Joining Up the Dots

Draw, label or name the following:

  • Long axis or long centre midline balance line
  • Short axis or short centre balance line
  • ‘Centre’ of Gravity
  • Common Centre or centre area of Buoyancy
  • Hip width
  • Shoulder width

BEGINNERS: SING…..♪♫♪ “Head shoulders knees and toes.. knees and toes
 Head shoulders blow your nose… blow your nose
Splash your Ears and eyes and mouth and nose.. Head shoulders knees and toes.. knees and toes♪♫♪

REACH arms above your head – out to the sides- in front…palms down and palms up….

DANCE…the Macarena…hands on shoulders, sides of the head, stretched in front, on both hips…but swimmers don’t circle the hips like that!!!

See Learning to Ride your bicycle (Static and Dynamic BALANCE)


There is one other useful ‘line’ of reference when looking at swimmers in the water:


It is of course always level and horizontal…

We can use it to assess HEAD and BODY POSITION… ”high” or “low” in the water. (“one ear one eye in the water to breathe on front crawl” “ears just in the water for backstroke” “hips/tummy etc up” “don’t dive down deep” for Breaststroke and Butterfly…

So we need to regularly observe our swimmers from the side…

Remember that STREAMLINING is all about reducing resistance and drag.

Efficient and effective Push, Glide and kick practice is all about keeping within the body width….

When arms and legs move outside the body width in the water, they meet increased resistance and drag…

Creating waves and turbulence increases drag and resistance

FINALLY…. think of the swimmers body as so many movable segments’…which are connected but which can twist, bend, jack knife, ‘snake’, swing, drop.
A stable, aligned and ‘firmly connected’ body is more efficient and economical in the water. Think Kayak…
Legs connected to hips …to torso (abdomen and chest) and shoulders…arms …. Head and neck. Lots to control and coordinate and for teachers to watch…
See Learning to ride a bicycle

NOW try the following ‘Association’ task. What concept or idea matches or is relevant to the action, practice or idea in the main column?

Use these concepts and references…..there is often more than one…and write the letter in the right-side column:

  1. Long body centre line or axis
  2. Short body mid- line or axis
  3. Centre of Buoyancy
  4. Centre of Gravity
  5. Body Width
  6. Alignment of body segments
  7. Streamlining
  8. Resistance and Drag
Description, concept, or practiceABCDEFGH
Front crawl and Backstroke are ‘rotation strokes’ 
If a swimmers’ legs begin to drop they may end up with a vertical body position. 
One of the reasons why Front Crawl is the fastest stroke 
In Breaststroke and Butterfly there is some rise and fall of the body position 
When beginners first try a mushroom or tuck float they often ‘rock’ forwards and backwards before stabilising. 
In front crawl the face is in the water with the eyes looking down and slightly forward. 
When beginners are first learning to float on their back they often suddenly ‘sit up’ and then sink 
Recreational Breaststroke is usually swum at a pace where resistance and drag have less effect on the swimmer’s aspirations. It is different for competitive Breaststroke. 
Dolphin kicking under water at the start and after turns is often referred to as the ‘Fifth Stroke”. 
Asking developing swimmers to push and glide from the side on the front and then effect a ‘stop’ by rapidly adopting a head up star float . 
A great assessment activity for beginners is to perform a sequence of the three classic face down floats on one breath, holding each shape for 5 seconds. 
When a confident swimmer takes a big breath and relaxes their whole body they often end up almost vertical with just their face clear of the water and looking to the ‘sky’