Freestyle swimming for beginners and improvers, part two of three stages concentrating on arms

Freestyle swimming /introduction

Freestyle swimming / front crawl takes some practice and dedication, it takes some upper body strength and stamina it is one of the most commonly used and taught stroke. I would say it is harder to learn if you are an adult and you can't swim at all. I would strongly recommend that if you are a complete non-swimmer that this is not the stroke to learn as your first swimming stroke. You would be much better to start with breastroke. I have three pages about breastroke the first page starts with the legs and push and glides the second page teaches you the arms then the third teaches breathing and timing of the stroke. You always learn a new stroke starting with the legs. Freestyle swimming /Click onto this link to go to my first page about breastroke legs When you learning freestyle swimming you need to remember that that the power from the stroke comes from the arms and the legs contribute only about 4-5 percent. This does not mean that the legs are not important they help to keep the body in a streamlined position in the water it also prevents the legs moving side to side as you use your arms (lateral deviation).

When you learn freestyle swimming you will find it is better to swim the stroke with your head in the water, it keeps your body in a streamlined position. I will go through the details with you in later practices but I just letting you know what you will need to do later on. But you will begin with your head out of the water.

You will also notice that the practices I show are intentionally not explained in technical detail this is because I am aiming this page for improvers and beginners who want to learn a new stroke, you can then prefect this by reading my page about freestyle swimming which tells you in a lot more technical detail. Freestyle swimming /if you want to read my page about freestyle which does include the freestyle arms then click onto this link

Freestyle swimming /arms

Let's begin with the movement and the direction of your arms when swimming freestyle, in my demonstrations I will show the arms stood in the water to begin with and later on show the stroke with floats in the full practice. Start with both arms outstretched. See the photograph below to see this.

Now you pull your arm towards your hips with palm facing backwards. Your arm bends at the elbow and stays high. This is the propulsive phase of the arm, do not let your arm go too far out as you pull. this will pull your body side to side. Have a look at the photograph below to see the arm position just after the propulsive phase before the arm comes out of the water.

Then the next point to mention is that you must turn your wrist so that your little finger exits the water first. The reason for this is so the arm has a quick exit as well as releasing the catch as the arm comes out of the water, have a look at the photograph below to see my demonstration. Look closely at this photograph it looks more or less the same as the previous one, but my arm has moved slightly back and instead of my palm facing backwards it had turned with little finger ready to come out of the water. This will release the water and make it easier to flick it out of the water with little or no drag.

The next phase is the recovery over the top of the water, the arm comes out of the water bent with the elbow high over the top of the water keeping the hand flat and angled so that the thumb is ready to enter the water first. See the photograph below.

The last part of the arm action is the recovery of the arms, you have already turned you hand so that it is flat and ready to enter the water. You now must enter the water thumb first and at an angle rather than flat causing a splash as well as loss of momentum. The arm also enters the water between the head and shoulders in front of you with a slightly bent arm elbow still high and entering the water last. Then when the arm is in the water extend the arm fully the rest of the way stretch out your arm as far as it will go, then your back to the beginning.

Practice this arm technique at home or in the pool, when in the pool you can stand in shoulder depth water and do the arms, once you are used of this then you can walk across the pool getting the feel for the stroke keeping your shoulders in the water, do not put your head in at this stage.

Freestyle swimming /one arm one float

Now you need to practice your arms one at a time using a hand float or a kick board. Hold a float in one hand at the end and swim freestyle/ front crawl arms as shown earlier, remembering to kick your legs as well discussed in part one. Keep your head still and above water for now, it will be a little harder to do this without your head in but you need to get used to the arm action before you start then when you start freestyle swimming with your head in you will find it easier. Look at the photograph below to see a demonstration of this.

Thank you for reading I hope it was interesting and you will read on to the next stage Dale Dudley Click here to go to part three of my learning freestyle course


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How are you getting on learning freestryle swimming? Do you have any questions or advice you would like to give to others?

How are you getting on learning freestyle swimming? Have my pages helped you in any way? Is there something missing on my page, maybe there is something you would like me to include but I have not written about it, Do you have any questions? Or maybe you would like to share your experiences with other people so that they can learn from you. Whatever the reason this forum is for you to share your enjoyment of the sport and exchange experiences and learn from each other.

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