3-Part Breathing Drill

Forums Library Knowledge Base 3-Part Breathing Drill

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  • #18498
    Admin Mediterra

    The breathing stroke should look identical to the non-breathing strokes. But the breathing action adds some new concerns to the brain which have a tendency to override the pattern and distort it, without you realizing it has happened. 

    Ideally, the head turns and returns without disrupting anything in the stroke whatsoever.

    1. The lead arm keeps extending forward
    2. The recovery arm swings forward at the same rate
    3. The recovery arm overlaps the lead arm and the arm switch happens just as in the non-breathing strokes

    Corresponding to these, there are three difficulty points in learning to insert the turn to breath in the stroke:

    1. During the breath turn – the lead arm wants to push down while the head is turning toward air, and encourage the head to tilt off axis
    2. As the head returns – the lead arm wants to pull before the recovery arm comes forward, before the torso is ready to rotate.
    3. As the head returns quickly – it wants to pull the recovery arm with it, at same time, same speed.

    So the sequence of breathing drills are meant, not only to teach the breathing action, but to help you overcome these distortions to the stroke.

    In order to train the lead arm to keep extending for the entire turn/return of the head from breathing we use these drills:

    • Superman To Skate plus turn toward air
    • 3-strokes to Skate plus turn toward air

    This requires the recovery arm to wait patiently for the head to move back, not triggered to move with it.

    And then right as the head returns, in order to train the head to move independent of the recovery arm, and to train the lead arm to wait for the recovery arm to come forward to the arm switch point we used drill:

    • 3 strokes to ‘Skate plus turn to air’ then 3 strokes

    You are using pauses in the breathing action to interrupt and override these default (land-mammal) programs. I call this 3-Part Breathing drill, which can be inserted into whole stroke swimming:

    1. Slide into Skate, pause the back arm in the pocket
    2. Turn to air and return the head quickly
    3. Resume the recovery swing with ideal arm switch timing (ideal arm overlap)

    This breaks the action into 3 distinct parts, with slight pauses between, and makes it easier to etch the new pattern. As it feels more comfortable, more familiar to do it like this, as you feel less urge to follow the old pattern you may remove the pauses and blend the actions.

    As you remove the pauses, look for these features to make sure you’ve got it:

    • The lead arm keeps stretching forward during the ENTIRE breathing action, turn and return. The lead arm does not begin to catch until the head is back in face-down position.
    • The head turns on axis, no tilt.
    • The head turns a bit faster than the torso rotates (independent of it) and returns faster than the recovery (independent of it). The faster turning of the head does not influence the torso nor the arms to move faster.
    • The lead arm waits as the recovery arm comes forward, and the arms switch with the ideal overlap, just as on the non-breathing strokes.

    When those features are consistent, and you are getting your inhale ok, then you are essentially doing Rhythmic Breathing! 

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