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Please ensure you have a safe space when practising at home. Leave enough space around you and remove any objects which may create hazards. Remember these drills are intended for dry land practice, not in the water.

You’ll be kicking goals in the water in no time with this exercise on kicking technique.

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Why teach kicking?

As young swimmers move towards swimming strokes in the pool, a key part of effective technique is in kicking. Correct kicking technique will provide propulsion for swimmers as they move through the pool, and also reduces drag meaning they can swim for longer.

 

Before you start…

Remember these pointers for correct kicking technique. To help picture it, think of it as being a similar action to walking on land.

  • Use a whole long leg action – kick from the hip!
  • Point your toes
  • Floppy ankles

 

Skills – Practice kicking technique at home

These skills are suitable for kids aged 3+ years old

Many young swimmers bend their knees to much when kicking.  This creates a lot of drag as the legs sink low in the water. This exercise will help swimmers get into the habit of keeping long straight legs as they kick in the water.

  1. In a seated position, slowly move legs up and down. Be sure not to bend your knees, keep your toes pointed, and relax your ankles.
    Equipment – Chair
  2. As you kick, keep your legs quite close together. Your big toes should brush past each other.
  3. Once you’ve started, you can gradually increase your kicking speed, ensuring your technique stays the same.
  4. Parents can help by manipulating legs to keep kick under control. When manipulating legs parents should let the calves lay in the palms of their hands and have thumbs on the shins.
  5. Now move to a bed or a couch, lying on your back or your stomach with your legs hanging over the edge. Practice your kicking technique as if you were swimming through the water.

 

Extension – Ankle Rotations

An additional part of aiding propulsion in kicking technique is mobility from your ankles. This simple warm-up exercise is great for promoting mobility and flexibility in your ankles.

  1. In a seated position, extend your legs out just like the exercise above.
  2. Instead of kicking, rotate your right ankle in clockwise circles.
  3. Now repeat, this time with your left ankle.
  4. Repeat steps two and three, this time rotating in an anti-clockwise circle.
  5. Once you’ve got the hang of this technique, try rotating both ankles at the same time.

Please ensure you have a safe space when engaging with these activities at home. Active adult supervision is advised at all times.

Before you begin practicing this exercise, make sure your child is comfortable with submerging their face in the water. Refer to our activity sheets on Blowing Bubbles, and Readiness for Submerging your Face in the Water.

One of the fundamental skills we teach our little ones is breath control. This is a key part in helping infants becoming familiar with water in any environment, including at home. It also helps prepare children before their first time submerging their face or head in the water.

Once children are confident putting their face in the water, it is important to develop extended breath control. This means children will be able to swim underwater for longer periods in a way that is safer and more comfortable.

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Skills – Help your child learn extended breath control

These skills are suitable for kids aged 3+ years old

Once your child is comfortable having their face in the water, you can move on to this counting activity at bath time to develop extended breath control. You can also switch this activity up by reciting the alphabet and asking children to put their face under the water until they reach specific letters.

  1. Using the bath at home, have children lay on their tummy.
    The water in the bath should be at a level where children are comfortably able to keep their head above water, but should cover their ears when they put their face in the water.
  2. While the child has their head out of the water count to 10 together
  3. Ask your child to put their face under the water until as you count the number one
    Remember, the child should be blowing bubbles while their face is in the water
  4. If they are comfortable, ask your child to put their face in the water until you count to two
  5. Repeat step four, increasing the count one at a time until you reach 10. Before each submersion, ensure your child is comfortable.
    Tip/Trick – Let the children be in control by asking leading questions: “What number can you reach?”

Once children reach a certain level of time they are comfortably submerged in the water, let your teacher know so they can work at this level in class.

 

Benefits of learning extended breath control

  • Easily incorporated into daily bath or shower routine
  • Parents will also develop a better understanding of their child’s breath holding capacity during this activity
  • May reduce trauma or panic in the event of an accidental submersion
  • Allows children to begin the early stages of independent swimming
  • Builds confidence and self-awareness when in the water.

 

Extension

As your child gains confidence in the water and is able to achieve extended breath control, this extension will help them prepare for independence in the water. Instead of lying flat in the bath, have children support themselves in the water as they practice this exercise.

  1. Gradually increase the amount of water in the bath
  2. Children put their hands on the bottom of the bath so their chin is on the surface of the water
  3. Once hands are on the bottom of the bath and chin is in the water the hips and legs will naturally become buoyant in the water and rise towards the surface of the water
  4. Ask the child to put their face into the water for a specified amount of time
    Remember, the child should be blowing bubbles while their face is in the water.

