Warm Up

The Warm Up 

Throughout the swim programme at Shirley Pool, the first 5-10 minutes of every lesson should be very familiar: the warm up. 

It is a set of practices that we introduce at an early stage of their swimming life, and make progressively harder as they move through the levels, eventually making certain skills easier to learn further down the line. 

By keeping the content and order consistent, transition from one class to another is less stressful.

Dolphin Dives – This is the first activity of each lesson, (after the introduction) and is a relatively simple and enjoyable way to start the lesson. Using the simple mantra and focusing the ‘head down, bottom up’ movement, combined with a push off from the bottom, is a great base for learning to dive at a later stage. 

“Can you make your tummy touch the bottom? Imagine you are a Dolphin flying through the air”

Underwater Swimming – Using the previous activity of dolphins dives, they should now be able to submerge themselves and travel through the water below the surface. This practice is great for them to learn how to manage their breath control, and learning the movements needed to maintain themselves underwater. 

Use the lines as targets: “Bronze medal line, silver medal line, gold medal line, Olympic Champion!”

Engage their imagination: “ Like Nemo/superman flying/underwater spy/stingray/James Bond Spy sneaking across/ Slimy fish sliding across the sea bed”

Handstands – This is their first introduction to inversion in the water which is important in many aspects of learning to swim. Arguably the most important is learning to prevent water from going up the nose. The handstand is a fairly simple and fun activity to attempt while focusing on blowing bubbles from the nose, or ‘humming’. It is also useful in mimicking the movement needed to successfully complete a surface dive.

 “ Head down first, bottom up, tuck your legs in, and then straighten. Slowly”

More advanced kids can try and walk on their hands.

Somersaults – Having completed the handstand practice, the learner will be warmed to the idea of rolling all the way over. Check the link for a detailed plan for teaching .  Butterfly level practice full somersaults, Breaststroke will be trying to half tumble and land their feet on the wall, Front crawl are trying to perfect the flip and attempting backwards; backstroke must prove they can tumble unaided while Tadpoles use a nose clip to learn the body and arm movements.

Sculling  – Only Front crawl and breaststroke practice this in the warm up, head first and feet first respectively.

Legs Only butterfly – (Wriggly worms): “Wriggle up & down with your legs glued together, like a mermaid, like a belly dancer”

Recap – Breaststroke will be looking to show good technique in backstroke and front crawl. The FC group will do Blow, blow, back and breathe & backstroke. Always correct poor technique and repeat as needed.