What Should I Practise with My Child?

For parents, it can be difficult to know what to do if you choose to practise swimming outside of the formal lessons. After all, if it was easy, you probably wouldn’t be sending your child to lessons in the first place. With 20 years experience teaching swimming, we notice a trend that children who manage to find time out with lessons to swim, progress quicker than those who turn up once per week. Furthermore, practise allows children remember water safety points we actively teach.

Of course, it’s not always easy to head to the pool with all of the other activities on. If you do manage, then your child will begin to put into practice what they have been learning in our lessons. We like to compare it to taking music lessons. It’s hard to expect good progress without regular practise out with the normal weekly lesson!

If you head to the pool, here’s what you can work on and how:

Bubbles

Why bubbles?

When swimming, a steady constant exhalation should occur when your face is in the water. This will allow a natural intake of air, when you turn or lift your head to breathe. At a young age, children need to form the habit of blowing bubbles when their face is in the water. It then becomes a natural process to exhale when swimming.

How Can My Child Practise?

This doesn’t always need to be done at the pool; you can even practise this in the bath. One of the easiest ways to teach your child how to blow bubbles in the water is to ask them to hum underwater. Naturally, this will cause them to blow bubbles. You can also have fun with straws. The key is to always make sure it’s a gentle stream of bubbles, and not an explosive exhalation.

Rocket Arms

Why rocket arms?

In swimming, when you push off the wall, you should always aim to be in the most streamlined position possible. This is so that you can travel further underwater, which is the fastest part of the length. The rocket arms, or streamlined position, is also useful when practising kicking only, as you will be able to cut through the water easier.

How Can My Child Practise?

Again, this doesn’t necessarily need to be done at the pool. However, the pointers our teachers use are ‘squeeze your ears’ and ‘stretch’. If your child does both of these, they should be in a solid, streamlined position. Why not have fun a see how long your child can float on their back or front with rocket arms?

Long Legs

Why long legs?

When kicking, the majority of power comes from the upper part of the leg. At lessons, children often have the temptation to ‘kick from the knee’ which results in a cycling-like motion. This becomes inefficient and will waste energy, leaving the arms to do all the work. Therefore, it is important to kick with a relatively straight leg and the knee should bend naturally.

How Can My Child Practise?

You can begin by getting your child to lay on their back on the floor. As them to perform a small kicking motion and observe their knees. Are they lifting up? The knees should only flex, as a natural part of the movement of lifting your leg from the ground. As your child if they can lift their leg up from the upper part, and see if they notice the difference. In the pool, your child should aim to keep their knees in the water. If they break the surface, then they know that they’ve probably not kicked with long legs!

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