Please ensure you have a safe space when engaging with these activities at home. Active adult supervision is advised at all times.

 

Download our activity sheet to print and easily follow along at home.

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Skills – Readiness for Submerging Your Face in the water

Suitable for Children aged 2+ years old

One of the first key skills we teach young children at Kingswim in our Learn to Swim program, is the development of water confidence and how to feel comfortable submerging your face under the water.

This activity can be daunting to young children at first, as the sensation of being under water feels unnatural to them.

The best way to help them be confident in submerging their face is with gradual steps and lots of practice and encouragement.

Make it fun, your child will learn to love the water!

 

Before you start…

1. Firstly make sure your child is comfortable blowing bubbles in the water. Take a breath and dip mouth in and blow bubbles to exhale out. Refer to our Blowing Bubbles Activity Sheet

 

2. Feel comfortable having water poured down their face. This can be done during bath time games using cups or a toy watering can to tip water onto their head and trickle down their face. If they are not comfortable with this at first, try using a facecloth to cover the face and then pour the water over, eventually moving the facecloth away.

If your child is still not comfortable get them to hold the face cloth and pour the water over themselves. The more control they have, the more comfortable they will be. It’s always good to demonstrate the activity yourself too. Join in the fun and as your child can see it is safe to do, they will be more likely to try it too. 

The more they get comfortable having water poured down their face add more and more water.

You can also get your child comfortable with water on their face by giving them showers.

Tip/TrickTeach your child to blink the water out of their eyes instead of rubbing.

 

3. The next task to be ready is teaching your child how to hold their breath.

 

Skills – Help your child submerge their face in the water (Bath time exercises)

Tips before you start

  • Never trick your child or force them to put their head under the water. It needs to be a fun experience.
  • Keep each session short and simple. Maybe try 3-5 attempts.
  • Be patient and take things slowly.
  • Don’t pressure your child to do each step or rush through them.
  • Children learn off you so modelling the new skill is a very powerful way to teach. So show them each step.
  • When you are teaching your children to put their head underwater, ensure you are always within arm’s reach and keep a close watch on what they are doing.
  • Most importantly have fun and finish each attempt with a positive experience.
  • Remember that when your child has mastered the art of submerging their face, they will enjoy it so much that they will be forever bobbing up and down in the water and will spend more time under than on top.

 

Steps

1. Kiss the water

Get your child to bend down and kiss the water and come back up

 

2. Hold their breath and put their mouth under the water and back up

Get your child to take a large breath, hold and dip their mouth under the water and back up. If they are struggling, you can try cupping some water in their hands first and dip their face in their hands or start off with chin dipped in, then try an ear, then forehead and eventually full face.

 

3. Try submerging other parts of the face

Next try getting your child to dip their cheek, then ear, nose and move on to forehead in the water and back up.

 

4. When submerging your face in the water gradually increase the length of time 

When you think your child is ready encourage them to put their face in the water for a few seconds and come back up. Increase the time as they get more confident.

 

5. Hold breath and then blow bubbles

As they get more confident at putting their face in, increase the time under the water gradually by getting them to hold their breath and blowing bubbles.

Please ensure you have a safe space when exercising at home. Leave enough space around you and remove any objects which may create hazards. To avoid injury, do not undertake any exercise that causes discomfort or undue stress to any area of the body.

Download our activity sheet to print and easily follow along at home.

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Why it’s important to warm up

It’s important for more advanced swimmers to not only practice swimming technique, but also complete some exercises to improve their physical fitness.

Aside from improving general health and fitness, warming up with dry land exercises also helps swimmers before training in the water as it increases blood flow in muscles, which helps to prevent injury.

 

Exercises

Suitable for children aged 10+ years

Below are some simple exercises from Swimming Australia for children aged 10 years and up to complement their swimming skills practice.

Start with 10 repetitions of each exercise, increasing by small increments over time – to a maximum of 20. Make sure anytime you perform the exercises you are performing them correctly and without discomfort to avoid injury.

When doing these exercises, remember to breathe. Don’t hold your breath!

While these exercises are designed for warming up before training sessions, they can also be done at home to maintain fitness.

