After taking charge of a pupil interested in learning swimming, a coach or instructor, first of all, imparts common knowledge about breathing and strokes to him. Depending on how fast and easily the student can master them, he, sort of, comes to understand how fast the training should progress.
Basic Freestyle Swimming
The freestyle stroke is the most basic stroke that each and every swimmer starts off with. Depending on his style of teaching, the instructor may want his pupil to practice the stroke directly in the pool, or on land itself by going through the motion of the stroke. In certain cases, mock practicing a swimming stroke on land can be very useful, as the pupil has only to concentrate on executing it, and there is no water to be dealt with. Showing videos while explaining the proper technique is also a useful practice.
- Lie on your stomach in the water and position both the arms in front. Move one hand in the downward direction to push the water away. Do it as if you are trying to chase the water with your palm, and keep the fingers joined together.
- Continue to swing the hand so that it passes the thigh and exits the water.
- Let it swing above the head and come in front, till it touches the other hand which then starts its motion.
- While doing this, let the hands be relaxed and not stiff when they enter the water.
- When the hand touches the thigh, turn the head simultaneously and steal a breath.
- It is also important to use the thigh muscles to kick or flutter the legs, so as to aid the hands in gaining momentum through the water.
The backstroke is yet another swimming stroke to add to one's repertory. As compared to freestyle, this one is a little bit harder to execute, which makes it all the more important to learn.
- Lie on your back in the water, and maintain the head in line with the spine.
- Swing a hand in the air and let it pass close by the head. When the hand is immersed in the water, try pulling a hand-full of water to the surface.
- Maintain the hand fully stretched, and let the pinkie enter the water first. The entry point should be above the head and just outside the shoulder.
- When the first hand is about to hit the water, start swinging the other hand to follow the first, so that, at any time, they are at 180 degrees with each other.
- By the time the hand in the water is about to exit, the other hand will hit the water and enter it.
- If the instructions are followed correctly, then the swimmer will end up recovering one hand from the water and pulling the water with the other.
- Use the legs to kick the water away from body.
- The windmilling of the hand through the water, i.e., the speed of the backstroke is controlled by the kick speed.
- It is also necessary to swivel the whole body along the rotating arms. The shoulder of the pulling hand must be slightly above the pool while rotating the arm.
- The shoulder of the recovery arm must be maintained at the surface of the water.
- Take a breath when a hand enters the water, and exhale when it enters the water at the start of the next cycle.
The breaststroke is an exhausting stroke, where the swimmer has to use his hand and leg muscles a lot.
- Get into the water and float by assuming a slightly tipped-up and down-forward position.
- Keep the legs close together, and hold the hands close to the chest.
- To execute a breaststroke, bring the legs toward the chest, kicking them away from the body in one motion and squeezing them closer.
- Remember to move the feet away from the body while executing the kick, to displace more water.
- This makes the swimmer glide through the water, and he can control his direction by pointing his toes and extending his arms.
- Let the glide continue for a moment, and then turn the palms outward.
- From this position, pull with both of your fully-extended hands in and around circular sweep, till the palms, once again, are close to the chest.
- While executing the sweep of the arms, use the momentum gained to raise the head above the water and take a breath.
- With the lungs full of air, submerge the head under the water, and repeat the process for the next cycle.