Smooth Strokes Blog

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Total Immersion technique and mindful training advice

Does Swimming Burn Fat? 2

As well as being asked about this from time to time, I've learned that this is a common online search phrase so I should get some extra hits on this post. Previously, I've written some thoughts on body fat in relation to swimming: Does Swimming Burn Fat? 1 Swim For...

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Do What Works For You (?)

"Just do what works for you." I have heard some version of this phrase spoken or written by coaches or pundits many times, in many different sports. It can be alarming to me because:  I doubt the average (citizen) athlete understands the context of principles in which...

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You Must Use Momentum – Part 2

This discussion is continued from Part 1... If body shape, stroke pattern and stroke length were equal between two swimmers, but one swimmer is sending her recovery arm forward with better momentum and directing that into her sleek Skate Position, she would be...

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You Must Use Momentum – Part 1

Here is something I explain to my swimmers when we're building (or re-building) the freestyle stroke for the first time. This is meant to help students on each extreme: those who are too anxious to start moving faster, and those who are too reluctant to add more...

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Courtesy In A Crowded Lane

This post continues the discussion from When Swimming In A Crowded Lane... Here are some guidelines I've used to help me be a more courteous swimmer in a crowded lane and contribute to a more peaceful pool space. First and foremost... Be Friendly I very much want to...

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Thinking About A New Wetsuit?

I want to lay out some thoughts about buying a wetsuit to address the many questions and concerns I receive. Much of the following is an excerpt from my forthcoming ebook A Better Triathlon Swim  that is just days away from being published. Wetsuits are desirable for...

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Checklist For Easier Breathing – Part 3

The Checklist Here is a 'short' and essential checklist to help you survey your pattern to look for gaps or weak spots. If you've been to one of our training events you'll recognize many of these points and remember what kind of drills we use to develop these skills....

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Checklist For Easier Breathing – Part 2

This is continued from Part 1... Improve Your Understanding Of Exertion Likely, some of you have been working earnestly on your stroke and your breathing, but it is still not coming as easy as you think it should be. You are getting to air, but it still doesn't feel...

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Checklist For Easier Breathing – Part 1

Stressful, disruptive breathing is one of the top complaints brought to us by swimmers seeking coaching help.  Sometimes the swimmer can experience a great improvement in ease with just one or two little adjustments. But often there are underlying structural problems...

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When Swimming In A Crowded Lane

An ideal swim training situation is to be either in a lane by yourself, or training with others in the same practice sets. But there is the situation, probably more common for some folks than others, where your only option is to share a lane with many other people,...

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Four Step Training Progression – Part 2

This continues from Part 1 of Four Step Training Progression... Customizing For Each Swimmer Let's say two swimmers are working on the same skill at camp but have different starting points, because of where they are at in their neural control for this particular...

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What Would You Wish For?

Here are some questions I have been wanting to ask all of you who enjoy reading this blog. Perhaps you would care to take a moment and write me a response. I am occasionally asked by swim students and readers when I am going to 'write a book' or compose one out of...

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Addicted To Flow

We come to the final part of our discussion of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's eight "characteristic dimensions of the flow experience" outlined in his book The Evolving Self. Let's review... Why pursue flow state?  Because flow makes it feel wonderful to do difficult...

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Which Podium Are You Aiming For?

In engineering there is this rule of optimization which says you can't optimize for everything in a system. You have to choose what few functions or goals to prioritize and give greater resources to and which to strip resources from.  You can't have it all, but you...

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When To Train With Others?

My long time friend (since 5 years old!) and I were debating the merits of training with others. Our conversation was about running, but when I composed my summary of our thoughts I realized this would apply to swimming as well, in the case of training for a...

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Lose Your Self In Flow

This continues from Part 6 of our discussion of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's eight "characteristic dimensions of the flow experience" outlined in his book The Evolving Self. #6 - Loss of self-consciousness, transcendence of ego boundaries, a sense of growth and of being...

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Train To Extend Your Energy

  If you are aspiring to swim longer distance - whatever is 'long' to you - I want to recommend to you a different way to view what you need to focus on in your precious training time.  In the first half of practice, when energy is abundant and you feel strong and...

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