Re: Passing thoughts


Yeah, swimming was easy for me to do (though I'm slow) but we have failed to pass this on.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 6:52 AM
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I find that bound and otherwise compressing postures in yoga present, rather acutely, the problem that yoga is supposed to address: to wit, the distraction and discomfort one's breath suddenly becoming difficult. Tranquility is rather a problem for me in the best of circumstances.

Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 6:57 AM
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I can't do yoga because I'd just stare at butts.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 7:07 AM
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I'm supposed to start physical therapy, which should help with flexibility.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 7:09 AM
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I taught my oldest daughter to swim using lies and jellybeans.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 7:23 AM
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The lie is obviously "turn your head and there's an air pocket".

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 7:24 AM
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6: see, there's another one of those compression poses.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 7:33 AM
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I've developed my own fitness program. Whenever I'm standing around waiting (roughly 5% of my waking life) I stand on one leg, and when that leg gets tired, I stand on the other leg.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 8:10 AM
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It's June 10 so the phrase "earlier this summer" tells me that you don't live in New England or the upper Michigan peninsula. Does Texas have a 5th season comprising July and August?

Posted by: No Longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 8:21 AM
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9: Hell's Kitchen. (I grew up in south Louisiana, which features Hell's Kitchen in a Sauna at that time of year.)

Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 9:31 AM
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I think July-August is #3 in the Texas seasons "summer, summer, still summer, and football season."

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 9:41 AM
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I was imagining they left it off on Thursday to let the media stew over it on Friday, but then I remembered they just don't work in DC on Fridays.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 9:43 AM
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(I just googled "What day of the week was?" and the two autocompletes were January 6, 2021 in different formats.)

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 9:43 AM
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Oops, those last two should have been in the "Thursday" thread.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 9:50 AM
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Swimming lessons are so hard for my kids. The Calabat can swim reasonably well now, to the point that they're working on form rather than drownproofing. Pebbles is still scared to put her face in but can motor around a little. But with both of them I think I paid for two years of lessons with zero progress until they figured it out one day.

Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 10:21 AM
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There is a parenting thing I never figured out, about how to get your kids to be coachable. Newt brought this up as something that was super frustrating for him as a kid, not understanding how to learn how to do something physical by following instructions -- the only thing he could do when doing something that didn't come naturally was try harder, which didn't work great. He actually brought up a specific day I remembered as frustrating from my side, where I was trying to teach him how to do a push-up (or really, a plank as precursor to a push-up) and all my instructions were completely failing to get through.

If there were a way to teach a kid how to get into the headspace where they can be coached, it'd be very useful.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 11:24 AM
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It turns out sarcasm is no help at all there.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 11:51 AM
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Yeah, that day with Newt was a weird experience for both of us. He was genuinely trying to be cooperative, and we had a pretty low-stress relationship. But even with that, "move your hands a couple of inches towards your feet, so they're directly under your shoulders," utterly failed to produce useful results.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:07 PM
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I guess it does teach sarcasm.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:17 PM
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xelA can swim OK. He's been doing formal swimming lessons for about 3 years, though, and I think they are not the quickest with the progression. The level he's at now, they are adding different strokes (butterfly with dolphin kick, life-saving backstroke, dolphin kick on the back, etc), rather than drown-proofing. He's been formally assessed as being able to swim 30 metres or so, but I've seen him do 3 or 4 lengths of a 35metre pool with my wife, so I know he can swim 100+ metres if he has to.

I find it quite frustrating trying to teach him things, as he doesn't really listen to me or my wife, but he's fine at taking instruction from strangers. He is quite good at doing things with his body, though. During lockdown he was doing the PE with Joe videos and his push-up form was good. At the time he could do a few dozen, but now I don't think he can do more than single figures. I don't think he thinks he is very athletic, but when he started Judo about 6 weeks ago, they moved him into the 10-15 year old class (he's 9) as they thought he'd just get frustrated when training with the other kids his age, as he's quite strong and coordinated.

He doesn't have any perspective, as there's at least 4 or 5 kids in his class who are either signed on proper contracts now with Premier League or Championship football teams, or part of their pre-contract development squads, and another couple who are County level competitive athletes. So, he thinks he's not especially fit or good at sports, when he's actually naturally quite athletic.

He takes after me, in the sense that I am also very good at copying movements or working out what to do with my body following instruction which was helpful doing martial arts, but also not at all like me, as when I was his age, I was skinny and uncoordinated with terrible hand-eye coordination.

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:19 PM
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16: Did he ever try martial arts? There a lot of the basics you're doing by imitation rather than by verbal instruction, plus you just get more in the habit of physical guidance.

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:32 PM
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16: I think it's pretty hard to learn physical movements without feeling the "correct" form. I always appreciated coaches who'd make actual physical adjustments. Like, a command to bend my knees became them kind of pushing down on shoulders until knees were bent enough. I have something currently wrong with my form for deadlifts with anything that's not a kettlebell, and I'm about 90% sure I won't be able to fix it without someone physically rearranging me as I lift a an unweighted bar. I'm not particularly uncoordinated, but I really can't learn physical stuff by watching someone else (unless I have a mirror to see myself) or via verbal instructions.

For teaching something like a plank, I'd probably have put marks on the floor for hands, then lifted/lowered shoulders and hips to get everything positioned correctly,

Posted by: yndew | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:37 PM
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Yes, but at a super janky and kind of terrible neighborhood program. That was actually what inspired the push-up interaction -- it seemed so weird to me that TKD had not successfully taught him to do one.

(I am in retrospect ashamed of myself for having them in that TKD/afterschool program. Tim was working from home at the time and liked it, and I didn't argue about it, but it was kind of awful.)

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:38 PM
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I guess my (pseudonymity-riskingly distinct) childhood martial art was very kata-focused, less sparring and grappling. Good for physical self-control. (I never learned true push-ups, now that I think of it, even though they were part of the routine.)

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:41 PM
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16: My experience teaching small children to ski is that 90% of successful teaching is being Not My Mom.

But also: most people are very bad at teaching skills that they themselves are good at, unless they have a lot of practice building a progression or breaking down skills into small pieces. Most parents are therefore bad teachers.

Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 12:50 PM
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16: For things like yoga, dance, etc, I have a very hard time learning without hands-on corrections of my body position. The difficulty there is that there are very good reasons for why an instructor wouldn't want to routinely touch people (especially kids), and why parents wouldn't want them to either.

Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 2:02 PM
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When we were kids, our parents took us to the YMCA, we got lessons, yadda yadda. I learned to swim well enough that whenever we'd go to the pool, we had to swim a (!!) quarter-mile before we were allowed to play. The indignity! The sacrifice! In college I took a water safety instructor course that involved massive amounts of laps and learning a bunch of other strokes (to use when rescuing somebody who's not cooperating, etc). In grad school I swam a good bit, often a mile at a time. In my 20s I swam a good bit, ditto in my 30s. Usually a mile at a time.

In all that time, swimming was hard, and I was always out-of-breath, and it was *tiring*. But hey, I was young and strong, so I powered-thru.

Then I broke my right shoulder lifting with bad form, and when I got that fixed, broke the other one -- same story. After I got both shoulders fixed, and went thru rehab, I decided to learn to swim for real, so I took some private lessons at my YMCA. I'm talking, like, 8 lessons -- not very many. And it was *transformative*. Now, I can swim and not be always out-of-breath, and I can swim without getting tired all the time. I can easily swim a half-mile without stopping at a (ok, ok, I'm still getting back into it) 3min/100m pace and sometimes a mile at that pace. And afterwards, I'm not panting like I'm about to die.

And yeah, I learned that if I roll over, there's a dip right there I can breathe from. And that if I'm doing it right, my head is lower than my feet, so they're breaking the water with each kick. All that stuff they call "balance in the water".

And my conclusion from all this (which included years of swim lessons as a kid, then WSI in college, and a TON of swimming throughout my life) is that there are good instructors and bad instructcors, and you need to keep looking for new instructors until you find one who is good. It's not you, it's the instructor.

B/c lordy, swimming was a chore and a trial, and I did it b/c it was good exercise but I sure as hell didn't enjoy it. Sure as hell did not. But then, when I finally found a teacher who could teach me "balance in the water" it became a *joy*, and I cannot express how *much* of a joy it is.

It's not you: it's the teacher.

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 06-10-22 10:58 PM
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Interesting! I am definitely in the "swimming is an exhausting chore" camp and just figured it was a personal failure.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 4:53 AM
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This term "balance in the water" is one I only learned from that last teacher at the YMCA. And I remember reading during covid, that the guy who had pioneered that school of teaching swimming, had died. His obit, I mean. So it's not like it's some ancient, widely-spread school of thought -- the progenitor just died, after all. I see people swimming all the time -- young guys for instance, who have so much more strength than I do, and they're working *so* hard to keep their heads up (and their feet are below their heads) and I just chuckle, b/c so much of that effort is wasted. Or I see people who have to raise their heads for each breath -- you can watch the spray of water off their head as they raise-and-turn, so vigorously that the water sprays off.

So much effort. And then I see the swimmers who seem to turn, barely lift their heads and just *breathe*. I'm not saying that I'm there, but it's closer to what that last teacher taught me. I can only do that on one side, and though I've tried to teach myself to do it on both sides, I haven't managed. So I have to find another teacher to teach me left-side breathing.

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 5:16 AM
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An ambibreather.

Posted by: Opinionated Zoolander | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 5:18 AM
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Or, y'know, there's this technique called "early vertical forearm" (aka "high elbows") that swim coaches will teach. I saw YT videos of it. and decided to learn how to do it. It was worth 10% speedup in my lap times, and for no greater perception of effort. 10% by changing the way my forearms went into the water! 10%! And I'm sure that a coach could show me how to improve on that.

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 5:18 AM
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Anyway, one day years after I stopped swimming on a team, I was in the pool and all of a sudden the motion for the kick in the crawl made sense like it never did before. Then I forgot it again.

But watching my son swim, it is remarkable how much energy he wastes by moving wrong and how impossible it has been to get him to stop.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 5:28 AM
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Oh hey, another thing I wanna learn how to do: how to kick in the crawl. I mean, I kick a bit, but it never seems to push me forward. Maybe there's something I'm doing wrong. I practice with the kickboard, but it doesn't seem to help. And then there's learning how to get the timing down for breatstroke so the stroke and kick don't cancel. So many things to learn!

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 5:33 AM
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AIPMBO, after high school graduation, we were walking across a river and it got too deep to walk so we started swimming. One woman started to yell that she couldn't swim. It hadn't occurred to the rest of us to ask and she hadn't known the river was too deep to walk across the whole way.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 5:49 AM
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33: Try using a kickboard, then you'll be able to quickly see if your kicks are moving you forward effectively or not.

Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 7:08 AM
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That's true, but it also didn't help me at all as a kid.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 7:13 AM
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35: heh indeed. As M., a guy who's often in the next lane when I swim, says, watching me do a kickboard lap is like watching somebody struggle against the tide. I'm *slow*. sllllooooow. Maybe my legs are just weak/weak/weak, and I need to do a half-mile of board every day. But that'd take (does math) over an hour.

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 9:02 AM
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Ok, I thought "never seems to push me forward" meant it just seemed ineffectual and you weren't sure whether it actually was wrong or not.

Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 9:09 AM
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My kids both picked up swimming quickly, and had a great great instructor, Amanda, who was great with kids. She'd be chatting with a very small kid, totally had their attention, and offhandedly dripping/dropping/splashing water on their head and they'd be past the "don't want to get head wet" without even noticing it. It's a different level of instruction than lap swimming but it was always more important to me that the kids were just safe in the water, could swim as long as needed. I also have spent a lifetime in the water without ever being a lap swimmer (how boring!) or caring how fast I went. Not that there's anything wrong with that, probably more exercise, but not me. I'd go to the pool and do laps crosswise at the bottom of the pool because I cared more about breath holding and diving. But if you can do even a little bit of butterfly, the first time you try it in salt water is great! I won't even bring up the great salt lake.

Posted by: chill | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 9:27 AM
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My first swim teacher was very good. She became a lawyer and moved to Houston, if Amanda needs next steps.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 9:44 AM
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Amanda has moved into elementary school teaching, but if I see her I will make that suggestion.

Posted by: chill | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 10:09 AM
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I, too, know people named Amanda.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 10:27 AM
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I know two people named Amanda.

Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 10:37 AM
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It turns out, Amanda Hugankiss is probably not a real person.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 10:49 AM
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I, too, compulsively think of that joke whenever I hear the name Amanda.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 10:50 AM
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What joke? I accepted a check but the police say it was an obvious fraud.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 10:51 AM
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That's the joke. I think it's funny when the police come after you.

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 11:25 AM
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No love for me?

Posted by: Amanda B. Recondwith | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 4:35 PM
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I think it's less funny when the police come after you. But maybe if you ham it up?

Posted by: heebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-22 7:54 PM
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This thread has been really interesting because I'm comfortable in the water--honestly, I love being in the water--have been all my life, have no real fear of drowning, have passed all sorts of swim safety tests, but can't really swim with any official stroke. I can get from point a to point b in a pool without doggy paddling, but that's about it.

I often wonder if adult swim lessons would be worthwhile in case I ever want to swim laps (especially given what I said upthread about needing a lot of hands-on instruction).

Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 06-13-22 5:23 AM
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This thread is reminding me that I did relatively enormous amounts of swimming as a kid. I was on a swim team from like 7-13, with practice nearly daily throughout the year, except part of the summer when there were either two practices (morning + afternoon) or no practice because everyone took a break.

Comparatively, learning the technique for any stroke in just 8 lessons or so sounds like a lot to cover in a short period. I remember doing a lot of work on form and even then never really developed the strength for butterfly, except for the kick. I would say flip turns (for backstroke too) and alternate side breathing were the two things that felt like a revelation.

Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06-13-22 8:59 AM
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fake accent: Oh, I didn't mean that I learned crawl in 8 lessons. Rather, that I went from knowing crawl but having really poor form, to improving sufficiently that it was a sea-change in my experience of swimming. Sure, after that I still watched YT vids and tried to practice other improvements in form. Sure, I need to learn to kick better. And I still *suck* at breaststroke -- can barely move forward.

Posted by: Chetan Murthy | Link to this comment | 06-13-22 9:21 AM
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34: And THEN what happened?

Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-13-22 9:39 AM
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Someone pulled her across and she yelled at us for about five minutes.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-22 9:42 AM
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Just this morning I learned that my hip pain means I can't do the crawl kick anymore.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-13-22 9:45 AM
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