 

1. Skipping

  • Equipment – Skipping rope
  • Use the skipping rope for 5 – 10 minutes

 

2. Dead bug

  • Start by lying flat on your back with your arms straight above your head and legs straight with your toes pointed
  • Keep a strong abdominal position and don’t let your back arch up
  • Raise your right arm and left leg up toward each other
  • Lower them to the starting position and repeat with the opposite side

 

3. Lunges

  • Whilst you are standing tall, take a step forward
  • Lunge forward with your leg until the thigh is parallel to ground and lower your back knee to the ground
  • Return to a standing position
  • Repeat on the other side

 

4. Knee push-ups

  • Lay down horizontally with your hands on the ground, in line with your shoulders
  • Push up whilst keeping your knees on the ground
  • Keep your upper body straight and strong
  • Lower down so your upper arms are parallel with the ground

 

5. Supermans

  • Lie flat on your stomach with your arms straight out above your head, head in a relaxed position and your legs straight with pointed toes
  • Raise your arms and legs off the ground slightly, pressing up into streamline with the arms and shoulders, and making the spine as long as possible
  • Hold this position for 3 – 4 seconds
  • Make sure you don’t over extend your lower back

 

6. Cobra to child

  • Begin by lying flat on your front with your hands flat on the ground, in line with your shoulders and your elbows pointed upwards
  • Gently lift your head and slowly push your upper body into an extended position
  • Move your upper body back so your bottom is on your heels, keeping your hands in place and dropping your chest between your shoulders
  • Return slowly to the original position

 

Benefits of warm up exercises

  • Improving fitness
  • Increasing blood flow and preventing injury
  • Helps to prepare swimmers mentally for a strong training session

 

Extension

Full Push-Ups

1. Lay down horizontally with your hands on the ground, in line with your shoulders

2. Push up with weight on your toes

3. Keep your upper body straight and strong

4. Lower down so your upper arms are parallel with the ground

Please ensure you have a safe space when engaging with these activities at home. Active adult supervision is advised at all times.

 

Download our activity sheet to print and easily follow along at home.

Download Now

 

Why teach blowing bubbles?

Blowing bubbles through the mouth is one of the most basic foundation skills of learning how to swim. It is an important safety skill that teaches children breathe control. Knowing how to properly let go of air under water helps a swimmer relax, be confident in the pool and eventually be able to swim without struggling.  More importantly, learning to blow bubbles and control breathing, prevents water from getting up the nose!

Studies have also found that toddlers and babies who learn to blow bubbles at an earlier age, also learn to speak sooner.  So teaching your child to blow bubbles, has many benefits.

 

Skills – Help your child blow bubbles at home

These skills are suitable for kids aged 2.5+ years old

Teaching a child to blow bubbles is a skill you can easily do at home during bath time. As you make it fun, your child will learn to love the water! Depending on the age of the child, you can start with the technique that feels most appropriate.

 

1. Blow an object in the bath

This can be done sitting in the bath or lying on their tummy

Equipment – Light ball, floating plastic toy, etc.

 

2. Blow bubbles through a straw

This can be done in the bath water or simply use a cup of water

Tips/Tricks – When using plastic straws they can be cut down in length so that children get progressively closer to the water – always supervise kids when using straws.

 

3. Blow bubbles through a bubble wand

This can be done either:

1. Sitting up in the bath using a bubble blower wand and blow the water

2. Lying down in the bath using a bubble blower wand and blow the water

Equipment – Bubble wand.

 

4. Blow out a candle

This is a fun one! Kids love to blow out a candle on the birthday cake

 

5. Blow on to the back of their hand

This gives your child the feeling of the air on their hand and gives them the idea of exhaling air as they blow.

 

6. Blow the water

This is perfect for children who are a little scared of the water. With this activity we are teaching them about blowing bubbles to make the water move. Show your child it’s fun by demonstrating yourself that it is fun and safe for them to do.

 

Benefits of learning to blow bubbles

  • It’s Fun!
  • Helps build confidence for transition to face in water
  • Laying on tummy may help transition to pop up breath technique
  • Helps to develop breath control and build into breathing pattern required for stroke development.

 

Extension

As your child gets more confident at blowing bubbles try getting them to first kiss the water with their lips and then start to dip their chin in the water until their mouth is covered (not their nose) during bath time and blow bubbles in the water. The mouth should form an O shape as if blowing out a candle.

Please ensure you have a safe space when practising at home. Leave enough space around you and remove any objects which may create hazards. Remember these drills are intended for dry land practice, not in the water.

