For years other swimmers and triathletes have said that to me. I usually just smile, but sometimes when I feel like they may really be interested in how I got there I tell them it takes an awful lot of practice. The next logical question of course is . . . . practice what?
Much of what I learned during my Total Immersion instruction has been very easy for me to implement since the methods and rationale seem to me to be so based in common sense.
What has really allowed me to make a difference in my own swimming and for so many of my students’ and club members’ swimming all starts with just one basic principal — head position. My own “ah ha” moment of how to achieve it and the “aha” moment of grasping a concept that I could share with my swimmers? Feel as if the water is a pillow cushioning my head in the water, just let my head go to exactly where my head wants to be and trust that when I do release my head it will end up in just the right place.
I’ve been part of several TI courses over the last year, both as a student and as an instructor. Each time I’ve heard Terry Laughlin (the founder and head of Total Immersion) talk about head position I am struck with what a simple concept it is, but one that eludes so many. When I practice it I feel the difference instantly, when I take the time to channel my focus. I knew I was on the right track in passing it along when I was teaching some very new adult swimmers recently. We were talking about head position and I said that if your head position isn’t right then everything else you do is just an attempt to compensate for that — I saw that same light bulb go on for a couple of them! Since that morning I’ve seen their own personal swim practice change dramatically for the better.
Simple concept, yes. Simple to implement — maybe. It takes discipline and focus to spend time in a pool or open water just focusing on head position. Try it and see if it make a difference in your swimming. I have a feeling that practicing good head position will do more to shave seconds off your 100 time and minutes off your mile time than endless “workouts” designed to improve your endurance and speed.