Human's Natural Adaptation to Water (4)

Most common mistakes

Traditionally, we have interpreted the muscular actions of technical gestures from an anatomical point of view, speaking of agonists and antagonists, flexors and extenders. On the other hand, we filmed, photographed and analyzed the trajectories described by the best swimmers in the world with kinematic assessments as the models to follow, without asking how or why they were able to do it so profitably. We have calculated forces, angles of attack, spatial-temporal relationships... From our point of view, the perspective of the Motor Nervous System and levers anatomical characteristics directly affect the global action of swimming, having to consider both its anatomy, nerve centers characteristics, which control them and their pathways, as well as their physiology. We can hardly intervene in the learning of an inappropriate limb action or posture of (distal or lateral musculature), if we do not have control of medial muscles (axial and proximal muscles) so they behave adequately in support and adjustment to the propulsion. For these reasons, distal parts voluntary movements, hands and feet, can perform their propulsive actions with guaranteed success, or at least, with better results.

Carry voluntary orders to our hands and feet to place the first phalanges and wrist with the appropriate angle of attack needs the previous shoulder and thigh rotation, etc. Depending on the shape we have adopted to move, our center of gravity will change position, and actions will not be readjusted in the same way if we swim with deep grips and raised outputs after the push, or if we take the hand before the extension of the elbow and we move with the elbow excessively raised and the hand close to our head, making superficial holds, in most cases.

All the sensory information necessary for the motor act of swimming is reduced in the water. We will have to artificially provoke visual, auditory, tactile and proprioceptive information with the degree of relaxation and contraction necessary and optimal for the displacement, as well as the vestibular information that informs us of the equilibrium or disequilibrium that best suits us to advance symmetrically. Otherwise, very few athletes will succeed with their actions.

Swimming crawl style from an unbalanced perspective requires anticipatory answers to not respond naturally. When the brain knows that it must place all its joint and muscle structure in a determined way for an action against natural balance, recomposes the system for the most effective action, having to be that way of swimming, learned and memorized as the most profitable. In this way, both the elements used for this, as well as mottos and internal thoughts, will be headed in the same direction. Overcoming water resistance to advance with less effort and better efficiency is like running with a high-speed wind, we must lean and try to get the center of gravity of the support base and thus be able to make profitable our efforts. These anticipatory behaviors must be provoked, or they will not appear, except in very isolated cases. The difference is that in the water we will not fall, although in part we must feel this sensation to achieve it.

This system does not understand the learning from the fractioned aspect to the global one, but raises the acquisition of the appropriate gesture in a general way with the intervention of elements that propitiate and induce the objective sought in addition to collaborating from the subjectivity to achieve it. We do not perform technical assimilation exercises, because we understand that the brain always acts globally since it needs all its systems in synergy to seek answers, each one contributing its role. The only isolated work that we propose is the over-stimulation in the actions most rejected by the brain to then go on to the swim and gradually incorporate that neural scheme that executes it.

When we do not have sensory information, the answers are complex, and we cannot execute target positions with security and precision. The different hierarchical levels of the Motor System can act in parallel to execute movements and, in addition, each of them can do it separately. The marrow, the Brainstem and the Motor Cortex must be coordinated for the swimming actions and each of them needs stimuli to contribute in its proper measure. Spinal and brainstem reflexes must be modulated so that the voluntary orders of the cortex modify and automate the movement. Otherwise, personal responses depending on their interpretation and characteristics will be those that install and automate swimming style.

We have structures in charge of the strategic plan, such as the Basal Ganglia and Cerebral Association Barks. Others develop the tactical plan, such as the Motor Cortex and the Cerebellum. To finish this sequence, the Brain Trunk and the Medulla execute movements. From here, we will establish this channel of special communication between the athlete and his brain structures, and the coach with his Methods and Proactive Materials, providing encouragement and direction to get to understand each other for the benefit of our goals.

We can find 2 very different situations. On the one hand, natural process of teaching and learning, with new students, where the architecture of movements should be controlled and follow the right path. On the other, sportsmen who automated a swimming style with inappropriate postures. In both cases, the process is similar. The coach must interpret and know how their athletes understand, process and respond to the proposed gesture (each swimmer or triathlete responds differently). Reality enters our mind in the same way, but interpretations are different, and so are responses. According to experiences and acquired automatisms, the strategic plan will change and the memory can help or hinder our work. If we want our athletes to make an entry of the hand and arm in shoulder’s line, and their response is that they cross excessively by bending the elbow and crossing the midline of the trunk, there will be a distortion between objective and the subjective reality. Then we will need to give feed-back totally exaggerated and tell them that they execute an excessively open entrance using in their minds the thought of forming a "Y", where the head is on the bifurcation of the "Y", the shoulders next to it and the divergent hands at the entrance to the water. In this way, we will observe how the arms are directed to a straight entrance that we will have to keep for several weeks until we get the "Hebbian learning" or dendritic disconnection, and then reconfigure a neural connection of the desired learning.

J. Bonal Pedrón

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