First is Breath Control:
While the process of breathing comes naturally when above water, underwater is a different story. When teaching breath control the most important concept is bubbles. When trying to take a breath it is important that we exhale first. Blowing bubbles underwater is teaching the kids to not be afraid of releasing air when swimming. The last thing we want is a kid holding their breath an unable to get a good breath when popping their head up to breath.
Swim Consists of 3 Basic Principles:
Second is Body Position:
Body Position is extremely important. Without correct body position, it will literally become impossible to swim in the future. It is important to introduce young swimmers to the correct way to position their bodies on both their front and back. Start with the hands on approach. For front floats, let the child float in a T-position if comfortable underwater and secure your arms around their shoulders if not comfortable, allow them to use your arms as security. Remind them to blow bubbles. On the back either sandwich hold them, or use the hand position show in the image above.
The Third Step is Buoyancy:
Buoyancy is the most a vital component of swim. It is the reason humans can even float at all and learning it is crucial in order to swim correctly. However, to float correctly it is important that the child already has an understanding of the first two concepts of breath control and body position. Correct body position and understanding of slow and relaxed inhaling and exhaling in the water, will allow a child to develop their buoyancy. Once buoyancy is master only then can the student learn to propel themselves.
Learning the correct kick is also very important. As demonstrated to the left, you see what is an example of a perfect kick. Many children begin with a bicycle kick. A way of correcting this is by adding fins and having the student kick with a kick board. In a perfect kick the leg should be straight and power coming from the hip all the way down to the foot. The toes should also be pointed away from the body. To help kids visualize what they are suppose to do, I call their legs pencils. Then, I encourage them to not break the pencils and get hands on if required to keep the legs straight. It is best to practice some kicks at the wall or step so they can learn the form.
The legs contain the most powerful muscles in our bodies so it makes sense that the process of kicking is the main power behind swimming. A proper kick can make swimming much easier and less tiring. It is important to always warm up your kicks before proceeding to swim. To the left you can see a picture of some students warming up using a kickboard.