Swim Tech at CFBC Feb 2017

Forums Swim Courses Freestyle Technique Lesson Series Swim Tech at CFBC Feb 2017

Please type your comments directly in the reply box - DO NOT copy/paste text from somewhere else into the reply boxes - this will also copy the code behind your copied text and publish that with your reply, making it impossible to read.  Our apology for the inconvenience, but we don't see a convenient way of fixing this yet.

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #12556

    Admin Mediterra

    This is where we will discuss progress of our swimmers Susan and Pat in our Swim Tech course at Courthouse Battle Creek, February 2017.


    Mat Hudson

    Hello Susan and Pat!

    Here are some notes on what we covered in our first session together…

    Here are some notes on what we covered today…

    3 Main drills:

    1. Torpedo
    2. Superman
    3. Skate


    For making it easier to remember details we may divide body into 3 sections for scanning and organizing focal points:

    1. head-spine
    2. arms-shoulders
    3. legs-hips


    Training activities in order of complexity:

    1. Rehearsal
    2. Drill
    3. Drill (3 seconds) + 4 strokes
    4. 8 strokes (no breathing)
    5. 8 strokes (with one breath)
    6. 1 length (with some form of breathing)

    You may read more about designing a practice set using these activities in How To Design A Task.


    The focal points we covered in those drills:

    Weightless Head – Let head stay in line with spine, completely supported by the upward pressure of the water.

    Shishkabob spine – image a metal shish stick sticking through your spine from top of head to ankles. Rotate around this line.

    Tippy Toes – image lengthening the body, as if reaching for a high shelf, to engage deep core and keep thigh and hips aligned with shishkabob

    Arms On Tracks – each lead arm slides into the water on this track and stays on its own track in front of the shoulder.

    Heavy Lead Arm – let the weight of the lead arm hang a bit deeper in the water, adding weight to the front of the body, transferring a bit of weight off the lower body.

    Open Armpits – increase weight in front by sliding the shoulders forward also, opening the arm pits. Reach within passive flexibility range, do not strain or tense to do this.

    Lead Hand On Target – keep the lead hand (in Superman or Skate Position) at a target depth just lower than the lowest part of your body. ‘Do not break the thin ice’ by pushing down nor letting the hand drift upward toward the surface – let it slide forward on the ‘thin ice’.

    Air On The Scapula – to feel appropriate rotation angle in Skate Position, you should feel air on the back of your shoulder blade, not on the side of your arm.

    You may view some demonstrations of these drills on our Video Tutorial page.

    You may find photos and outlines of the main Total Immersion Perpetual Motion Freestyle drills (which include Superman and Skate, but not Torpedo) on the Freestyle Resources page.

    You must be logged in to view attached files.

    ~ Coach Mat


    Mat Hudson

    For your personal practice time here are some suggestions for you:

    Choose up to 3 skill projects to work on during your practice time. For example you may choose:

    • head position
    • arm position
    • leg position

    Then choose 1 to 3 focal points for each project (I gave you just a few, but there could be more for each body part – you may look at the Freestyle Resources page or the 101 Focal Points page for more ideas).

    You may plan for 5 to 15 minutes for each skill project – so your practice time could be anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.

    Then you may choose some of those activities above and do them in the order of increasing complexity up to a point where failure is starting to occur more than 40% of the time. Then you know you’ve reached some sort of motor control limit for today.

    A set could look like this

    Plan for 3 sets. In each set do:

    • 1 skill project per set
    • 3 rounds
    • 3 focal points (A, B, and C)
    • Do 1 round for each focal point
    • 2 cycles (one cycle for each side of body or each arm)
    • 2x drill for 4 seconds
    • 2x (drill + 4 strokes)
    • Rest by standing up to breathe for a moment.

    Failure points are important information to show you where you need to work. So, if the drills or a swim test (like swimming one length) at the end reveal weak spots or points of failure, that is very helpful information! Be pleased with progress and be accepting of information revealed by failures.

    We’ll talk more when you have time to process all this and ask any questions you may have.

    Have a prosperous time!

    ~ Coach Mat


    You’re so right about the challenge of retaining the multiple focal points, even from this first class session! I did have a couple questions about form, but saw they were addressed in the Library outlines and photo

    Skate position. Do I understand correctly that the face remains downward-gazing? And, I can’t recall what you said about the hips. Are they rotated with the shoulders?

    - Pat


    Mat Hudson

    Hi Pat,

    Good clarifying questions.

    In Skate Position, yes, your face remains looking straight down. The head is like an anchor, holding that position while the torso rotates on the spine axis (shishkabob stick!).

    And, the hips and shoulders a firmly connected to make the torso one firm unit. When you rotate the torso, the shoulders and hips rotate together.

    You can view some images of these drill positions on the Freestyle Resources page and also watch some videos of these drills on the Video Tutorial page (look for the links at the bottom of the page).

