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  #1  
Old 01-09-2014
Jellybean Jellybean is offline
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Jellybean
Default To seek perfection or accept slower progress?

I have a dilemma that I'd appreciate advice about.

Every now and then I achieve a stroke count that is 2 strokes better than usual, but I can't repeat it. Should I continue to train at my normal efficiency hoping the good one will happen more and more often, or should I stop that and focus entirely on trying to achieve that occassional better efficiency?

I think the principle of Kaizen doesn't require you to stop doing what you're doing to seek perfection, but if I continue I'm imprinting a stroke that I'll just want to change again, right?

Any thoughts?

Background:
About 3 months ago I decided not to swim my usual stroke so I could put all my focus into TI drills and technique. A few weeks ago I started achieving speeds not much slower than my usual swimming, but at slower stroke rates and that convinced me this really is going to end up faster. Exciting!

My “usual” freestyle was typically at 0.95 s/str doing 24 str / 25 m.
Now I train between 1.20 & 1.30 s/str doing 18 – 20 str / 25 m.
Today, for example, the 3rd length of one of my 100 m swims at 1.25 s/str took 17 strokes. (I didn't mis-count, I knew it was a good one before I finished it!)

I'd love to be able to do that all the time, but not sure how to train for it.

Cheers
Tony
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2014
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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WFEGb
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Hello Jellybean,

hope the following links will help you to next steps:

http://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/2...erfect-stroke/

http://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/2...wesome-stroke/

Loosing 4-6 SPL with TT sub 1.3s sounds great!

Best regards,
Werner
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  #3  
Old 01-09-2014
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 604
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellybean View Post
I have a dilemma that I'd appreciate advice about.

Every now and then I achieve a stroke count that is 2 strokes better than usual, but I can't repeat it. Should I continue to train at my normal efficiency hoping the good one will happen more and more often, or should I stop that and focus entirely on trying to achieve that occassional better efficiency?

I think the principle of Kaizen doesn't require you to stop doing what you're doing to seek perfection, but if I continue I'm imprinting a stroke that I'll just want to change again, right?

Any thoughts?

Background:
About 3 months ago I decided not to swim my usual stroke so I could put all my focus into TI drills and technique. A few weeks ago I started achieving speeds not much slower than my usual swimming, but at slower stroke rates and that convinced me this really is going to end up faster. Exciting!

My “usual” freestyle was typically at 0.95 s/str doing 24 str / 25 m.
Now I train between 1.20 & 1.30 s/str doing 18 – 20 str / 25 m.
Today, for example, the 3rd length of one of my 100 m swims at 1.25 s/str took 17 strokes. (I didn't mis-count, I knew it was a good one before I finished it!)

I'd love to be able to do that all the time, but not sure how to train for it.

Cheers
Tony
Ha you're in that annoying place where often progress appears annoyingly in spurts and hard to repeat! these are displays of performance which are not repeatable on demand just yet - ie. you don't "own" the 17 stroke 25m yet.

sounds like you have a TT which is great. i would spend some time, maybe before any main longer sets, to only work on lower distance. swim many 25 m to reinforce what it was that got you that 17 stroke 25m. use tempo pyramids and other TT techniques to try to imprint the success you had.

stop when you are tired. this is probably the hardest thing to do which is to get out of the pool when you know you can swim more. remember that imprinting new skills is severely hampered by fatigue. so if you want to swim longer on other days, i would swim some days where you only swim/drill with TT and stop when you feel fatigued mentally or physically. other days you can work on other aspects of the stroke, perhaps for longer overall distances....
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  #4  
Old 01-09-2014
Jellybean Jellybean is offline
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Hello Jellybean,

hope the following links will help you to next steps:

http://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/2...erfect-stroke/

http://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/2...wesome-stroke/

Loosing 4-6 SPL with TT sub 1.3s sounds great!

Best regards,
Werner
Thank you Werner.

Those articles relate exactly to what I'm experiencing. I'll read them a couple of times more and adjust my practise accordingly.

Thanks again,
Tony
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  #5  
Old 01-09-2014
Jellybean Jellybean is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
Ha you're in that annoying place where often progress appears annoyingly in spurts and hard to repeat! these are displays of performance which are not repeatable on demand just yet - ie. you don't "own" the 17 stroke 25m yet.

sounds like you have a TT which is great. i would spend some time, maybe before any main longer sets, to only work on lower distance. swim many 25 m to reinforce what it was that got you that 17 stroke 25m. use tempo pyramids and other TT techniques to try to imprint the success you had.

stop when you are tired. this is probably the hardest thing to do which is to get out of the pool when you know you can swim more. remember that imprinting new skills is severely hampered by fatigue. so if you want to swim longer on other days, i would swim some days where you only swim/drill with TT and stop when you feel fatigued mentally or physically. other days you can work on other aspects of the stroke, perhaps for longer overall distances....
Hi Coach David

Thanks for your comments.

You are right, it's hard to stop before I'm too tired. Also, I've also realised that I don't always know I'm tired. Sounds silly, but I'm starting to notice that I lose concentration before my muscles are fatigued, and that's when I should probably stop. Actually, I could just practise another stroke for a while. "A change is as good as a rest" - kind of.

Traditionally, I have varied the focus of my sessions, e.g. long distance, skill practise, or speed. Now they're all skill-focussed, although I've been trying to make my long session a kind of efficiency endurance session by doing 100's trying to hold a set tempo and stroke count. However, perhaps I'm not ready for that just yet.

Thanks again,
Tony
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  #6  
Old 01-09-2014
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellybean View Post
Hi Coach David

Thanks for your comments.

You are right, it's hard to stop before I'm too tired. Also, I've also realised that I don't always know I'm tired. Sounds silly, but I'm starting to notice that I lose concentration before my muscles are fatigued, and that's when I should probably stop. Actually, I could just practise another stroke for a while. "A change is as good as a rest" - kind of.

Traditionally, I have varied the focus of my sessions, e.g. long distance, skill practise, or speed. Now they're all skill-focussed, although I've been trying to make my long session a kind of efficiency endurance session by doing 100's trying to hold a set tempo and stroke count. However, perhaps I'm not ready for that just yet.

Thanks again,
Tony
losing concentration, or the ability to maintain focus is a form of fatigue, mostly of the brain, which then translates to your nervous system and of course to your movements. the moment you ignore this, you'll start moving in potentially undesirable patterns which will inhibit imprinting and reinforcing of the swimming patterns you want.

you can try this:

swim 25s until you get the form and tempo down for some desired result. then try a 50. could you maintain form through the 2nd 25? if not, do some more 25s and then "test" again with your 50. you can do this also with 50s when you graduate, and then test with a 75 or so. and so on....

good luck and report back your progress!
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  #7  
Old 01-10-2014
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
Ha you're in that annoying place where often progress appears annoyingly in spurts and hard to repeat! these are displays of performance which are not repeatable on demand just yet - ie. you don't "own" the 17 stroke 25m yet.
Heh heh. I look back to those days as the Bestest ever. Those 'whoa! what just happened?!' moments of the TI progression. They bang you on the head with what is possible, and serve as inspiration to keep going. Sadly (that's really not the right word), there are more of them at the front end of the journey. It takes a certain OCD to continually search out new ways of thinking about focal points. And for me personally, discipline, to keep working on issues I have always had and haven't solved yet.

Anway, back on topic, @jellybean, how tall are you, if I may ask? At some point, chasing lower and lower stroke counts yields fewer dividends, and that's largely a question of hull length and wingspan.

Congratulations on your progress! Keep doing what you're doing, and maybe try to focus on the feel of the water as you're going through your practice. I'm sure you will find that 17 SPL will come more and more consistently.
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2014
Jellybean Jellybean is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoy View Post
Heh heh. I look back to those days as the Bestest ever. Those 'whoa! what just happened?!' moments of the TI progression. They bang you on the head with what is possible, and serve as inspiration to keep going. Sadly (that's really not the right word), there are more of them at the front end of the journey. It takes a certain OCD to continually search out new ways of thinking about focal points. And for me personally, discipline, to keep working on issues I have always had and haven't solved yet.

Anway, back on topic, @jellybean, how tall are you, if I may ask? At some point, chasing lower and lower stroke counts yields fewer dividends, and that's largely a question of hull length and wingspan.

Congratulations on your progress! Keep doing what you're doing, and maybe try to focus on the feel of the water as you're going through your practice. I'm sure you will find that 17 SPL will come more and more consistently.
Thanks for your encouraging words, Tomoy.

Height 5'8" (1m72), horizontal fingertip to fingertip 5'9.5" (1m77). & weight 150 lbs (69 kg).

I'm not really chasing fewer and fewer strokes for the sake of it. Typically, my practice sessions start with a tempo pyramid, after which I choose a tempo for the rest of the session depending on my objective. At the moment I'm trying to improve my kick co-ordination, so I've been choosing about 1.25 s/str aiming to hold 19 str / 25 m. To do 17 strokes at that rate without any extra effort certainly was an inspiration and is now my goal. It's not 17 that's important to me, just that it's 2 fewer than I thought I could do. It makes the speed slightly faster than my sustainable pace 3 months ago - and that's a very satisfying thought!

I've always seen myself as a life-long learner, so all this suits me just fine.

Cheers
Tony
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2014
Noonie Noonie is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachDavidShen View Post
losing concentration, or the ability to maintain focus is a form of fatigue, mostly of the brain, which then translates to your nervous system and of course to your movements. the moment you ignore this, you'll start moving in potentially undesirable patterns which will inhibit imprinting and reinforcing of the swimming patterns you want.

you can try this:

swim 25s until you get the form and tempo down for some desired result. then try a 50. could you maintain form through the 2nd 25? if not, do some more 25s and then "test" again with your 50. you can do this also with 50s when you graduate, and then test with a 75 or so. and so on....

good luck and report back your progress!
I was wondering about the same sort of thing. Towards the end of my swims I've been swimming to a target distance, without breaks, while monitoring my form and seeing if I can "recover" after something falls apart. In the past three swims, after starting with a mix of drills and w/s for 25-100m with various rest stops, I've ended with continuous w/s of 300, 500 and today 600 meters. During these sessions I'm trying to focus on relaxing, different form thoughts (maybe one lap it's rotation, another breating with goggle in water, another wide tracks, etc.), and most importantly, when I feel tired, I slow down and try to remain focused.

Anyone else incorporate some long sets and what is your strategy?
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2014
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noonie View Post
I was wondering about the same sort of thing. Towards the end of my swims I've been swimming to a target distance, without breaks, while monitoring my form and seeing if I can "recover" after something falls apart. In the past three swims, after starting with a mix of drills and w/s for 25-100m with various rest stops, I've ended with continuous w/s of 300, 500 and today 600 meters. During these sessions I'm trying to focus on relaxing, different form thoughts (maybe one lap it's rotation, another breating with goggle in water, another wide tracks, etc.), and most importantly, when I feel tired, I slow down and try to remain focused.

Anyone else incorporate some long sets and what is your strategy?
one thing to try with longer sets is longer rest. don't be afraid to rest a minute or longer, or even arbitrarily until recovered fully. this is neurological training more than physical. you want to be fully rested when try the next lap, if you have a target like 17 strokes for 25m...

don't always leap to 30 seconds or 15 seconds, or do it "on interval". that's a different kind of training and for later.
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