This week's blog post continues our 'Learn to Swim' videos with teaching you how to breathe when swimming. It can be a tricky technique to master so our video provides you with a step by step guide on how to incorporate breathing into your swim stroke. There is also a full transcript below of the video if you prefer the guide in a written format.
Breathing can be a really difficult task for beginners swimming. What we are going to look at now is integrating the breathing into your stroke. But we are not going to start off in the water.
The first drill we are going to look at is quite simply, you are going to lay on the side of the pool, with half of your body in the water. From this position you are going to have one arm at your side, and the other arm extended in front. You are going to be looking directly at the pool deck, and simply practicing turning your head from middle to side. With this you want to ensure that your chin is moving from a neutral head position, to your shoulder, and then back again without any upwards movement of the head.
After you have completed the previous drill we are going to take it into the water. Luckily we have isolated it, so we know exactly the movement that should be occurring when we are trying to take a breath. What you need to do now is take a float, and hold it at one top corner, and the other opposite bottom corner. Then start kicking your legs with your face in the water, looking directly to the bottom of the pool. From this position, when you feel ready to take a breath, simply repeat the drill you did on the side of the pool by rotating your head from middle, to side, taking a very short, and shallow breath, and then back into the middle again. When your face is in the water try to ensure that you are blowing out all the time, as biologically it is impossible to breathe in as your exhaling air.
After we have repeated the previous drill, we are going to take it on a step further and repeat without a float. Extend one arm up to the front, one arm down to your side, and breathe to the side where the arm is the lowest. You will find here that your body will sit slightly lower in the water, so you may have to slightly rotate your shoulders to be able to get your head out of the water. Please ensure whilst doing these drills that you do not lift your head up as this will affect the rest of your body position in the water.
Now that we have nailed the breathing, what we want to move onto is incorporating it into the rest of the stroke, and this is where timing comes into play. What we want to make sure that we are doing here, and how I explain it to the majority of my swimmers, is imagine that you have a piece of string in your hand that is attached to your chin. During your stroke as your hand passes your chin, it is going to pull on the string and pull your face out to the side. When your arm gets to the extended point of your stroke, and starts its recovery the head is going to turn back into the water as the string loosens up on your chin. Repeat this several times, you may not get it straight away, but through repetition it will become something that's natural. Try to do this through feeling the movement and imagining the string on the chin, rather than thinking the process through.
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