Subject Search Bar

Swimming Stroke Correction – Backstroke, Freestyle Exaggeration

The Irony Of Exaggeration in Swimming Stroke Correction

Exaggeration is the key to fixing many swimming faults. Which is ironic because overreaching is one of the main faults and it is an exaggeration in itself.

Image of a swimmer reaching past their center line with their arm. It is called backstroke over reaching and requires some swimming stroke correction
Backstroke Over reaching

For example: a swimmer is doing freestyle, Zig zagging in the water or doing backstroke and Zig zagging. What could be causing it?

The most common cause is over reaching (left) in backstroke and the arm going past the centre of the body whilst doing freestyle.

Defining the Problem

Now sometimes the solution is to tell the swimmer to keep their head still as inevitably they are moving their head in order to accommodate the arm as it extends past the centre of the body. This has the advantage of allowing the swimmer to keep the full extension of the arm and thus maintaining maximum reach and therefor their best efficiently.

However, it is not often that effective, in that most swimmers don't know they are moving their head and therefore have no feedback in order to stop it.

You can, of course, walk beside them on the deck of the pool calling out to them each time they do it and eventually they come to feel it. However, that is not always practical.

The problem often arises when swim teachers have, often quite correctly, instructed their students to bring the hand up past their ear as they have their hand enter the water.

The Idea Behind This

The idea behind this is that it causes the student to fully extend their arm, allowing them to catch as much water with their hand as they can, giving them more water to move and therefore more propulsion. More propulsion means easier flotation (as long as everything else is in the correct position of course) and easier flotation means more efficient movement through the water.

Unfortunately, unless a close eye is kept on the swimmer it is all too common for the student to put so much effort into getting their hand to their ear, they end up overshooting the mark and then it becomes a habit.

Image of a Swimmer with their arm well away form their body to doing their Swimming Stroke Correction
Exaggerated Arm Movement

The Solution I Find To Be The Easiest

The solution I find to be the easiest, as I have already said, is to get the student to exaggerate the movement (Right) in the other direction. The effect is that although the swimmer feels like they are exaggerating the movement their body is so used to overreaching they end up more-or-less in the correct position.

Exaggeration works just as effectively with correcting freestyle faults such as a swimmer overreaching past their head and swimming their arm under their chest past their centre.

You must keep this as a drill however otherwise you end up with the opposite problem: the arm not reaching far enough and not, therefore, catching enough water.

Now take a look at Breaststroke or Freestyle


1 comment:

  1. I was pleased to find your blog on teaching swimming. My eldest started learning last year, and I was pleased to discover a nice checklist his teachers used to examine his proficiency. I took their list and analyzed it using some advanced psychometric methods to help pinpoint his ideal development. I'm giving it away free here, and would greatly appreciate your feedback http://blog.scientificleader.com/2008/11/29/free-swimming-assessment-rasch-measurement-demonstration/