View Full Version : Instructional Books

Phil M.
August 11th, 2002, 07:36 PM
As a transfer, back to swimming from the "semi" sport of golf, I still have a strong desire to read instructional information. Whether it be in a book, magazine, or an article there is always a finepoint to be gleaned to improve ones golf game. And the quantity of books on golf...well need I go on?

Fast forward to swimming. A couple of books with out-of-date stroke descriptions and graphics made of ill formed stick figures. What's going on? I can find a 60 frame sequence of Tiger's golf swing, from a couple of angles, but it appears that all world class swimmers are camera shy. Why? Money? Not wanting to share secrets? Camera shortage?

Little stroke snipits (video loops) on the internet are not enough. Where is the detail? If the experts of our sport spend hours in a tank figuring out their hydrodynamics surely someone has take a Polaroid or two!?! (and is willing to share)

From what I have been able to find, nobody has published a quality Swimming book since Doc Counsilman. Does anyone have any reading suggestions? With real detail?

August 11th, 2002, 11:34 PM
Phil, from personal experience I can tell you that finding a publisher interested in publishing a niche topic book that has a very limited audience is not easy. Publishers want to spend the scads of time and money required to get a project out the door only on items that, in their estimation will have good profit potential.

By the same token, authors are often hesitant to put in oodles of time developing a project without a contract and an advance from a publisher.

Plus, anything written and marketed as cutting edge tends to have a short life cycle - not exactly the makings for a successful book project.

All this may serve to encourage the busiest, most successful coaches to keep their efforts focused on their swimmers progress rather than on enlightening the rest of the world.

Have you read any of Cecil Colwin's, Brian Connsilman's, Ernie Maglischo's or Terry Laughlin's stuff? Also contact the ASCA and peruse their accumulation of information from prior World Clinics.

Kevin in MD
August 12th, 2002, 11:30 AM
Emmett didn't mention his own book, Fitness Swimming. It leans less on the theory than some others but does give a step be step path to follow to swimming well.

On the other hand, realize that the cutting edge of swimming isn't in books but rather in journals or in coaches minds. The reasons that doesn't make it to the bookstore I can't say.

But we also need to realize that the technique is emerging and the methods for measurement are also.

You mention Counsilman. Well, as far as I know he was big in pushing the lift view of propulsion. You may say that his was the last good book that was written on the other hand there are many studies coming out showing that the whole lift idea is not correct. Not only is lift not the propulsor that we thought but also the water doesn't flow over our hands in the way we thought it did.

I suspect that in the near future we will make more strides in flow visualization and refine our ideas more.

What I'm driving at is that the very fine points which you seem to want to learn all about are constantly in flux.

The best place to find the in depth things you are looking for may well be biomechanics of sport journals.

On the other hand, for an instruction book on good swim form for my money you can't beat Swimming Made Easy with anything else out there.

Good Luck in your search.

August 12th, 2002, 04:02 PM
Please, who wrote the book Swimming Made Easy and where can it be purchased?

August 12th, 2002, 05:49 PM
Terry Laughlin, www.totalimmersion.net

August 12th, 2002, 08:36 PM
The USMS home page is a great place to pick up short and sweet articles on stroke technique. A click onto "Training" will segway into articles and other reading that basicaly sum up and reinforce the concepts of the T.I. book.

I've actually printed many of the writings of Master Emmett whom I consider to be the guru of proper stroke technique and balance in the water. Too bad this knowlegdge wasn't around twenty years ago, when the infamous "S" stroke was considered the ultimate way to produce propulsion.

Thanks to good reading and a conscious effort to make some changes, my sprint times have improved remarkably with a simple drop of the head and extension of the lead arm into the stroke cycle.

Even if books did offer photos of the elite swimmers in freeze frames for reference, unlike golf swimming really does boil down to "different strokes for different folks". (More likely than not though....you'ld see everyone with a buried head and hips skimming along the surface). Stick figures rule.

August 13th, 2002, 06:01 AM
Val, thanks for the kind words. However, most of my knowledge about swimming is simply a result of distilling info from a whole bunch of other sources, stirring them briskly in my mind, then spewing them out again to see what results. :)

BTW, I've seen a couple references to "stick figures" in this thread. Which book has stick figures? I've used some in my articles because that's the upper limit of my artistic ability, but I don't recall any books that use them (and I thought I'd read them all).

August 13th, 2002, 04:41 PM

The only stick figures that I've come across during readings were related to your articles only which are posted on the USMS home page. The concepts are visually easier to grasp when broken down into simple line work. Maybe that's just the architect in me.

All of the photos I've ever seen tend to focus on the path of hand movement during the pull and not the underliying source of power which comes from good hip roll and a long body line. Very simple concepts, but certainly a challenge to master when done correctly.

P.S. I've taken your suggestion about writing a workout journal which ultimately is the most beneficial reading of all. I've found keeping a journal can be very helpful in recalling the days when one's stroke is really "on". Even two days out of the pool can throw a bit of sensory amnesia into the proper feel of the water.

Thank you coach for all your contributions to this forum and the sport of swimming in general. Excellent web site too!

Phil M.
August 29th, 2002, 12:34 PM
After a bit of research I am finding some good sites.


has some good detail.


is good as well...if only I could speak German!

for video clips

August 29th, 2002, 12:56 PM
and http://www.svl.ch/svlimmat_ratind.html#schwimmen is good as well...if only I could speak German!

That site is run by one of my clients - Felix Gmeunder - Most everything there is posted in both German and English. Its a wonderful site.