10 Step Guide – How to better your Front Crawl Technique
Many people use this swimming stroke to help with cardio & fitness. It is by far one of the more popular strokes you’ll see used at the pool and it definitely one of the most recognisable.
Do you watch other people swim length after length while at the pool and wonder how they can do this so effortlessly? Well there is a secret to it… It’s all about technique.
Today we’re going to the top 10 points to help you improve your technique.
- Even before you even enter the pool its worth doing a little research on proper technique. The front crawl stroke is made up of many movements all put together.
These movements can be broken down and practiced/drilled both in & out of the swimming pool.
- Before you jump in the pool, take a couple of minutes to focus. Think what you wish to get from the session and set your goal. This could be the amount of laps you wish to do, a specific time per lap or whether you will focus predominantly on your stroke and elbow technique. Use visualization techniques so you can see what it is you are trying to achieve from each session.
- Warm up. It’s always worth taking a few lengths to get focused and into the swing of things before you start your training session. Warming up will ensure you’re in the correct mindset so you start your training on the right foot.
- A lot of the front crawl technique is about breathing. Do you breathe every 2, 4 or are you bi-lateral. Whichever you choose to do practice and drill this technique until it’s second nature.
The best practice for optimal performance is to breathe bi-lateral. You do this by turning your head to the side every third stroke and breathing in through your mouth. When turning to breath you face should be facing the opposite way to the stretching or pulling arm. Your ear should be touching this arm. When breathing I personally find it best practice to turn my head so that my cheek is resting on the surface of the water slightly looking over my shoulder.
- Your position in the water is extremely important. Your position in the water will largely be defined by you head position. This position dictates how streamline you are while swimming and guess what, the more streamline you are the faster you are. Maintaining this streamline position will ensure you are gliding as efficiently as possible through the water. Mid stroke your head should be flat and you should be looking down and forward
The water line should be touching you forehead anywhere between your eyebrows and your hairline. Maintaining this technique will help you a lot when swimming distances. Having a head position either too high or low can put additional strain on your neck and shoulders and make it hard to swim.
- Your arm technique should always alternate and stay continuous in order to keep your body moving at a constant speed. Maintaining this technique will ensure efficiency throughout your training session. Using your stretching/ reaching arm your hand should enter the water in the center line of your head and shoulder.
For me, i like to extend my arm and reach as far as possible before my hand enters the water. Ensure while bringing you arm up and over your head that it is in the correct position. If you find you are not doing this correctly you must make this a priority and drill this technique.
During your overhand stroke when your hand enters the water it should be palm down and slightly arched this will give you the best surface area with which to pull your arm backwards.
This stroke technique over time will help you build strength, stamina and endurance.
- Make yourself streamline! Keep your body as flat as possible and as close to surface as you can. When your body is parallel to the water it creates a streamline position, which is paramount to an efficient front crawl technique. Maintaining this streamline position decreases your resistance in the water.
Keeping a strong consistent posture while in the pool is your key to success. Your legs should be just below the water and extended as much as possible. When your body is fixed in this position it makes it so much easier for you to concentrate on your arm and kicking technique.
- The kick is king!! The stronger your legs are the more propulsion you will have to get you from one side of the pool to the other. There are two parts to the kick technique, the upkick and the downkick.
To do the upkick effectively you need to start with a relatively straight legged position with your knees bent slightly in the downwards motion as your foot approaches the surface of the water.
For the downkick of this technique, you’ll need to straighten up your leg as it moves towards the bottom of the pool when your kicking from your hip. The majority of your effort for this kick technique should be coming from the down kick and you should be more relaxed for the upkick.
Keep your toes pointed and your ankles relaxed at all times, kick harder and accelerate through the down kick to generate maximum propulsion, this power should be coming from your hip.
- After each session it is important to evaluate how well you think you have done and make mental notes of areas you can improve. Slight adjustments and improvements over time lead to big changes and improvements long term.
Training regularly and practicing these drills will ensure your success.
- Using training aids will speed up your progress this is a give. For me I like to use hand paddles, which help me to better my technique as well as helping to build should and upper body strength.
To build my legs and help with endurance I use a short blade swim fins. Use these swim fins in the pool to really practice your kicking technique, and remember to break this technique into two parts the upkick and the downkick.
Finally for ultimate concentration to help me with both my kick & stroke technique and head position I use a front snorkel. This allows me to keep my head in the water and maintain the correct position while I take my time to drill my arm and feet positions while in motion.
So that my top 10 tips to get you started, it’s now your turn to do some research take on board these tips and turn them from theory into practice. So hit up your local pool, lake or beach and get going now.
If you liked this please be sure to share it.