How can we help our children with their swimming skills over summer?
Play! At the stage that most of our swimmers in a 10m pool are at, the best thing we can encourage them to do is have a lot of time in the water and play! If we try and encourage our kids to ‘do your arm circles’ or ‘kick on your back’ etc, chances are they will be doing it incorrectly. We are confident our style of lessons work because we insist on the correct technique for short bursts of time, with constant individual feedback to help assimilate the motor skill in the brain. Swimming is complex to learn and if swimmers swim with poor technique they are more likely to develop and reinforce bad habits.
So the best thing you can encourage is play. If they are playing they are exploring how their bodies move in the water. These are some examples of how playing helps:
· If they are jumping up and down, moving in and out of the water, they are working out how to have a comfortable relationship between their mouths and the water. If a child is not comfortable moving between under water and out of the water they will never get completely comfortable in the freestyle side breathing position. This position is a vulnerable position that many find uncomfortable and unnerving when learning freestyle, however if your child is completely relaxed with water around their mouths and face, this will really help during a difficult stage of learning.
· Handstands – a great progression for learning breath control for tumble turns.
· Forward rolls – the next step after handstands to help with tumble turns.
· Floating shapes – encourage them to float in any position possible. They are exploring how their bodies can be balanced and relaxed in the water. Relaxed muscles, float. Tense muscles, don’t. Floating is a very important skill; if swimmers can balance in the water, when swimming freestyle they can use their arms and legs just for propulsion.
So go and have some fun in the water with your kids! Be safe and enjoy:)