The last few weeks I’ve been teaching a parent at class while training new staff. It’s giving me some insight into why we do the things we do.
Why are we spending so much time on body position and how to hold the child?
During swim lessons why do we spend the majority of the lesson time doing glides and streamlines? We devote almost 70% of a lesson to body position and finding the “line.”
Over the weekend I went to a swim meet to help with our age group coach. I spent the mornings watching elite swimmers that had come through our developmental program (many from swim lessons), and remembered how important body position and spinal line is for swimming.
We devote the majority of our swim lesson time to body line and positioning because it is the first, fundamental skill that swimmers need to do any of the strokes well.
While “going underwater” might be the bulk of our instruction to beginners within in the 0-5-year-old ages, after they’ve grown comfortable submerging we do glides, glides, and more glides. We demand an ever-flowing torrent of glides and streamlines to bake into the cake for their swimming a long body line that holds a lengthened position during their movement.
I’m reminded of Richard Quick’s “Posture Line and Balance” book where he details through images and drills the best way to achieve champion success in competitive swimming.
Teaching the parent tot class on weekends reiterated how important body line Impostor is even for infants. For those families and parents that are more comfortable in the water, they already naturally keep their shoulders and waters they can get on I level with their babies.
It’s important to flatten babies body so that it can more naturally feel what it’s like to glide to the water in a streamlined position.
As we move through our level I which is focused on going underwater we utilize the same handholds for from Floatsam back fonts designed to support the child’s body without damaging their ability to get into a good body line on their own.
Even as we continue to level II and Level 3 the bulk of our swim lesson time is focused on streamlines from bench to bench or streamlined followed by swimming.
Utilizing short distance training combined with endurance distance like kicking in 25’s with fins we’re giving our swimmers an opportunity to build a habit of a long narrow body emphasizing the “line.”
From freestyle the Backstroke, butterfly to breaststroke, we always aim for that long body line stretched out in the position11.
At the end of this article and going to detail some of the activities we do for position11, for streamline, and some of the challenges that get your swimmers in that position.
All of our swim lesson plans and skill sheets aim at the singular concept: through good body posture find the line.
We know that by doing that as our swimmers will succeed and more easily be able to move through the water manipulating their arms through any of the four competitive strokes.
For Swimming Ideas, Finding the line and maintaining good body posture is crucial for the success of our participants.
How do you incorporate “the line” into your lessons? Comments in the space below
Dryland – Partner Posture around posture
Create small groups.
One person sits on the floor with great back posture and legs crossed.
Partner puts finger on their head, and walking with excellent posture moves around the person on the floor two times.
Switch. Increase speed or make walker do more challenging things like SL or 11.
Partner Pull Position 11
One person bends at the waist and the knees extending arms forward.
Partner grabs wrists and pulls forward slightly, while lifting to horizontal.
Goal is to get back flat and arms flat like doing a standing position 11.
With two hands on the horizontal line of the + (mark on the wall), do 20 Flutter kicks staying underwater in position 11.
3x SL + Position 11 for 5 kicks + 1 FR
Streamline with freestyle kick. At the surface transition from streamline to position 11. Continue kicking for 5 kicks in position 11.
Continue kicking and do one arm stroke of freestyle. Leave other arm in position 11 place.
Game – Streamline Push
Create partners or groups.
One person floats on their back or belly in streamline.
Other person holds their feet. When they’re ready, the person holding the feet pushes using hands and feet on the wall to “Push” the streamline as far as you can go.
The winner is the “streamline” that gets the farthest without kicking, moving, or breathing.
Dryland – Grow into Streamline
On deck have everyone squat to the floor. Do 3 – 5 times. Tiring.
Keep the back as straight as possible.
Put their hands on their head like the picture.
Stand into streamline.
“Grow from a tiny sprout into a tall reaching streamline.”
Face straight ahead (looking down)
The goal here is to establish a habit of going from hands on the head to streamline immediately and teach how it feels to push off the wall in streamline.
What are the 3 things for streamline we’re working on?
1) Lock Thumb
2) Look Down
3) Squeeze Ears with elbows
Standing on Deck, demonstrate and say it.
Dryland – Start into Streamline
This is a great activity to practice a start without having a block or deep enough water.
Begin folded over your hips with feet aligned like doing a start on the blocks or the edge of the pool.
Coach says, “Take your mark, Go!”
When the swimmer hears “Go,” then they lift their hands quickly into streamline attempting to keep their back flat, and their head squeezed by both arms.
BONUS with partners:
Have one person stand in front of the starting person’s head. When the coach or someone says “go,” then hold their hand above where you think the hands should reach, low enough to keep the back flat.
Partner holds their hand above the same level as the top of the person doing the “start’s” hips.
The swimmer doing the start keeps head low and hits their partner’s hands in streamline as fast as they can.
Dryland – Streamline Roll
Find a partner. Lay on your backs foot to foot. Heads away from each other.
Get in Streamline position.
Roll together in the same direction for 1 full roll, or 2.
Feet must remain connected, and bodies should roll together to earn a “success.”
Fail when feet fall apart, streamlines fall out, or when one body turns but the other doesn’t.