The main aim of front crawl is to help them breathe to the side, with no head lift. This should be simple- they already know how to roll, they just need to roll less. The key is blowing through the mouth and then nose and creating a vacuum for the mouth when the head turns to breathe. The kids have to acquire the timing of clearing their lungs, just at the right split second to grab fresh air. It’s not easy, the slower they swim the more time they create to think about it. Don’t worry too much about legs or arm/finger action at this point, focus on that critical moment of air exchange.
Timing has to be perfect or they get a nose full of water. You will need to get under the water to check air flow. Have flippers ready for the kids.
Warm Up 5 minutes
Main Theme see below 17 minutes
Contrast 4 minutes
Playtime 4 minutes
Full stroke basic Frontcrawl “Blow, blow back and breathe “
Check underwater for bubbles; ensure there is no head lift on the roll. Spend time recapping if it is needed before moving on. Use the basic front crawl drills.
Full Stroke Frontcrawl “Blow, blow, SIDE and breathe” DEMONSTRATE
Assess the stroke- are they blowing or holding their breath? Is the head still? Is there any sign of head lift? Look to check they are blowing through the nose. If the stroke is good and they can complete a width comfortably, consider progression to Breaststroke.
Bobbing and blowing – going up and down as a group
No arms with flippers Start with rolling all the way onto their back. “Look down and blow bubbles at the fishes”, “roll over for a quick breath” The whole body must rotate with no head lift. “Hummmm as you turn, hummm as you turn back”
Then they can go in waves. Repeat the mantras and check underwater for breath control – bubbles should be constant.
Introduce the lead arm as a progressive practice to imitate the breathing position “superman”, just once.
Reduce the roll until they are rolling to the side with no head lift then add the arms back in.
Full stroke front crawl with flippers, then without – Blow, blow side and breathe “Say hello to your hairy armpit”
“Listen to the fishes, blow bubbles at the fishes”
If there is any head lift then return to basic front crawl drills. The learners have to acquire timing, it can’t be forced on them. They need to understand the importance of staying flat which drives them to develop the skill of exhalation, at the precisely right moment.
To progress from this group they should achieve 100m and Penguin 3&4, demonstrate front crawl, breathing to the side every two arms, maintaining breath control and a flat body position.
Breathing every three, four and five are developed in the butterfly groups and above.
Some teachers use catch up in basic front crawl, thats fine.