Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How to Teach a Child to Swim Properly

Henry and Tate are such little water babies. We swim in our backyard nearly every single day after school and definitely every weekend (basically from March through October). I want to continue to support Henry's growth as a swimmer (as long as he wants to; there's no reason to push him during his free time). 

I did a little research to figure out how to best teach young children the freestyle stroke. I wasn't able to find one amazing, comprehensive resource, but was able to piece together a few things, and this will be my approach:

  1. Use a child-size kick board to teach him how to properly kick: long, extended legs and loose with fast kicks (being carefully not to bend his legs too much). Chin should be kept in the water. Here's a more thorough description. I can say things like "fast kicks" and "small and fast" to cue him about proper form. 
  2. Then I'll teach him the "arrow" pose for swimming across the width of the pool without taking a breath: hands extended above the head with arms over the ears.
  3. Then I'll teach "catch-up" arms. 
  4. Then add in the breathing! 
During my research, I came across the most amazing website that has free step-by-step lessons with videos and lesson plans. I highly recommend it! http://uswim.com

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Katie Zaback said...

As a swim teacher and coach for years I'd say you have the perfect plan! Let me just add my secret to breathing! Bobs tons of them! If he aims for 25-30 every time he's in the water it will get him comfortable with the rhythm of breathing which is the hardest thing to develop! Even though they seem easy they make a huge difference I always required my early swim team kids to do 50 bobs every time they got in the water. Also, catch up stroke with the kick board is a great addition.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thanks for chiming in, Katie! So helpful!

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