When you do streamline like a thousand times, a hundred thousand, then you forget that it can be difficult for beginners to do well.
I work with kids that are transitioning from swim lessons into swim team.
They don’t know how to push off in streamline. What comes naturally for me, now, is totally foreign and different for them. Often times beginners won’t even push off the wall. They’ll start in the streamline position, float, and kick to move.
Yikes! From above when I’m coaching next to them I can’t help but think how inefficient that is! Don’t they know they should push off the wall with their feet, leverage the strength and power there and launch themselves forward?
Obviously, children don’t know these things yet. They need to be taught, allowed to experiment and encouraged to do it well.
A demonstration is best, but we also need to provide image-laden examples where participants get opportunities to do it for themselves.
Here is a good activity and a simple way of saying what you want them to do when you’re teaching beginners streamline.
Take the Elevator Down
Describe going underwater and putting your feet on the wall for a streamline like “Taking the elevator straight down.”
Most beginner swimmers will put their feet near the surface of the water, or not push off at all.
Encourage dropping down first, then rotating so that feet go to the wall, then growing from a “little sprout” into streamline.
I encourage you to take this picture and use it in your lessons or developmental swim team. I do.
I like the idea of “taking the elevator” down to the basement floor because it describes a full up and down motion first. I want the swimmers to sink down before they initiate their streamline. I want them to fully submerge, and 5 and 6-year-olds often don’t understand that concept.
Instead, most beginners will do their streamline on the surface, then dip down making a “U” shape with their traveled path. We want a straight line that slowly, gradually slopes up.
What do you think? How do you feel about “taking the elevator down?”
Can you come up with some challenges (the new swim games) to get swimmers to accomplish this same task through progressive tiers?
Maybe something like this, but for “taking the elevator down:
Falling down for Backstroke
Move through progression:
- Hold wall with both hands, go underwater 3 x keeping a hold
- Hands and feet on the wall, go underwater 3 x keeping feet on the wall.
- Hands and feet on wall to start, 3 x fall under, lay back and put hands on top of head. Get back flat. (see picture)