In a couple of years, we will all be watching countries competing against each other in a variety of swim competitions for the 2016 Summer Olympics. So now is a perfect time to start teaching your children basic swim strokes to help them understand what happens in swim competitions as well as provide a great way to exercise and become stronger swimmers. There are four basic swim strokes to teach your children.
The Crawl, or Freestyle
This is the most popular swim stroke that most of us are use to. Basically, you float belly-down while propelling yourself by moving your arms in a windmill pattern and simultaneously kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge of this technique is developing a breathing pattern by turning your head to the side occasionally between strokes.
One advantage of the backstroke is that your face is not in the water. On the other hand, it’s hard to see where you are going! Floating on your back, you propel yourself using a similar windmill motion as the crawl, just in reverse, as well as kicking your legs in a fluttering motion. The challenge here is propelling yourself with equal force from each arm to keep from veering off course and running into other swimmers or the wall.
As your child becomes a stronger swimmer, you can move up to more advanced swim strokes such as the Breaststroke and Butterfly. The Breaststroke is an involved technique where the body bobs up and down as you propel forward. The arms begin basically in a prayer position in front of the chest, moved forward and then to the side and back to thrust forward before being brought back to the original position. The leg kick is similar to the way a frog kicks in the water which is probably the simplest way to describe it. This stroke takes a lot of coordination and practice before your child will be comfortable performing it.
Strength and timing are key here. Starting face down, the arms are rotated together in a windmill fashion while the legs and feet should stay together, kicking in a motion reminiscent to a dolphins tail. The trick is to undulate the body in a motion to maximize the effectiveness of the arm and leg movements while being able to take a breath by raising your head between strokes. This stroke takes a long time to learn and perfect, so encourage patience when your child is learning this stroke.
Of course if you don’t feel comfortable teaching your children these techniques we highly encourage you to enroll them in lessons.
Here is a short video that demonstrates the swim strokes we’ve discussed here: