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Wookiee
July 28th, 2005, 06:17 PM
Hi All,

This is a very newbie question and a hesitant one at that having read http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?threadid=4816&perpage=15&pagenumber=1
and being from that group of how was if phrased "trying 2 b athletes" or "mediocre at 3 sports" ouch.

Still I thought the best place to get swimming advice would be from swimmers.

I only started swimming this month. I have worked steadily at it but only know three basic strokes (crawl, breast and side). Needless to say I have been concentrating on the crawl and have progressed from being able to do 50M non stop to 1800 M non stop but painfully slow (40 minutes!). Still it beats the alternative which is drowning.

Going to a masters class is not an option the only class available to me conflicts with my wife's dragonboat practice. Which leaves open swim during regular pool hours to do laps.

1 - What would be the best DVD or book for a new swimmer to get to improve their technique. Specifically crawl.

2 - How do you keep count of laps without losing track!?! Sometimes I lose track in the mid 30's other times in the 60's either way I am either swimming more or less than intended and of course the times may look better than they actually are. Any advice would be appreciated.

3 - Last thing - I really need to learn how to do a flip turn. Can anyone point me to a FAQ or video that shows how to do it?

hmlee
July 28th, 2005, 07:03 PM
Hi there! Don't worry, most of the people here are more than willing to help out a fellow swimmer - no matter their skill level. Before I get into answering your questions though, I feel a need to correct your terminology. While the term "crawl" as in front crawl is technically correct, while on these boards you'll see the various strokes referred to as freestyle (what you call crawl), backstroke, breaststroke (you've got that one already), and fly or butterfly. While I don't think anyone has any trouble understanding what you mean when you say crawl, it still might speed the answering of questions if you refer to the strokes by the names we're used to.

Aaanyway, onto your questions.

1. I've heard the total immersion books/movies/classes are good for swimmers who dont' really have a good technique. Apparently they work really well, but I can't vouch for them myself. You can find the website by googling it...I can't give it to you right now because I can't remember it.

2. The thing is, most of us don't swim a straight set of 1800 continuous meters/yards (unless we're distance swimmers training for long distance events like the 1500). The majority of us do workouts and sets like you can find in the workouts section of this forum. Things such as a set of 8 50s on a certain pace, or 3x200, or a 500...really the workouts come in all varietys. I also find they alleviate boredom while swimming - it's good to break things up. I'm not really a long distance swimmer, so I can't help you with keeping the lap count during a long distance swim, but maybe someone else can.

3. There's actually someone else who's also looking to improve/learn a flipturn...you can find his thread here: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?threadid=4948. I believe one of the replies in that thread has a link to a flipturn movie.

Wookiee
July 28th, 2005, 07:08 PM
Thank you for the info I will check out the other thread.

Much appreciated.

F'ueco
July 28th, 2005, 07:09 PM
The way I keep track of laps is to actually keep track of the yards swum. I find it much easier to count 25 yards per lap than to count the laps. I also think about where I am in the set rather than for the whole workout. I typically break my workout into thousands and five hundreds; which makes it much easier to keep track of where I am.

I can't speak much for the books, as I learned most of my technique from my college coach many moons ago (after he corrected my poor form from high school). But something like The Fit Swimmer (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0809254549/qid=1122592046/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-0391980-7852721?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) should work fine for ideas for workouts and technique.

Bob McAdams
July 29th, 2005, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by Wookiee
1 - What would be the best DVD or book for a new swimmer to get to improve their technique. Specifically crawl.

I would suggest going to the Total Immersion website (http://www.totalimmersion.net) and ordering the Freestyle Made Easy DVD and the book Swimming Made Easy. You might also want to consider getting the Freestyle Made Easy Drill Cards.


2 - How do you keep count of laps without losing track!?! Sometimes I lose track in the mid 30's other times in the 60's either way I am either swimming more or less than intended and of course the times may look better than they actually are. Any advice would be appreciated.

You might consider getting the Sportcount Ring Lap Counter. It has a velcro strap that lets you wear it on your finger like a ring. You tap the button once to turn it on, once to start timing, and once each time you finish a lap. Then you press it and hold it down for a few seconds at the end to stop it. It tells you how many laps you did, and also shows you your total time, your average lap time, the time for your last lap, the time for your fastest lap (and which lap it was), and the time for your slowest lap (and which lap it was). It's available from Kiefer (http://www.kiefer.com) - just key in "Sportcount" in the search window. Don't confuse this with the Sportcount Lap Counter, which is $9 cheaper, but doesn't time anything!


3 - Last thing - I really need to learn how to do a flip turn. Can anyone point me to a FAQ or video that shows how to do it?

The Freestyle Made Easy DVD (which I mentioned earlier) has a brief segment on doing flip turns.


Bob

craiglll@yahoo.com
July 29th, 2005, 11:23 AM
I found Total Immersion not my style. It seems to me that there is a lot of stuff that doesn't directly answer to swimmign. I'm terrible with this is like explanations. I think it is easier with really direct explanations followed by an example. I think talking about the swing of a golf stroke when rtalking about jhip rotationis very distracting. Just tell me to rotate my hips.

Guvnah
July 29th, 2005, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by Wookiee

1800 M non stop but painfully slow (40 minutes!).


First of all, that's not painfully slow. There are lots of people in your pool (and on this board) who envy that.

So you do just a little over 65 seconds per 50. Keep this in mind for something I'll mention below.




conflicts with my wife's dragonboat practice.



Dragonboat practice? Do tell! Wazzat?




2 - How do you keep count of laps without losing track!?! Sometimes I lose track in the mid 30's other times in the 60's either way I am either swimming more or less than intended and of course the times may look better than they actually are. Any advice would be appreciated.


Someone already mentioned breaking it up into smaller chunks, so I won't belabor that point.

If you insist on doing 1800M nonstop, recall your 65 seconds per 50. That means, if you start with the second hand at the top of the minute, then you'll end the first 50 at 5 seconds after the minute, and the second 50 at 10 seconds after the minute, etc.

If you have lost count, when you hit the next 50 and you see the second hand at the 45, for instance, you have either done 9 50s, or 21 50s, or 33 50s. You don't even have to figure it out right at the turn. You have the whole next 50 to get the math right and get back on count! And if you actually do 66 or 67 seconds per 50, well, you can still guestimate where you are at.

Also, watching the clock this way can help you see if you are starting to lag pace (or get stronger) as you move into your workout. You can also see degrees of improvement as you progress from day to day and month to month. (Your thread title asks how to get better. Trying to beat your times as you work out is a great way to improve! So if you are doing 67 per 50 now, try holding 65 per 50 for as long as you can. And if you do that, you will have measurable improvement, AND it would be easier to keep your lap counts on the clock at 65 than at 67. And once you can hold 65, aim for 60!)



3 - Last thing - I really need to learn how to do a flip turn. Can anyone point me to a FAQ or video that shows how to do it?


Flip turn video (http://www.goswim.tv/drilloftheweek_comments.php?id=979_0_20_0_C)

mattson
July 29th, 2005, 02:03 PM
The problem with "telling you what to do", is that many times swimmers are not doing what they think they are doing. (That's why we have coaches and underwater video. :) ) In Colwin's book, he mentioned the arm bend, and how (Olympic level) swimmers thought they were straight-armed, when underwater photos showed a lot of arm bend.

The golf swing metaphor (although I don't play golf) is still appropriate. You want to get your abs/hips/core to start the motion, then your arms come into play. It is not the same motion, but a similar chain of energy transfer. The metaphor is for people that may have a solid golf swing, so they know how it should feel when the swimming motion is done right. If your hip rotation is not coordinated with arm motion, then you won't have the same sensation.

Leonard Jansen
July 29th, 2005, 02:55 PM
My $0.02:

1) Technique: Total Immersion, as Bob said.
2) While you are working on your technique, don't count laps unless you are only doing a few at a time. Go by time. The reason is that you can rush N laps and do it with lousy technique, but you can't rush M minutes.
3) Don't get OCD'ed about counting laps/yards, there are no walls in lake/ocean and the distances are iffy, at best, so all the splits in the world only give guidance; not an answer. Best advice I ever got while I was race walking came from an old Italian coach named Francesco. I gave him a long list of my training, endless lists of splits/distances/times/etc and then asked him that, based on that, how fast he thought I could walk a 50km. He took one look at it, smacked me in the back of my head and said: "This is all b@ll sh@t. You get in that race, you go like Hell."

-LBJ

Wookiee
July 29th, 2005, 05:46 PM
[i]"This is all b@ll sh@t. You get in that race, you go like Hell."

-LBJ [/B]

LOL very good. That's how I approach foot races might as well be how I approach swimming. The real difference is if I stop running during a foot race I won't die the same doesn't hold true for swimming :D