Frequently Asked Questions
With all of the phone calls we receive, we often get the same kinds of questions. From these questions, we have put together an FAQ list for you. For more accurate and complete answers to your questions, see below:
- Can a relatively poor/novice swimmer attend a TI freestyle weekend?
- Can experienced swimmers improve with TI?
- Do we welcome children at workshops?
- I've already booked!
- When and where are the upcoming workshops?
- Is accomodation or food included for my workshop?
- Where are TI Certified Coaches located?
- What’s the difference between the original Total Immersion book (blue and yellow cover) and Swimming Made Easy or Triathlon Swimming Made Easy?
- If you already have a TI book, how important is it to have one of the TI videos?
- What can people learn on their own simply using the video vs. what they learn at a workshop?
- Which TI video is for me?
- Should I use Fistgloves?
- Should I use Fins/Flippers?
Questions About TI Workshops & Coaching:
Can a relatively poor/novice swimmer attend a TI freestyle workshop?
We work on a baseline swimmer/coach ratio of 5:1, so our coaches are easily able to give frequent hands on contact and feedback to every swimmer in the pool. With that in mind it is incredibly important to understand: "Our workshops are not 'learn-to-swim' weekends"; they are most certainly not for you if you are really what we would consider a non-swimmer and that includes if you are fearful of swimming in deep water; if you can not already swim with your face in the water (sorry, we do not consider covering many laps of the pool with 'heads-up' breast stroke as "swimming"); or if you have real concerns about having a coach physically helping you to achieve "swimming" positions in the water (our workshops are very "hands-on")
To attend a Freestyle Workshop, you must be able to "swim" at least two back-to-back lengths of a 'front crawl' like stroke, even if your technique is poor and you have to stop every 50m to get your breath back before swimming another two.
Having a non propulsive kick, i.e. with a kick-board, is not going to prevent you from making significant progress at a workshop, neither is having poor balance or not understanding how to breath easily - we will teach you these skills
So, if you are simply a poor or frustrated freestyle swimmer, our record of turning strugglers, even those who have been frustrated for years, into "swimmers" is unmatched. We can help you progress enormously in just two days – far more than years of tedious lengths would accomplish. You’ll leave the workshop with a achievable plan for improvement and the tools to make it happen.
If you are not sure please send us an email
Please note: Non-swimmers and the hydrophobic can seek the help of one of our coaches for individual instruction
Can experienced swimmers improve with TI?
Total Immersion can help ANY swimmer maximize their potential. If you have human DNA, we can teach you to be more fishlike and give you a much stronger foundation for continuing to improve. We have already helped hundreds of swimmers recognise their true potential, including top-ranked age-group and masters swimmers and countless triathletes
Do we welcome children at workshops?
Many age group swimmers, some as young as 10 or 11, have successfully completed our workshops with dramatic improvement. Please understand our workshops are more information-intensive than anything they will have experienced before - this is not about how far they swim each week at their club, it's their ability to process information with consistency! So, if they are willing to learn and practise mindfully and attentively, they’ll learn priceless and enduring lessons about how to swim at their best. As a general rule we find children aged 12 upwards fare the best and we would never accept anyone younger that is not a regular competitive swimmer, nor anyone under the age of 10
For detailed information about TI Weekend Workshops click here
When and where are the upcoming workshops?
All of our "on sale" workshops are listed on the website home page and are available for booking on the shopping site - if the venue you want is not currently listed keep checking in because we update the list as soon as a venue allocates us a new date. Please note: If it's not listed on the website we do not have a workshop currently booked there and our lead time tends to be at least three month on new dates!
The venues we currently use are:
- Hampton (London area) - The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hanworth Road TW12 3HF
- Old Windsor (London area) - St. John's Beaumont School, Priest Hill SL4 2JN
- Newbury - Brockhurst & Marlston House School, Hermitage RG18 9UL
- King Edwards School, Witley, Near Guildford, Surrey GU8 5SG
- Nr Leicester - Hinckley Leisure Centre, Coventry Road, Hinckley LE10 2HP
- Scotland - Balfron High School, Roman Road, BalfronG63 0PW
In the past we had regular workshops in Sandbach, Cheshire and in Dublin. Unfortunately these venues are no longer readily available to us (although we still get to use Sandbach once a year in August). We are always looking for new venues, so if you can help with that please send us an email with contact details for the pool manager
For the full list of planned workshops click here
For more detailed information about what happens at a workshop click here
Is accomodation or food included for my workshop?
No, neither are included in the price of your workshop. If you do need accommodation you can request details by email as we do sometimes carry a list provided by the venue, although we can not guarantee quality or availability and neither can the venue. The easiest option is to source what you prefer via a service such as google maps using the venue address listed above. We would expect you to bring a suitable packed lunch and drinks with you or buy locally. Other than Dublin we do offer free hot drinks
I've already booked!
You will receive your joining instructions somewhere between 7 to 14 days before the workshop, but if you want to make a head start click here to start working from the primer video footage.
You should have already received an automated confirmation of your booking, however, you might also receive another email from us requesting you to confirm your understanding of the workshop information detailed above on this web page! This is simply because we sometimes, very unfortunately, get people turning up on workshops that should not really be there: people we regards as non-swimmers, water-phobic, or under-aged and lacking the cognative skills, and this is particularly unfair on the other participants! So, with that in mind please note that, having read this, if you are really a non-swimmer or water-phobic, or if you have booked an under-age swimmer onto a workshop you should let us know immediately and discuss that with us, we will offer a full refund if more than 7-days before the workshop. If you ignore this and turn up for the workshop we will not be able to either accommodate you/your swimmer on the workshop or offer any kind of refund or transfer
Where are TI Certified Coaches located?
