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View Full Version : Head postion in Freestyle single stroke unilateral swimming



sh50
May 14th, 2011, 09:35 AM
I have been through all the “head postion” threads in this forums but could not trace anything to a confusion I would like to clear. If a person is breathing every stroke from the same side in freestyle, when after taking a breath, the body (hips and shoulders) twists to the other side(under the water as this is not bilateral swimming), would not the head also tilt towards the other side with the hips and shoulders or is one supposed to keep the head straight down. For instance, If I am breathing on the right at every stroke, when I tilt towards the left underwater after taking a breath, would not the head(under the water) also tilt towards the left with hips and shoulders to maintain the streamline position or is it that when I twist my hips and shoulders towards the left, the head should stare down which is normally recommended(assuming that I will take a breath again on the right)?From what I know the head and shoulders have to rotate symmetrically both ways to reduce drag. Should it not be likewise for the head for this kind of swimming(Unilateral swimming I presume- bilateral does not suit me currently).

Swimosaur
May 14th, 2011, 06:57 PM
It's amazing how many questions are answered in the first few seconds of this video ...

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To me it looks like KPN looks straight down during her non-breathing strokes. She does not rotate her head along with her shoulders.

ColoJoel
May 15th, 2011, 03:05 PM
Excellent Question ! :applaud: I too am working on proper freestyle position (aren't we all?). Last week my masters coach told me to 'get your armpits out of the water' (or--"your armpits should be out of the water when you rotate"). I too tend to breathe unilaterally (to the left) and wonder what I should do (head-wise) when I 'rotate' to the right?. Lately I've tried harder to look down rather than look over to the right. The KPN video does show her head down. So I think I'm going to do that for now -- I've read (& have some GoSwim videos) that say to the effect: 'head rotates w/body to breathe, otherwise it stays looking down'.

I'm trying to do more bi-lateral breathing, however (when I remember to) :)

Lump
May 15th, 2011, 03:48 PM
It's amazing how many questions are answered in the first few seconds of this video ...

2bPvk0paWcg

To me it looks like KPN looks straight down during her non-breathing strokes. She does not rotate her head along with her shoulders.

My free is pretty identical to this.

sh50
May 16th, 2011, 01:53 AM
Thanks Swiosaur and double thanks for specifying the first few seconds. From the video, it does seem that the shoulders/hips should rotate equally to the opposite side but the head has to look down. To me it seems that the body does not seem exactly streamlined when turned the other way but that's the way it is I suppose.

When one feels as if one is getting into a rhythm, the body glides through the water. The other thing that I am observing is that the arms seem to be in a somewhat cyclical motion(especially under water) aren't they? Since the overall objective is to reduce drag and improve rhythm, I am asking this as head position is critical in reducing drag.

taruky
May 16th, 2011, 04:32 PM
Thanks Swiosaur and double thanks for specifying the first few seconds. From the video, it does seem that the shoulders/hips should rotate equally to the opposite side but the head has to look down. To me it seems that the body does not seem exactly streamlined when turned the other way but that's the way it is I suppose.

When one feels as if one is getting into a rhythm, the body glides through the water. The other thing that I am observing is that the arms seem to be in a somewhat cyclical motion(especially under water) aren't they? Since the overall objective is to reduce drag and improve rhythm, I am asking this as head position is critical in reducing drag.

KPN never looks perfectly streamlined because she tends to extend her arms wide. I don't think it is because she is looking straight down. I normally bilateral breathe every 3rd stroke, but there are times when I unilateral breathe like you, especially if I'm winded. A couple reasons that I would recommend looking straight down after your breath are;

1. You will have a keener sense of rotating to the opposite side. For example, if you always breathe to your right, you tend to under rotate to your left. Keeping your head down gives your neck and torso feedback on how much you are rotating. On dry land, pretend you are swimming toward the ceiling. One time breathe to your right, then have your head move all the way with your body to the left. The second time have your head stop looking straight ahead while the torso continues to rotate. You'll feel that little bit of tension in the neck and shoulders as the torso rotates to the other side, which I find really gives me great feedback that I'm rotating well.

2. That aforementioned tension also helps to keep from over rotating.

3. Your breathing side arm is more likely to drift to the opposite side (across the middle) on extension if your head rotates past the middle. Using that dry land swimming towards the ceiling example again, try it. Once with the head stopping in the middle, once with the head following the torso. The head can act as a sort of guide for your arms. I actually like to imagine my head as the guide with every stroke. I don't want my head or body drifting left or right. I also imagine myself rotating on a skewer.

I would advise practicing the "swimming toward the ceiling" concept when you have opportunities. It also helps to work on the catch/shoulder rotation.

orca1946
May 17th, 2011, 10:58 AM
She also shows the " I " pull rather than the old "S" pull.

Herb
May 17th, 2011, 07:24 PM
Good video there. I just started bilateral breathing again as my non-breathing left arm and rotation to that side was real weak. I must say I am still confused though. It seems it would be almost impossible to rotate the body far enough to the non-breathing side. Lately I've been thinking the rotation has to happen more from my hips as if the body rotation leads to the breath. Yet ideally the stroke must be the same whether you are breathing to that side or not, which leads me to think the neck and head must have to roll quite a bit independently. But its this high head position and jerking of my head to breathe that I am trying to fix. :confused:

ColoJoel
May 17th, 2011, 08:07 PM
For What It's Worth, :) what has helped me the last few swims is when I roll to the right (my 'normal' non-breathing side), I ensure that I see my left arm bicep (that's the upper arm, right?), AND, behind it, the black line on the pool bottom (IOW, I line them up). I feel that this way, I know that I'm looking down, not off toward the right. OR put another way, I center my left arm bicep with the black line.

Today I was doing more bilateral breathing, so on the times when I would roll to the left but NOT breathe, I tried doing the same thing with my right arm (center upper arm on the line) -- seemed to work OK.

sh50
May 19th, 2011, 11:05 AM
Thanks, Taruky.

That Ceiling drill was wonderful. Actually, I used to think that when the body rotates to the non breathing side, the head should rotate automatically but it seems that is not so. good explanation

Colojoel has also given a very good tip on how to ensure that the head remains down. Thanks.