 

Download our activity sheet to print and easily follow along at home

Download Now

Why focus on your breathing

Focusing on your breathing is a fantastic exercise to improve your swimming. This skill is introduced in K4-K5 at Kingswim, and is an essential skill for intermediate swimmers to continue to practice.

Breathing is very important in swimming and this skill helps to control your head position, ensuring you have a streamlined stroke.

Steps

  1. Swimmers – lay flat on your tummy on the edge of couch or bed. Lay on the couch or bed so that your preferred breathing arm is on the outer edge.
  2. Extend both arms out in front of you and start in the eyes down position.
  3. As your preferred breathing arm starts to pull downward, turn your head to the side and breathe in (with your ear resting on your shoulder).
  4. With your head in the breathing position, continue to push your arm all the way back until your thumb touches your leg.
  5. Raise your elbow, with your hand hanging in a relaxed position, thumb in line with the tip of your elbow (scarecrow arm).
  6. Maintain your scarecrow arm position as you begin to move your arm forward.
  7. Lead with your forearm as your arm moves forward.
  8. As your hand moves past your face and eyes, turn your head to the face down position and exhale.
  9. Continue to move your arm forward in front of your shoulder until it is straight.
  10. Exhale and blow your bubbles
  11. With both arms straight out in front of you and your head down, pause in this position for three seconds before repeating these steps
  12. Repeat this around 10 times.

 

Remember

  • Don’t lift your head – turn it.
  • Don’t look forward.
  • Make sure your thumb pushes all the way back to your leg.
  • Once your thumb has touched your leg, focus on lifting your elbow up nice and high to make a scarecrow arm, your hand should be relaxed.
  • Make sure your scarecrow arm has:
    • high elbows with your fingers down
    • hand hanging loosely from elbow
    • thumb should be in line with the tip of your elbow
  • Breathing – exhale slowly!

Please ensure you have a safe space when exercising at home. Leave enough space around you and remove any objects which may create hazards. To avoid injury, do not undertake any exercise that causes discomfort or undue stress to any area of the body.

 

Download our activity sheet to print and easily follow along at home.

Download Now

 

Why it’s important to warm up

It’s important for more advanced swimmers to not only practice swimming technique, but also complete some exercises to improve their physical fitness.

Aside from improving general health and fitness, warming up with dry land exercises also helps swimmers before training in the water as it increases blood flow in muscles, which helps to prevent injury.

 

Exercises

Suitable for children aged 10+ years

Below are some simple exercises from Swimming Australia for children aged 10 years and up to complement their swimming skills practice.

Start with 10 repetitions of each exercise, increasing by small increments over time – to a maximum of 20. Make sure anytime you perform the exercises you are performing them correctly and without discomfort to avoid injury.

When doing these exercises, remember to breathe. Don’t hold your breath!

While these exercises are designed for warming up before training sessions, they can also be done at home to maintain fitness.

1. Skipping

  • Use the skipping rope for 5 – 10 minutes
  • Equipment: Skipping rope

 

2. Half squats

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Keep your arms out in front, a tall back and put your weight on your heels
  • Squat down till your thighs are horizontal

 

3. Two arm push

  • Attach the band securely to something around shoulder height
  • Step away to tension the band with hands at shoulder levels
  • Press both arms forward, keeping your hands at shoulder level, making sure you keep a strong core position
    Equipment: Resistance band

 

4. Two arm rows

  • Attach the band securely to something around shoulder height
  • Step away to tension the band with hands at shoulder levels
  • Pull your arms back from a fully extended position to where your elbows are at 90°, making sure you keep a strong core position

 

5. Front plank

  • While lying horizontal on the ground, have your shoulders and elbows at a 90° angle, with your forearms on the ground
  • Push up onto your toes
  • Hold your position for 30 seconds, ensuring you maintain a flat body, with your head and neck in a neutral position in line with the body

 

6. Cobra to Child 

  • Begin by lying flat on your front with your hands flat on the ground, in line with your shoulders and your elbows pointed upward
  • Gently lift your head and slowly push your upper body into an extended position
  • Move your upper body back so your bottom is on your heels, keeping your hands in place and dropping your chest between your shoulders
  • Return slowly to the original position

 

Benefits of warm up exercises

  • Improving fitness
  • Increasing blood flow
  • Preventing injury
  • Helps to prepare swimmers mentally for a strong training session

 

Extension

1. Full squats

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Keep arms out in front, a tall back, and weight on the heels
  • Squat down as far as you can, maintaining a strong back position
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