All of our senior coaches are based in the East Midlands within 30 miles of each other. We now have three Total Immersion Swimming Studios where swimmers can go for TI instruction and a number of other instructors dotted around the UK including Scotland, Belfast & Dublin.
For more information click here
Questions About TI Books:
What’s the difference between the original Total Immersion book (blue and yellow cover) and Triathlon Swimming Made Easy?
I recently updated the original Total Immersion book (first published in 1996) to ensure that Chapter 8, which outlines the TI drill process for freestyle, matched the way we teach now. That book has helped thousands of swimmers enormously. It is far better than any non-TI swimming book as a conceptual guide to smart swimming. You might think of it as a comprehensive introduction to Total Immersion, most valuable for those who are are learning about TI for the first time. If you have already found your way here to the TI web site, you will likely find either or both of the two books below to be a more complete and detailed guide to your particular interests and goals. As for learning the physical skills and drills of TI Swimming, video and DVD is the most effective way to achieve understanding and mastery…short of working with a TI Coach
'Triathlon Swimming Made Easy' (published 2002) is the best TI book for those primarily interested in becoming a better freestyler. Though the title refers to Triathlon, I really wrote it to be a detailed guide to swim freestyle with ease and confidence for any distance in any body of water. Read a free sample chapter click here
Questions About TI DVD's:
If you already have a TI book, how important is it to have one of the TI DVD's?
Our DVD's are intended to complement the information in the books… and vice versa. They show you graphically how to execute the drills properly in a way that illustrations and descriptions in the book cannot. The books explain everything we can’t fit into the voiceover on the DVD – what difficulties you may encounter and how to ease your way, how to practice each drill and lesson after learning the movements, how to apply the lessons of the drills in your whole stroke, and how to train yourself for fitness or speed using both drills and whole-stroke
What can people learn on their own simply using the DVD vs. what they learn at a workshop?
Most workshop guests have practiced on their own with the DVD first. They had made significant improvement by self-coaching with the aid of the video footage and book. They improved even more dramatically – and did so literally overnight – at the workshop. The impact of being videotaped underwater, having your technique expertly evaluated and following a guided program of instruction under the direction of a coach who is highly experienced in teaching Fishlike Swimming skills will be greater than any other learning process
Which TI DVD is for me?
If you’re a non-swimmer…are water-phobic…fearful of venturing out of shallow water…can’t breathe properly while swimming…or can only swim a few strokes before stopping…the 'Happy Laps' DVD will teach you how to be completely at home in the water in just a few hours
If you’d like to swim a remarkably efficient, effortlessly powerful and always satisfying freestyle…if you’d like to swim any distance in any body of water…if you swim for health, relaxation, distance or speed…if you’d like swimming to be the best part of your next triathlon…'Freestyle Made Easy' presents the same complete and up-to-date skill improvement process taught in the renowned TI weekend workshops
If you’d like to develop a complete range of swimming skills…or if you’re a swim coach or teacher hoping to give your students the most effective process for mastering all four strokes…'Four Strokes Made Easy' will be an invaluable addition to your library of learning tools, combining two videos each of which teach the essentials of two strokes at once to cut learning time in half and improve with unprecedented ease and speed
Questions About TI Training Aids:
Should I use Fistgloves?
I had no knowledge of Fistgloves when I wrote the original TI book. But, as soon as I tried them, they became my favorite training tool and I wore them for 40 percent or more of all my swimming for several years. They also became my favorite teaching tool. When we have our students wear them at Total Immersion workshops and camps, the normal rate of transformation and improvement becomes markedly accelerated, because the gloves reinforce everything our drills teach
During our summer camps for kids, we typically have a large group of “average” swimmers and only a limited time to teach them true and lasting fluency in all four strokes. When we began using Fistgloves, we saw a dramatic increase in learning speed with swimmers in every age group, from 8 to 17. We now have the campers wear the gloves for over 80% of their water time at camp, usually removing the gloves for only the last 5 to 15 minutes of each 90-minute session
How to use them. The higher your ratio of drill-to-swim, the higher percentage of your overall yardage should be with Fistgloves. In an hour of mainly-drill practice, you might wear the gloves for the first 40 to 45 minutes, then finish the practice with bare hands. As you increase the amount of swimming, you might switch to a 60:40 ratio of gloves to bare hands
Competitive swimmers in training, might use Fistgloves as much as 70% of the time in early season, gradually reducing that ratio to 30% or less in mid-season, then increasing Fistglove use in taper to 50% or more. During taper, the gloves will reduce stress and fatigue and increase sensitivity and kinesthetic awareness
For developing swimmers, a novice could use Fistgloves 70% to 80% of the time, an intermediate swimmer 50% to 70% of the time and an advanced or elite swimmer 30% to 50%
What size gloves should I get?
To work out your glove size please refer to the Fistgloves Size Chart
Please Note: Fistgloves cannot be exchanged. Is this your first pair of fistgloves? We suggest ordering a larger size.
Should I use fins?
A fair proportion of adult swimmers – and most of those who were runners first – are ineffective kickers because of inflexible ankles. If that’s you, fins can be a great aid in parts of the drill sequence, but it's best to try to get a bit of a sense of balance without fins first. If you find yourself looking up at the same ceiling tile for a long time while in Sweet Spot, just stand up, relax a moment, then push off the bottom to give yourself some momentum. It's much easier to maintain momentum while moving, than to generate it once you've lost it. And don't respond to a non-propulsive kick by kicking harder. Becoming a stronger kicker is not the point; learning to swim with an effortless – almost unconscious — kick is the REAL goal. Continued drill practice, combined with some vertical kicking and judicious use of fins will gradually make your uncooperative kick effective enough to sustain smooth, relaxed drilling