“ If you can do four rotations, which kids love to do, you can do anything in the water. All the strokes depend on the ability to rotate in one plane or the other so rotations should come first."
Four simple rotations are the foundations for all swimming movement and essential for water confidence. They are: rolling from back to front and front to back, in both planes. If you can do them, you can do anything in the water. All the strokes depend on the ability to rotate in one plane or the other.
Watch kids playing in the water and you'll see a lot of rotating. Water gives them the freedom to move in new ways. A favourite activity, related to rolling from back to front, is diving down to pick something up from the pool floor or to swim through someone's legs.
Mums and dads love to see their kids expressing freedom and confidence in the pool. But in children's swimming lessons there's often an adult agenda for strokes to be mastered. 5 to 7 year olds will happily spend hours exploring underwater, swimming through hoops, or learning to make new shapes with their bodies. But the moment a movement that looks like a formal stroke is introduced, they tend to glaze over, or disappear under the water, as if trying to tell us something.
Kids learn feel for the water through play. It can be difficult to get them to see the point of learning strokes because they like to find their own way of getting about. And the idea of swimming up and down would seem to be nonsensical to them...until we train them otherwise.
Adults are generally the opposite. Adult learners would like to be able to swim up and down with reasonable ease and control and tend to go straight for this goal, usually with some difficulty. More adventurous activities that come so easily to playful kids seem scary and impossible. They might lead to a sense of disorientation, or water going up the nose (problems which kids, incidentally, never seem to get), so seem best avoided. But we shouldn't avoid them.Don't focus on the strokes too early
The secret of teaching kids might be, if not leaving them alone, following their creative lead and guiding them when they don't know how to do something they want to do and the secret of being an adult learner or teacher might be to learn from kids. Don't focus on the strokes too early, in other words.
If you want to be more confident in the water or if there's something awkward about your strokes, remember... rotation, rotation, rotation!
Here's how to do the four rotations, in adult terms:1. Roll from back to front by letting your bottom sink and knees bend and dropping your face into the water to look at the floor. Open out on to your tummy.
Also see: Floating Foundations/ Floating is a Feeling / Control Freak? Can't Swim? / Being Vertical For a Change / On Your Back / Letting Go of 'Sinky Legs" / Sink or Swim? / He Ain't Heavy / Rescued, Learner Lost with Woggle at Leisure Centre / To The Wall
And on teaching children: Don't Pass It Up, Pass It On / Play Comes First But What Next? / Kick Kick Kick / 360 Front Crawl / Need for Speed / Rotation Rotation Rotation / In At The Deep End, Sink or Swim
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“In these posts we want to encourage anyone who'd like things to be easier in the water. You may be a non-swimmer struggling to trust the water, an improver trying to understand how the strokes work, a recreational or fitness swimmer who tires easily, perhaps with aches and pains, or a swimming teacher looking for a different approach. Two questions running through this blog are: What is it about being in water that makes us happy and benefits our health? Where does our focus need to be, to enjoy these benefits?
If you find a post helpful, see the links underneath it to others with similar themes. Oh, and if you're on Facebook, please click 'Like'."Ian and Cheryl Cross - Swimming Without Stress