Plan Your First Self-Guided Practice

Forums Library Swim Course Instructions Plan Your First Self-Guided Practice

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    Mat Hudson

    Perhaps you are totally new to swim training, or to Total Immersion style training, and the online course you have access to is still a bit overwhelming. It will take a little time to study and experiment with some of these concepts to get the idea of how organic training works (organic = it fits you personally, and adjusts to your needs and new conditions each practice time). But we want to do all we can to make your start as easy as possible.

    Let me explain how a simple practice pattern is composed. In your discussion zone you can ask any questions about this to help you get started in knowing how to use your time in the pool in a productive TI way.


    The Sequence Of The Skills

    In the Freestyle Technique series (or in standard private lesson series) we usually have four sessions, with 4 main lessons:

    • Balance skills, Streamline skills
    • Recovery Arm, Entry, Extension skills
    • Catch and Connecting the Two Arms (catch and entry)
    • Rhythmic Breathing

    We may have added Interrupted Breathing as an additional useful skill. I would like you to use that often until you feel more ready to use Rhythmic Breathing.

    We might also have added Counter-Balanced Foot Position, if that was suitable to your needs and capacity right now.

    It would be best to work on the first skills first, making those more familiar to your body and brain. But also follow your curiosity and interest and dabble in any of the skills. Major in the earlier ones because the later ones depend on them, especially breathing.


    Plan Your Time In The Pool

    If you have 45 minutes in the pool, for example, you may divide that time into 3x 15 minute sections.

    For each 15 minute section you may pick one of those skill lessons above, and use that as the focus of that time. For each, go back to the lesson notes for that lesson, and choose just 2 or 3 focal points to work with for that 15 minutes, to work on that particular skill.

    Section 1 – Skill A (15 minutes)

    Section 2 – Skill B (15 minutes)

    Section 3 – Skill C or Blend Skill A+B (15 minutes)


    Choose Activities

    In each section you may use 2 or 3 different activities (drills and perhaps combining with strokes), and use them in order of increasing complexity (challenge):

    • Standing rehearsal
    • Drill (8 seconds, for a comfortable breath hold)
    • Drill 3 seconds + 4 strokes
    • 8 strokes (no breathing)
    • 8 strokes with one breath in the middle (could be Interrupted Breathing or Rhythmic Breathing)
    • 1 full length of whole stroke swimming (with breathing of course, IB or RB)


    Choose Focal Points

    On each lesson outline (links are given in the notes above, for each session), there is a list of focal points – those are the specific commands we gave to parts of the body, like ‘weightless head’. The list has more focal points than we actually used in our lesson, because I pull from that list only a few that seem most relevant to you in your lesson. But the others might be understood by their names.

    For the skill you have picked, choose 2 or 3 focal points you want to use during your activities.

    For each repetition of the activity, use just one focal point, or two focal points in you feel you can keep attention on both.


    Sample Practice Set

    A practice set may look like this for one section (about 15 minutes).

    Skill: streamline Skate Position

    Drill: Skate Position (sliding along in Skate)

    Focal Points:

    • A – weightless head
    • B – lead arm on wide track
    • C – low rotation angle

    Since there are two sides of the body for Skate, do one cycle of the following for each Skate side…

    • 4x (4 repetitions) Skate drill 1 minutes
    • 4x ‘Skate drill 3 seconds + 4 strokes’ (slide into your best skate on each stroke)
    • 4x 8 strokes (no breathing)

    On the first cycle, keep your attention on the Right Skate, and when you take whole strokes, keep attention on the right Skate side (let the left side just do what it will do). When you take whole strokes, imagine you are ‘skating’, side to side, rather than ‘swimming’.

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