ask you to do drills because if they are harder for you, then there is a challenge in there that would be beneficial for you to develop. Many people have posted on this forum, for example, that swimming at a very slow stroke rate (like 2.0 sec per stroke) points out a lot of balance issues that were hidden at faster speeds. We have two things going on: how do you learn best and how do we challenge you to be your best. This is an individual process and the benefit of private lessons is we have flexibility to adapt to the student. I would say that if you told your coach that you prefer focal points in full stroke, the coach would try that and see if you really can make the desired changes. If not, they would go back to drill to make the change, and move you forward when you learn to feel it.

As to the idea of "economy of thought", we have actually always taught that. The concept that we teach from the core out to the limbs is because that is a more efficient process. We have thousands of focal points only because we have thousands of athletes and everybody visualizes the focal points differently. I always tell my swimmers that I will give them several ways to visualize the same idea. Their job is to figure out which one gets them to the desired place with as little effort as possible. And work with that one. I also point out that a focal that gets a good change for you when you are beginning often changes as you get more advanced. So one person often has to change focal points to keep the same technical point happening.

I currently use only 4 focal points on my freestyle. 1. press the chest to keep the hips up. 2. keep the elbow as far forward as possible on recovery and catch. 3. Just enough core tone to keep the body very straight. and 4. Hold a tempo or stroke length with as little effort as possible. For where I am, those are the only 4 that are helping me. You should find a small set of focal points for yourself so your thoughts can be as simple and efficient as possible.
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Old 02-12-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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Having took my first TI seminar back in 2003 timeframe, and then jumping back into it with Coach Shinji on a more regular basis for 1.5+ years now, I can definitely say TI is evolving with great strides.

In the beginning with my work with Shinji, I would always point out that when I learned TI back then, we did this or did that. But Shinji would make me do other stuff. It was enlightening just to hear his explanations and the change in TI thinking and methods from them until now.

Also, in going to the more advanced TI seminars, I have now found out that beginners do things differently than intermediate, and still do things differently than those who are hitting the advanced stages of TI. The advanced teaching methods haven't been released in books or DVDs to the public yet, but only through their seminars and sometimes in particular posts in these forums and blog posts.

But to see these changes, I'm afraid you can't just stick to the DVDs and books which I believe are geared towards beginning TI swimmers; you must start going to the TI Tune-Ups, Advanced TI seminars, and week long workshops - or you must find an advanced TI coach like Dave Cameron or Shinji.

I for one am excited to attend as many of these as possible and to work with both Shinji and Dave whenever they come to town!
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Old 02-12-2011
rcrawford2@verizon.net rcrawford2@verizon.net is offline
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Default Coach EricD

I related to your response a lot.

Thanks, Rich
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachEricD View Post
I currently use only 4 focal points on my freestyle. 1. press the chest to keep the hips up. 2. keep the elbow as far forward as possible on recovery and catch. 3. Just enough core tone to keep the body very straight. and 4. Hold a tempo or stroke length with as little effort as possible. For where I am, those are the only 4 that are helping me. You should find a small set of focal points for yourself so your thoughts can be as simple and efficient as possible.
Interesting, Eric, thank you for setting that all out. Do you find yourself trying to reduce the number of focal points you use for your own stroke? I'm always looking for 'super' focal points that obviate all others.

Last edited by Lawrence : 02-13-2011 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 02-13-2011
Lawrence Lawrence is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshen View Post
The advanced teaching methods haven't been released in books or DVDs to the public yet, but only through their seminars and sometimes in particular posts in these forums and blog posts.

But to see these changes, I'm afraid you can't just stick to the DVDs and books which I believe are geared towards beginning TI swimmers; you must start going to the TI Tune-Ups, Advanced TI seminars, and week long workshops - or you must find an advanced TI coach like Dave Cameron or Shinji.
What, no freebies?!
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2011
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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I think I said this before, but I think there are two kinds of focal points- one helps you feel what correct is (i.e. butt breaks the surface at all times, feel water hit your top shoulder, head just below the surface), the other helps you get your body there (i.e. hang your head, look under your feet, press your chest). I would argue that the "super" focal points would be the ones that help you feel what is correct, and always start from the core and work outward.

And probably the super of supers is to "use as little effort as possible to maintain whatever you are working on". This is the same as relax, but I think it is more instructive. As I said before, if you are swimming a 45 second 100yds, it will not feel effortless. But if you can use as little effort as possible, you are relaxing and improving. If you are holding 15 strokes per length, can you do that with less effort.
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2011
johnny.widen johnny.widen is offline
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Default Press the chest

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachEricD View Post
... focal points on my freestyle. 1. press the chest to keep the hips up. ...
What exactly does press the chest mean? How do you do that?

-- Johnny
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2011
cynthiam cynthiam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshen View Post
Having took my first TI seminar back in 2003 timeframe, and then jumping back into it with Coach Shinji on a more regular basis for 1.5+ years now, I can definitely say TI is evolving with great strides.
DShen, how on earth do you get a lesson scheduled w/Coach Shinji? I've been trying and can't ever seem to find an available slot on his calendar (I even stayed up until midnight a few nights 20 days ahead to see if I could snag one of the appointments listed on his web site). To no avail. :( I don't think there's any other TI coach in the SF Bay Area who gives private/semi-private lessons. Maybe you should start coaching!

As for this thread's topic, it seems to me that the older materials sound a lot different to me compared with the current ones. Maybe the goals were the same and the audience was different, as Coach Eric writes.

As a beginner (both to swimming and TI), I think I would have taken them pretty literally, as I do the current ones -- though I'm finding my way by making my own adjustments. I speared fairly deep for a long time and had a lot of trouble breathing. I thought I "had" to spear that deep. Finally I tried flattening the spear, and that works much better for me.

Then just recently Terry and Shinji were commenting about their sync video. I believe it was Shinji who wrote about how he spears a bit more shallowly on breathing strokes and a bit more deeply immediately after the breath. I consciously tried that today and realized that I've been doing a version of that myself.

Some of my focal points are the same as when I began, some are different. I still have lots to work on, so there aren't any "super" ones I use other than "ease and flow".
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