    ~ Coach Mat


    Mat Hudson

    We had another productive session last night. I realize that it filled you up with new things. Let me organize it all for you…

    Sections Of The Stroke

    The sections of the stroke you worked on:

    • Exit
    • Recovery swing
    • Entry Moment



    • Review of Skate
    • Recovery Swing Rehearsal
    • Swing Skate (hold skate position, swing one arm to practice recovery)
    • Stand with arms and head in Superman, then lift one elbow to find entry arm position and shape

    I described and demonstrated for you, but we did not do these drills yet:

    • Swing Switch with Pauses (pause at Skate, and pause at Entry moment)
    • Swing Switch (slow-motion) without Pauses


    Focal Points

    • maintain Skate Position focal points
    • Slide Arm Out Of Sleeve (how arm exits the water to start recovery)
    • Swing Elbow Wide (to the side of torso, not behind the back)
    • Swing Hand Wider (to create triangle shape for recovery arm)
    • Drag The Knuckles (keep fingers in contact with surface, keep hand dragging behind elbow until last moment)
    • Swing The Bag (swing weight of forearm like swinging a bag of fruit, then release at right moment)
    • High Elbow Entry Moment


    For your slower, skill practice time you may pick a few of these sections of the stroke and cycle through them, one-by-one, then practice putting them together in one continuous movement.

    For example, you could spend your time like this:

    • Use rehearsal and Swing Skate drills
    • Practice Exit 5 minutes
    • Practice Recovery 5 minutes
    • Practice Entry Moment 5 minutes

    Then blend all three together in a series of:

    • 4x Swing Switch with Pauses (pause at Entry Moment before switching into Skate)

    If at any time during the Swing Switch segments you feel like something is falling a part, you can pause for a moment and do a rehearsal or drill to re-tune that piece, then resume the Swing Switch drill.

    You may review some videos in the Video Tutorials page (links to drill demo videos at the bottom of that page) to refresh the image of what you want the recovery and entry to look like. And there are snapshots of moments in the drill on the Freestyle Resources page.

    Leave me any questions you might have!

    ~ Coach Mat


    Mat Hudson

    We had another loaded session last night!

    We did a review of our recovery arm and timing of the arm switch. You both make quick corrections and it was obvious that you have been practicing.

    Then we focused on how to form the catch/hold on the water.

    Then we tied that into rhythmic breathing, where I introduced the first pieces of head position and timing of the turn toward air.


    The Catch

    We emphasized the idea that we are trying to catch and HOLD the water while we slide the body forward – the goal is to slide the body forward, not push water backward.  We envisioned holding onto a Swiss Ball of water molecules to create that shape and feel water pressure on the entire forearm.


    • Standing rehearsal to practice the shape
    • 1-Arm Drill (the other arm tucked beside the body, out of the way)
    • Slot To Skate (standing with arms poised to switch, then falling forward into the water to make the switch)
    • Skate Position with entry arm poised, and just 1 arm switch, slide into Skate Position
    • Swing Switch with pauses at entry moment

    Focal Points

    • Touch The Ball
    • Keep the hand on the track (in line with the shoulder)
    • Hold the ball and rotate the torso past it
    • Pull more with the torso, less with the shoulder
    • Press the ball toward the hip, the hip rolls out of the way at the last moment
    • Press the ball toward the toes
    • Use steady pressure all the way through the motion

    The better your rotation the straighter that hand can travel toward your hip.

    Feel your grip on the water with the entire forearm, not just the hand.

    You can see some demonstration of me doing the 1-arm catch drills in the Video Tutorial page. 

    There are several more focal points you can work with on the 101 Focal Points page.


    Rhythmic Breathing

    We just began the introduction to these skills and we worked on these without attempting to breathe. You just had to remember to keep blowing bubbles out of your nose while turning the  head to the side and back.

    I demonstrated the fully integrated ‘sneaky’ breathing in my whole stroke. You could see how my head remained almost entirely underwater with just the side of my mouth and part of a goggle touching the air. That is enough to create that wave at the top of my head and a pocket where I could take a quick sip of air.  You can see some demonstrations of my breathing in whole stroke on the Video Tutorials page.


    • Standing rehearsal with arms moving from Superman to Skate while turning the head with the torso
    • Superman to Skate – just one turn of the head, letting the head turn with the torso rotation

    3-Steps Head Position Sequence

    1. Nod
    2. Split The Face
    3. Hooked Fish

    Remember how it feels almost like having the head ‘downhill’ when truly laying the head flat like this.

    Focal Points

    • Turn to face directly sideways –  look at the side wall
    • Turn as early as possible (do not delay, do not go too slow)
    • Touch the air and immediately turn back (a ‘quick sip’)
    • Keep the shishkabob pointing straight ahead while turning
    • Lead arm extends forward while turning to breathe and back
    • DO NOT push down and ‘break the ice’ with that lead arm
    • Reach lips upward and forehead downward (you need the mouth to breathe, not the eyes)

    Use the catch action to create a little velocity and a little lift to keep the head near the surface while you quickly turn to touch the air.

    We will work on this some more in our next and final lesson of this series.

    ~ Coach Mat

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.