Smooth Strokes Blog

If you appreciate this blog on mindful swimming and training, you may like to subscribe to our new blog The Longevity Athlete where we go farther, discussing the knowledge and skills for living a longer, stronger and more fulfilling life.

Why Choose A 2-Beat Kick?

The decision to use a flutter kick or a 2-Beat Kick is a matter of trade-offs. In the flutter kick the legs are disconnected from the torso in order to produce linear (rearward) thrust that is combined with the pulling action of the arms. But those are two separate actions. The body is divided at the waist so that the lower body can move in a way that serves the kick and the upper body can move in a way that serves the arm strokes.

read more

Your Kick And Lower Back Pain

If these features are in place, then that lower back has a lot better chance at staying free of irritation and injury because the entire spine now is unified and stable in its neutral alignment, with little or no shear or rotational stress in any particular section. 

read more

Becoming A New Student Again

But on land, though these movements are, at their core, fighting movements, in our practice there is no opponent, no substance, no external reference point other than gravity, the floor and the walls, to tell me if I am moving the right way. I have found myself closing my eyes and trying to sense how force should be flowing through my body, to feel some sense of purpose to each movement, yet the teacher is reluctant to add that complexity to our instruction so soon. For now I have to aim for the appearance of correct form and trust the teacher’s external feedback and his manner of dispensing the details.

read more

How To Improve Endurance

When do we need endurance? When we are going really hard? When we are going really fast? When we are going really far?  There is great discomfort in any of these and that discomfort needs to be overcome to finish, Maybe we need endurance in all three, but a different...

read more

The Challenge Of Going Slow

…strangely enough, that easy zone can be really difficult to stay in too, when its time to work there. It takes a different kind of will-power to make ourselves go slow and easy, against the internal and external expectations we may feel to speed things up.

read more

Dig Deeper Into The Fundamentals

There is a finite number of macro-skills, but a virtually infinite number of micro-skills, because we break those into smaller and smaller pieces as perception for fine details increases through mindful practice technique. You can get acquainted with the series of skills in a few lessons. But you will take a lifetime to study and make refinements in those micro-skills.

read more

There Are Consequences

Recently, a TI Coach friend of mine attended a seminar given by a swim coach somewhat well-known in the US triathlon scene. My friend told me she went with an open mind and heart to learn from this coach with a different approach to swimming and I supported her,...

read more

Surviving or Comfortable or Competitive? Part 4

Continued from Part 3. Training In Cycles And, over the course of a few weeks, your fatigue accumulates. This is something you should expect and actually plan for. Through a process known as periodization, with cycles lasting several weeks, and changing emphasis at...

read more

Surviving or Comfortable or Competitive? Part 3

Continued from Part 2. From High-Stress To Low Let's say you want to move from 2 hours of swimming (about 5K) to 4 or 5 hours (about 10K). you When you get into swimming events that are more like 4 to 5 hours long, the average citizen athlete may have difficulty...

read more

Delightful Swimming In The Dominican Republic

We just completed a week of delightful open water swimming in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean Sea. The sea water was 79 F (26 C), with mostly sunny skies in the 80's, a little wind, a little swell, a little rain all mixing in for an enjoyable array...

read more

Your Lifestyle Of Strength

For long distance events you need to be strong in terms of muscle endurance. Your body needs to be capable of working at moderate effort level for a long time.  For sprint events you need to be strong in terms of muscle power. Your body needs to be capable of...

read more

Your Diet Of Strength, Endurance and Power

Why Be Strong? You certainly want your shape and movement patterns to be streamline and efficient to reduce internal and external resistance to moving forward. But even then, you still need strength, because it defines your body's ability to do work. Even when facing...

read more

Moving From Novice To Expert – Part 3

Continued from Part 2... I've mentioned before that my wife, Gail, is an 'occupational therapist'. Occupational therapists, as they are called in the US, help people learn (or relearn) how to accomplish daily tasks that their damaged brain lost the ability to do in...

read more

Surviving or Comfortable or Competitive? Part 2

Continued from Part 1. How Much Is Enough To Be Comfortable? When someone asks me a version of this question, I need to know a few things to help guide them toward an answer that is more suitable to their personal situation: How do you want to finish this event:...

read more

Surviving or Comfortable or Competitive? Part 1

I am often approached by swimmers thinking about preparing to swim a much longer distance than they have done before - like 3.8K (Ironman tri), 5K, 10K or 20K, or even 40K (for the English Channel). I receive this question in various forms, and it essentially asks...

read more

Moving From Novice To Expert – Part 1

It should be well understood that there is a process, and usually a long process we must follow in moving from a novice to an expert in the fundamental skills for an art or sport. There is a process or a path to follow, but there is not a single 'recipe' nor...

read more

Moving From Novice To Expert – Part 2

Continued from Part 1... Stages Of Attention Control Not only is your neuromuscular (motor) control being trained, so is your attention, because the two are working together intimately in the development process. At first the attention is directed onto the part of the...

read more

Subscribe via Email

To subscribe to the Smooth Strokes blog enter your email address.

Topic Categories