In the following video you will see how well children between 5 and 6 years of age can swim. Samu has attended 2 swimming lessons per week since he was 4 months old and has a home pool. At almost 6 years of age, Samu’s fine motor skills are developing rapidly and you can see that he is starting to combine the various swimming skills required to swim with a good freestyle technique.
Develop a powerful kicking
If you want to achieve good freestyle technique it is vital that the child has a powerful kick. We can develop this kick early by using kicking in our warm up activities with physical manipulation from the swimming teacher or parent.
Build breathing skills
If a powerful kick is developed it is simple to add the breathing skill. In the early stages it is most important that the child learns to combine kicking and breathing on the left and right sides. The swimming teacher can even instruct their swimmers from the pool deck and have them kick and breathe looking to them. Here the swimming teacher can even provide swimmers with feedback by giving hand signals as they breath. With regular practice, repetition and an insistence on perfection children will become comfortable breathing on both sides. It is natural that children will develop a favoured side to breath and you can also observe this in competitive swimming.
Learning breathing timing
In the video you will see Samu performing ‘High Elbow Drill’. But don’t be confused by the name, this drill is actually used to teach the timing of breathing. When first introducing this kickboard drill we isolate one arm at a time. Once again we can have the child pull and breathe to the swimming teacher on deck. By always looking to the same side as they pull and breathe the child is learning to breathe both sides as they circle the lane. The swimming teacher is in a position to provide good feedback to swimmers and there is no confusion with the left and right for young children. With patience, persistence and perfection, very soon you will have developed fantastic freestyle technique with young children.
- Teach slowly
- Insist on perfection
- Make the lesson fun
- Develop a love of swimming