Smooth Strokes Blog

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Time To Expand Your Capabilities? Part 1

Time To Expand Your Capabilities? Part 1

Therefore a good training process has to stretch you, and stretch you in a variety of ways. It has to start working on your capabilities where they are right now and gradually take them up to the demands of your goal and even go somewhat beyond. It must frequently require you to do things a bit beyond your current capabilities. Each week you get a bit more skilled, a bit stronger, and then you turn up the challenge just a bit more.

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Newsflash About Coach Mat and TI

Newsflash About Coach Mat and TI

There is nothing like a bit of surprising news to catch your attention, and this may surprise a lot of you, but not all. Here it is: With some regret and some relief I resigned from my association with Total Immersion, Inc. at the end of September. I was a certified...

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Being Streamlined Is Not Enough

Being Streamlined Is Not Enough

In order to handle a bigger amount of resistance behind the catch and convert that into speed, the swimmer has to have more power – the ability to press against that resistance and move the body past it in more brief amount of time. If streamline is in place, the more power that is available, the faster she can move her body forward past that hand that is holding a point in the water.

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Answers To Breathing Questions #3

Answers To Breathing Questions #3

…when first practicing breathing this way, those deep muscles are not fit enough to work this often, this deeply and this quickly. Your swimming muscles are developed out of proportion to your breathing muscles. You need to gradually train them to get more powerful, and they get more powerful by just using them more often.

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Answers To Breathing Questions #2

Answers To Breathing Questions #2

There is also many things to explore in the psycho-somatic connection – it is possible that even though you have good technique on that weak side breathing, some part of the deep brain is still not confident that it’s going to find air on that side. If there is any long-held, negative emotional association to breathing on that weak side, it will more deeply imprint resistance to it.

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Answers To Breathing Questions #1

Answers To Breathing Questions #1

The crazy thing about the best head position for breathing is that it is totally counter-intuitive. Everything in our land-mammal brains scream, “Tilt your head up to breathe!” But it is the head that is nearly all submerged that is actually in the easiest position to breathe because it doesn’t have to push up against gravity – which shoves right back down, or shoves some lower part of the body to compensate.

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The Lure Of High Lake Swimming

The Lure Of High Lake Swimming

Though many people adapt and get some semblance of it, still, pool-locked swimmers have no idea how amazing the swimming rhythm… the swimming meditation can be until they can just keep taking stroke after stroke after stroke for minutes and minutes, even hours. My swimmers were hooked.

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A Good Reason To Hold Your Breath

A Good Reason To Hold Your Breath

Over months and months, slight but regular deprivation will provoke your body to make deep vascular adaptations, and what formerly left you breathless will no longer do so. It will also cause you to perceive deprivation less negatively, to the point where it become mere (neutral) sensation.

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You Might Be Holding Breath Too Long

You Might Be Holding Breath Too Long

When you rest just enough after strenuous repeats, those cells get what they need to immediately get back to swimming. You need to rest because it takes time for the respiratory/circulatory system to get stuff there, to resupply what will be so quickly used up in the moment ahead. There is a lag time between muscle action and respiration catching up. When you take off on the next repeat, your cells will immediately be using up supplies faster than the blood stream can resupply, and you will feel the stress of that in the form of breathlessness.

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The Hardships We Face

The Hardships We Face

I both run and swim year round. In the last year or so I've put a lot more emphasis on running, and felt the corresponding motivation for that activity. Back in April, after a week off from illness, I irritated my achilles tendon on the first (allegedly 'easy') run...

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Not Just What To Learn, But How

Not Just What To Learn, But How

Usually, when I observe or experience training of another kind, the instructor is giving good, even amazing ideas to the students. However, it is often unfortunate that their manner of teaching it could be so much better. We may judge a good learning experience, not...

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Flip Turns Or Open Turns At The Wall?

Flip Turns Or Open Turns At The Wall?

…if you are not intending to race in a pool, and you don’t have strong reasons to use a flip turn otherwise, then I would recommend that you learn to do a good open turn. You still approach the wall in the same way as a flip turn, and you still push off and glide in streamline in the same way to that first stroke. The difference is in the position of the body at the wall, as you turn the body.

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Do You Have A Proper Training Diet?

Do You Have A Proper Training Diet?

If you do it yourself, how do you plan your training?  Or, if that sounds unappealing and you prefer to use the training materials created by someone else, how do they create their training plans?  Is there an obvious logic behind it? Are there principles? Tradition?...

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Amazing Things Can Happen In A Week

Amazing Things Can Happen In A Week

Amazing things can happen when you occasionally set aside the time and energy to spend five, six or even seven days in a row focused on your swimming. 

Yes, if you are working the body every day for so many days, you will get tired over that many days when you are not used to it. Yes, you will need to rest, but we’re talking just one week here, and you can also make sure you get very good sleep each night between.  Though you will get tired in one way, you will feel so much stronger in others…

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Small Steps Toward A Longer Stroke

Small Steps Toward A Longer Stroke

This is a simplified example to give you an idea of how to set a goal for an incremental increase in ability, like focusing on just the first step ahead, rather than thinking about the second step, or those you will take weeks later. The strength and skill you need for the second step is developed while you are taking that first step.

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The Importance Of Making Small Steps

The Importance Of Making Small Steps

When you start working toward your goal of a longer or faster stroke, you do well to set a smaller goal that takes you in that direction, then get to work on taking a small step toward it. The bigger the improvement goal you have set, the smaller those steps may need to be (or appear to be in comparison to how far you need to go). 

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When Change Feels Risky

When Change Feels Risky

Changing your patterns for moving, in swimming or running as well as any other powerful athletic movement form, can be difficult. There are a lot of factors that can make it easier or harder than it seems to be for others. But if you are reading this blog, you are...

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Choose A Role Model… That Fits You

Choose A Role Model… That Fits You

Choose a role model who is demonstrating those features at a speed similar to what you intend to go at. Form changes in significant ways as speed increases because the forces involved increase. When your hero or heroin is flying along at world record pace, they are positioned in a way that is not how you will be positioned when you are going at your best pace (I am sorry to break that to you!).

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Can You Trick Yourself Into A Longer Stroke?

Can You Trick Yourself Into A Longer Stroke?

You can do a set or exercise we call a ‘pyramid, such as a stroke count pyramid or a tempo pyramid and over the course of maybe 600 to 1000 meters, you can trick your body into swimming with slightly longer strokes or slightly faster tempo than you could previously. But just after doing a pyramid set try swimming for 5 minutes or longer with that improved stroke length or stroke rate. Your ability to maintain it likely won’t last long…

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The Back Story Of The Stroke Count Charts

The Back Story Of The Stroke Count Charts

Being one who processes information visually, one of my favorite products of these equations was a curve that I could calculate and then draw on a graph. The equations allow me to take different measurements from a unique swimmer and situation, and produce output that are a bit more customized to that individual. I can use the variables for height and wingspan (to derive the wingspan coefficient), push-off distance, duration of the turn, and things like that.

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