I found this article from Coach Emmett Hines about the lack of balance in the water and Pull Buoy Addiction. Well I can definitely say I am a recovering addict! Leading up to Lonestar, I started really hating swimming... unless I was using the pull buoy. I swam 500, then 1000 no problem with the buoy but would struggle to go 50 without it. Here is the article,
Of Air and Gravity, by Coach Emmett Hines
Here is another review of the pull buoy as a tool from Total Immersion
Tool Review #2: Pull Buoy — Crutch or Virtue « Swim Well and Live Well: The Blog of Total Immersion Founder Terry Laughlin
So what am I doing? I took it out of my pool bag for starters, and I am working on achieving my balance without it. It would be useful in practicing strokes, but I see that it is detrimental if overused. It can easily become a crutch, or did for me. I think my journey of learning will be faster without it.