When trying to improve your swimming technique for front crawl, there are several fundamental elements that are necessary to achieve an efficient stroke. Neglecting just one fundamental part of the proper front crawl technique can result in a domino effect, further interrupting other important elements of the stroke. Here are the fundamental basic elements of performing a sound swimming technique for front crawl.
- Maintain a strong kick. It might seem off-putting to first consider your legs when discussing a swimming technique with the word "crawl" in it, but maintaining a strong kick while swimming front crawl lays a great foundation for the rest of the stroke. Always use a flutter kick when you are swimming front crawl. To try the flutter kick, take a seat on the side of the pool and extend your legs straight out. Make your legs parallel with the bottom of the pool and point your toes directly away from your body. When you lift one foot up, bring the other one down. Rapidly repeat this motion, creating the appearance that your feet are "fluttering." The flutter should be tight and quick rather than big, slow and inefficient. Don't bend your legs more than a 20 or 30 degree angle, but make sure you bend them enough to achieve some resistance to propel yourself.
- Arm motion. The arm motion while swimming front crawl is the most important part of the stroke's technique. the arm motion involves both arms alternating taking strokes through the water. Your arms alternate reaching above your head. One arm should be above your head and the other will be at your side. As you bring the arm above your head down through the water, keep your fingers together to form a paddle shape and pull through the water along your side until your arm is by your hip. As you pull that arm down toward your hip, lift the other arm that is at your side out of the water and up above your head. As you pull this arm above your head, keep your elbow high in the air as if making the shape of a shark fin, and brush your hand near the surface of the water. Repeat this process indefinitely and you are performing the front crawl arm motion.
- Breath to the side. To properly swim front crawl, your face should spend more time in the water than out. In order to accomplish this without drowning, you will need to learn how and when to breath to the side. When you need to breath, turn your head directly to the side. Turn your head so one ear is pointing straight down to the bottom of the pool and the other ear is pointing straight up at the sky. Take your mouth out of the water just enough to get a breath and immediately put your face to a forward position back in the water. Take a breath anytime you need one when your arm is pulling through the water and is on the side you are going to take a breath. It is common to breath in a particular pattern. For example, taking a breath every other stroke.
- Keep your body relatively straight. When swimmers first learn to swim front crawl, they have a tendency to wiggle their torso back and forth. This is problematic because pointlessly exerting energy moving from side to side is inefficient. Instead, the majority of your energy should be expended with front to back motions. Focus on keeping your head perfectly still except when you are turning it to take a breath. When you reach above your head, extend your arm so it is fully extended and this will help minimize how much your torso can wiggle. To revisit a very important element of swimming front crawl, remember to always maintain a strong flutter kick, as this will make it more difficult to improperly bend your torso from side to side.