Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise you can do. It’s excellent for your mental and physical health, and it’s great fun, too! Swimming regularly gives you a great cardio workout. It also lowers your blood pressure, reduces your levels of stress and anxiety, and helps you sleep better at night. All in all, it’s a wonderful way to achieve a greater feeling of health and wellbeing in your life.
For those who are new to swimming, however, it can take a while to get into your stride – or your stroke! As most people choose to swim freestyle, we have put together this simple guide to freestyle swimming for beginners. We have covered all the basics to help you learn freestyle swimming, and set you up for a lifetime of enjoyment in the water.
How to swim freestyle for beginners
When you learn freestyle swimming, there is a lot to remember. But, once you get more practice, these things will become second nature to you. Here are our essential freestyle swimming tips for beginners that will have you swimming freestyle well in no time!
1. Swim regularly
It goes without saying that you can’t get better at something unless you practise often. Swimming is no exception. If you want to improve your freestyle swimming technique, you should aim to swim at least twice a week, preferably more.
This can be a lot easier if you have your own pool in your backyard. This way, you can fit your swimming in around your own schedule rather than having to fit in with public pool opening times. It also gives you the opportunity to learn freestyle swimming in the privacy of your own backyard so you don’t have to feel embarrassed!
If you are a beginner learning to swim, and you’re considering investing in your own pool, there are plenty of options when it comes to sizes and shapes of pool, so you should easily be able to find the right choice for your property and your needs.
2. Structure your swimming sessions
Every time you get into the pool, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. This means giving a structure to your practice sessions. For example, you could start off by swimming 200 metres to warm up, before concentrating on your arm movements or working on your kicking technique. Choosing a particular part of the body to concentrate on in each session is a good idea as it makes sure your entire body can work together to produce a much stronger freestyle swimming technique overall. It is an also way how to secure a perfect swimmer´s body shape.
You can finish up your session by swimming laps in perfect size lap pools to put into practice the techniques you have learned that day. Make sure the end of your session is gentler to help your muscles warm down.
3. Work on your breathing
Freestyle swimming for beginners can be daunting because the breathing technique does not always come naturally. It can be tempting to swim with your head too high, or lift it too far out of the water when you need to breathe. This is counterproductive because it puts a lot of strain on your neck and shoulders if your head is too high when you swim. It also slows you down and makes you tire more quickly.
Instead, you should aim to keep your head low in the water, and only tilt it slightly to the side to take a breath. Try keeping one of your goggles in the water instead of both of them coming out when you raise your head to breathe.
Also remember that you don’t need to breathe on every stroke! Try to aim for one breath every three strokes so you are breathing on opposite sides each time. This ensures that both sides of your body are taking equal strain.
4. Keep your strokes efficient
Using too many strokes to get from one end of the pool to the other is a complete waste of energy. You will tire yourself out too quickly and not be able to swim so fast. You should aim to swim a lap with as few strokes as possible – when you become a more proficient swimmer, you should be aiming for less than 20.
The trick is to travel as far as you possibly can with each stroke. Use your arms and hands like oars to propel you through the water. Stretch your arm as far as you can with each stroke, and make sure your hand is flat to pull as much water as possible. Your fingers should always enter the water first, and they should be outstretched and held together to create a smooth stroke. Only start your next stroke when you start to slow down from your previous one.
You can also help yourself along by letting your torso do some of the work. This should be tilting into each stroke so your back muscles and your abs can give your body more power to push through the water.
5. Get your kicking technique right
Many people tend to kick too much when they start swimming. This can actually hold you back instead of helping you along. Your legs are among the heaviest parts of your body, so if you are constantly kicking, you are burning unnecessary energy and slowing yourself down.
The correct swimming kicking technique for beginners is gentle. Try not to worry about it too much when you’re starting out – you will gain far more from getting your head position and your arm strokes right. Once you have perfected these things, you can start working more on your kicking technique.
One thing you need to remember is that a good kicking technique comes from the hips. Some swimmers kick from the knees. This results in your knees being bent, which can slow you down considerably when you’re swimming freestyle. Instead, your legs should be straight, with the leg muscles taut. Your feet need to be loose so they can act like fins and give more momentum to each kick. This will propel you through the water much more effectively than kicking too fast or too much.
6. Take it easy!
When you start swimming freestyle, it can be an exhilarating feeling. You’re full of enthusiasm, and you can’t wait to get into the pool and start burning off some energy! This means a lot of new swimmers make the mistake of swimming too fast.
If your aim is to learn how to swim freestyle more competently, swimming too fast will do you more harm than good. You need to be able to spend enough time in the pool at each session to improve the swimming of all the different aspects of your technique. If you start off too fast, you won’t have enough energy to take you through the whole session. This means you’ll have to leave some of the learning until another day, and your overall progress will be slower.
It is also essential to start each session gently to give your muscles a chance to warm up. If you put too much strain on cold muscles, you can end up with cramps. This is something you definitely want to avoid!
Find out more about freestyle swimming for beginners
At Compass Pools Australia, we’re passionate about encouraging a lifelong love of swimming. We regularly update our blog with articles about all aspects of swimming and pools to help you get maximum enjoyment out of the sport.
If you are thinking of investing in a pool and you’re serious about swimming, check out our lap pool range. And of course, if you would like any help choosing the perfect pool, our expert team at your local Compass Pools dealership will be glad to advise you!
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