During the last blog we looked at the first steps of your swimming journey from preparation to entry. Today we are going to look at movement through the water, stopping and starting. Note: If you aren't confident with completing all of the tasks from the first part of this series, then please do not attempt the activities in this blog. Even though these activities can be done by yourself it is always best to complete with a friend or instructor
Body Position and Kicking
So based on our last post, we can now successfully floated in the water whilst holding onto the side and have no doubt tried without the support as well. We are now going to take this a step forward and attempt a pencil float leading into kick. 1. Float on your front with your arms extended above your head. 2. Place your hands on top of each other. 3. Ensure your body is long and straight from top to tail, imagine there is string running through your hands to your toes and someone is pulling on this stretching you out in the water. 4. When you can successfully hold this position we will then introduce the kick. 5. You need to kick from your hips with very little bend in the knee. 6. Point your toes, imagine you are grasping a straw in your toes. 7. Kick with a quick but relaxed motion and feel the pressure of the water on the tops of the feet. 8. Create small quick movements with your feet (not too deep as you will drag too shallow and you wont move). When you need to breathe, stop and find your feet (It may best to do this next to the wall first few times). Try and beat your distance each time you repeat and remember to stay relaxed whilst performing this. Once you have completed the above we are then going to practice the same thing but on our back, the arm and leg positioning will be the same except this time you are going to imagine you are playing 'keepy uppy' with a football. Make sure your head is in a neutral position and you keep yourself relaxed at all times. Once you are able to complete the body position and leg kick effectively you can move onto the next part of this blog!
We are going to keep the arms very simple this time round, remember that there are many small stepping stones that need to be crossed before you reach your overall goal! 1. Get into your torpedo kick position. 2. Push off the wall and start your torpedo kick. 3. After 2 seconds you are going to pull one arm back under your body pushing the water to your feet. 4. When you have pushed your hand back to your hip you are going to recover under the water to bring your hand back to where it started 5. Whilst completing point 4 your other hand needs to be pulling back so we create an alternate movement. 6. When pushing back on the water try to make sure your hand isn't too close to your body, your fingertips need to stay to the left or right of your bodies central line and the palm of your hand needs to be facing towards your feet (Opposite direction to movement). 7. When you need to breathe, stop stand up and start again, you can also complete this drill with the use of a snorkel.
With everything in the early stages, we are going to break each skill down and learn it separately, this will allow us to put it all together more effectively when the time comes. Now you are comfortable completing the arms and legs drills, we are going to look at breathing (You will need a kickboard for this section); 1. Place your left hand at the top left corner of your float and your right and on the bottom right corner of your float. 2. This will create a pocket where you can place your face in the water. 3. Your left arm will be straight and right arm bent. 4. Push off the wall and start to kick with your face in the water. 5. When you need to breath turn your head towards your right hand. 6. Rotate enough to get your mouth out of the water and take a small breath, half of your face should stay in the water at all times. 7. As soon as a SMALL breath is taken rotate your head back to neutral head position. 8. Make sure you swap over top and bottom hands. You want to repeat the above several times, make sure you are exhaling slowly and comfortably when your face is in the water, and never take in a massive breath as this will make things a lot more difficult in the long run. The less you can rotate your head for the breath the better! So there we have it! Once all the points above are completed you will have made a massive step forward in your journey and it is time to take a step back and compare where you were to where you are and realise how big a step it really is. During the next blog we are going to look at developing Backstroke and the frontcrawl further and complete our first 25 metres. Happy swimming!