Swimming requires a set of skills which can only be built over time by different practices. A swimmer who swims with correct technique can travel in water with his/her body as close as possible to the surface of water. Swimmers need to do variety of drills and practices to learn the correct technique of different strokes.
Some skills (we call them ‘fundamentals’), should be taught correctly and practiced regularly at every session to make sure more complex skills could be learnt properly. Without learning the fundamentals correctly, learning four competitive strokes (Front crawl, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly) and performing important aquatic skills like sculling and treading would be a great challenge (if not impossible).
Good swim teachers pay a great deal of attention to teaching the fundamentals of swimming.
In swimming you want to keep the body as close to the surface of water as possible. Swimming is all about keeping the whole body in balanced position on the top of water as you travel forwards or backwards. So, everyone has to learn how to have a streamlined body in order to swim with a good technique. Streamlining and gliding are the basic skills of swimming but, so fundamental and important that have to be practiced regularly.
It simply means a swimmer learns how to stay as flat and compact as possible in a horizontal position (like a pancake) AND as close as possible to the water surface.
It means travelling through the water without any movements from arms, legs, torso or head (i.e, no kicking or no paddling). Streamlining and gliding should to be taught correctly from the beginning stages of a learn-to-swim programme and they need to be practised regularly at all levels. This helps swimmers with their efficiency.
Not doing enough of streamlining and gliding practices, specially when learners are at the early stages of learning to swim, can result into inefficient stroke development and bad swimming habits. Bad habits that swimming teachers get to see very often are lifting up the head out of the water (rather than turning head to the side) during side breathing when swimming front crawl or taking a breath when swimming breaststroke in an uncoordinated fashion and out of synch with arms and legs.
Because we are so keen in teaching our swimmers to swim with correct technique, right from the beginning, in our swimming lessons, we regularly do drills which work on streamlining and gliding.
In our lessons, we include pushing-off (using the wall or the bottom of the pool) and gliding practices regularly and spend a great deal of time on improving and correcting every swimmer’s body position during practices.
If you are interested, you can now see how we do ‘Push and Glide’ (using a hoop) in our lessons: