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Learning to swim is an exciting moment for people of any age, and even the youngest child benefits from lessons on how to safely spend time in the water. While swimming is one activity that people with different levels of abilities can learn, new swimmers often face a few challenges when it comes to learning the strokes. These three common stroke mistakes that new swimmers make are all correctable with practice and the help of a professional swim instructor will provide trust to teach this vital life-saving skill.
For many new swimmers, learning how to breathe properly is a challenge. Young children often focus on pulling their entire head out of the water to take each breath. While it is important to breathe while swimming, the sudden upward movement of the head creates strain along the neck and spine that throws the swimmer’s whole body out of alignment. Typically, the head and legs drop down as the head goes up. Once this happens, a swimmer is no longer able to maintain the alignment that they need to perform their swimming strokes properly. In swim lessons, swimmers will begin practicing breathing from the very beginning. Over time, they gradually learn how to lift just their face out of the water to only the point that they need to catch a breath before continuing with their strokes. Once this important skill is mastered, new swimmers can continue to refine their skills by learning advanced techniques such as rhythmic breathing.
Relying on the Upper Body
Many of the most common swimming strokes appear as though the upper body does all of the work. For instance, the breast stroke requires swimmers to thrust forward using their arms, and this is often the most apparent part of the stroke that new swimmers notice when they watch others swim. However, the breast stroke also requires swimmers to use a whip kick that helps propel them in the water and maintain their momentum. Without the important leg work, the stroke is impossible to perform correctly. This same concept applies to all of the other strokes. For this reason, new swimmers need to spend a great deal of time learning how to use their legs along with their upper body to perform the strokes.
Focusing on Finishing the Strokes
Once a new swimmer gets going, they often get so caught up in thinking about what to do next that they forget to finish their first movements. Lifting the hand out of the water too soon results in a loss of energy that affects how powerful each stroke is and how long a swimmer can swim. This mistake is simple to correct since it only requires a swimmer to slow down and be careful to complete each stroke so that their hands function as a paddle that pushes them through the water.
Learning any new skill often involves many mistakes, but the rewards of finding ways to correct them is worth the effort. Whether a swimmer is simply interested in being able to swim better at the local pool or they have a desire to compete, making minor corrections is often all it takes to improve their ability to execute proper swimming strokes.