In this post I would like to talk about my favourite swimming drill which is done by combining freestyle kick and breaststroke arms. My friend, colleague and great swimming coach Olga Nikolaeva http://plavanie.info/ introduced me to the drill long time ago saying that this exercise was really useful to warm up brand new swimmers. I adopted it and have been using it ever since.
Why do I like it so much? I would like to give you my point of view.
- As I have already mentioned this drill is suitable for a warm up and is also a really good drill to be used in the main part of the class.
- The arm movements are easy to perform because they are symmetrical, whereas the legs are using an alternating action which is equally easy to perform.
- The leg kick helps the body to stay horizontal and works towards streamlining. A horizontal and streamlined body position is important for effective swimming.
- It is a well-known fact that the freestyle kick doesn’t contribute much to moving forward, but combined with breaststroke arms it is not a tiring activity and it provides momentum.
- This drill allows the swimming teacher to focus on very important elements for the correct swimming technique: body position, breathing and breathing rhythm, correct arm and leg movements which will contribute to efficient and balanced stroke techniques.
The human body craves symmetry and balance. All the muscles in the human body are arranged in pairs and need to be reasonably equal in both strength and flexibility which can decrease the risk of injury or many acute or chronic pains. (Aquatic fitness professional manual/Aquatic Exercise association – 6th ed, 2010)). It may surprise you to learn how many muscles are exercised during this drill if executed correctly.
However the “one size fits all” approach does need to be tweaked to suit each individual student. It is a recognized fact that the people are either right or left handed, which means they have more strength on that particular side of their body, which is unnoticeable on the land, but in the water when performing this drill it can be seen very clearly.
I know from experience that this drill is successful in establish the balance and strength for both sides equally. However, as I mentioned this drill has to be adapted according to each student ability.
During the process of establishing the balance of strength, I recommend attention should be paid to the muscles in the neck and hands to prevent overloading coursed by unnecessary tension and encourage the students to relax these parts.
I hope you will all find it as useful as I do.