Login required to started new threads
Login required to post replies
I've recently started working with a swim coach, which overall has resulted in greatly improved efficiency, speed and technique. I do have one question for the fish on this forum. One thing she has told me that seems to be contrary to other things I've read (e.g. Total Immersion) is head position. If I read correctly TI says your head should be pretty much looking down with your face parallel to the pool floor. While one of the first things my coach said was to have the water line break just above the eyebrows and that I was causing more drag and losing forward motion by dropping my head too far down. Any thoughts? Of course the stroke corrections, and hand position stuff, took about 2 weeks for the muscles to get used to swimming correctly so I'm just now seeing the increases mentioned above.
- Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
P. J. O'Rourke
You don't want to be looking so far down that your shoulders are plowing through the water. However, you don't want your head so high that your chest is plowing the water. There is a happy medium, and your coach is trying to get you to vizualize this. Try looking at the bottom of the pool about 20 feet in front of you. Thgat should put your head just about right.
hope this helps,
I've never heard of the waterline around the eyebrows. I swim looking at the bottom of the pool, The very back of my head just breaks the surface of the water - maybe 1 inch of my head above water.
I learned by TI and have been using a coach for the last month. Your head position is where you individual balance or center float is at. TI discusses in the first chapters about finding your center float to keep your butt up to become level in the water. Do knowing this then head position is somewhat individual. Your balance will be different than mine. Go back in the TI book head down and no flippers and move down the pool with arms straight out not moving and kick find your floating point and remember your head position. You should be able to feel your balance with your butt position. Head up might move your butt to far down and head down might move you to far up or whatever. Read the book and if you can't feel this point go back and start over. Remember what TI says--drill,drill,drill. Endless laps will not help you!
You'll have to decide for yourself what is best in this case.
The issue is one of form drag or body position and which you think is more important. The coaches background will have a lot to do with what he or she believes.
Your coach is thinking form drag is very important and as such you need to have a streamlined shape hitting the water. On the other hand I'll go ahead and make the case that body position is more important and that the shape your head presents to the water is less important.
Her case, basically you need to present the streamlined shape to the water. Some folks believe (although she may not) that the water at the eyebrow position makes you ride higher in the water because fo the sloped surface your face will make.
My case, your body is somewhat like an iceberg it will naturally have about 10% above the water and 90% below (not the actual numbers). You can fight it into other positions but it is a costly proposition energywise.
Where your head is positioned will determine to a large degree where the 10% comes from. If you look forward most of the back of your head will be out of the water and that's pretty much all of your 10% right there. On the other hand if you are looking down then a small sliver of your head is out of the water and the 10% is evenly distributed across the body so a little of your head a little of your shoulders and little of your hips will be out o the water. That's the key to the look down position. The hips ride high in the water.
The high hips ends the problem of your legs feeling like they are sinking as you swim.
The high hips is what you'll sacrifice if you look forward. Look forward and you'll get more of the legs sinking feeling.
Now here is where the background of the teacher comes is. First, how they were taught is probably going to be very similar to how you are taught. We all try to be objective but the methods used to teach us will still have a strong pull. Also the sport background matters if your teacher was a swimmer then the answer is easy. Swimmers trained ever since they were kids mostly for distances lasting 200 yards or less. After they had been swimming for a couple of years and developed the aerobic capacity then they moved up to 1000 and 1500 meters. Why is this important? Because over the course of 400 yards with appropriate training you can kick your legs up. If well trained you can even do it over the course of 1500 meters.
Since you're going to lessons it seems you don't have the background that the age group swimmers do and might struggle with keeping your legs up by kicking. But only you will be able to tell. I suspect your coach probably has a big swimming background even if she currently might be a triathlete or somethign else.
On the other hand i came from the open water world where it's much harder to kick the legs up over the course of 3 to 7 miles. In that light somewhat predictably my bias lies toward keeping the head looking down.
Please note this doesn't solve your problem; there are plenty of folks who take the looking down part too far and in fact are plowing their shoulders through the water. If that's what you were doing then looking ahead may be a great improvement for you.
Chris i don't know what will be right for you, but hopefully this will help you figure out what you will gain and what you will lose by trying either technique.
I say "head down". If your head position is such that your eyebrows are at the waterline, more of you head is out of the water. If more of your heavy ol' head is out of the water, the remainder of your body has to be sinkin down, and that usually is hips. It may be subtle, but it can be significant. I used to swim as your coach suggests but over the years, after reading Terry McLaughlin's books and working on TI swimming I'm certain that head down, looking at the lane line, is ultimately more efficient. It is awkward at first as you are not looking directly at where you are going, but with repeitition it'll feel more comfortable. Only bring your head up for sighting.