Front Crawl Part One
Dip Your Toe In – The Building Blocks
Building a solid foundation is vital to get from one end of the pool to the other with a smooth continuous stroke. In this blog we will give you insider information, from one of our top swim teachers, to help break the stroke down to the bare basics and start you building a perfect stroke.
Here we focus on the first three of the following stages of front crawl, keep checking in for the next instalment!
- Water confidence & learning to stand
- Body position & floating
- Streamline glide
- Streamlined leg kick
- Single arm action
- Arm and leg coordination
- Rolling stroke with side breathing
- Full stroke
1. Water Confidence & Learning to Stand
It sounds obvious, but if you are unsure of your buoyancy and the effects of being in a large mass of water, it is easy to become disorientated when trying to stand.
Once you are in the pool area, it is important that you familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Challenge yourself to walk around the pool first, to get used to the sounds and temperature. Once you feel at ease, enter the water.
Try this Exercise - Using the side of the pool, or a water noodle under your armpits for support, start bringing your knees to your chest and back down again.
This can be developed by putting your face in the water as you lift your feet.
Taking it step by step, start with just your mouth in the water, and try blowing bubbles. Once you’re confident at this step, work your way up, putting more of your face in the water; mouth & nose, then mouth, nose and eyes.
With your legs tucked up and face in the water the position is called a mushroom float, and you can always use this position to regain your balance from your front and from your back, if you’re ever unsteady.
2. Body Position & Floating
Body position is the key! Remember your body is all connected – for every action there is a reaction. If you lift your head in the stroke your body will counter balance which, in turn, will cause your legs and bottom to sink.
The first thing to practice is breathing techniques – remember to breathe in the air and blow out in the water.
When you’re swimming, the ideal body position is to be floating on the surface, horizontally in a straight line from top of the head through to the feet. Try to over exaggerate and experiment with your position in the water. Firstly, do it incorrectly, with your head out of the water and chin lifted. Compare this to how it feels when doing it correctly, with your eye line down and chin tucked in.
You will soon find how your body works in water, and begin the process of understanding the buoyancy within your body.
Try this exercise - Float in a star shape – on your front with your legs out, toes pointed, arms reaching out sideways and your chin towards your chest.
This needs to be practised on your back as well, but with chin tilted towards ceiling, ears and toes in the water, hips lifted and gluts held.
Develop the star into a Y shape, bringing the legs together and squeezing the gluts. Finally into a streamlined position - ankles and knees squeezing together, gluts and abs engaged. Arms long and extended, behind the ears, feeling of elbows squeezing together.
3. Streamline Guide
Now that we know how our body should be positioned in the water and we can regain our balance if we need to, we can start to move.
Try this exercise - Take your streamline position, place one foot on the wall and practise gliding on the surface of the water away from the wall whilst maintaining an extended shape horizontal to the surface.
Once the body position is mastered with a glide, you can start working on the kick, which will be our topic next time. This will include exercises to help strengthen your body out of the pool, in preparation to develop your stroke in the water.
Help & Advice
I hope this helps with some things to consider when you next “dip your toe”. If you enjoyed this information and would like to learn more, please come in and speak to one of our swim activators, and we can arrange some self development to suit your personal needs. Feel free to call the centre on 01935 845888 or drop us an email HERE