Category Archives: Sport

DIP Exercise

The dip is an exercise used in strength training. Narrow, shoulder-width dips primarily train the triceps, with major synergistsbeing the anterior deltoid, the pectoralis muscles (sternal, clavicular, and minor), and the rhomboid muscles of the back (in that order). Wide arm training places additional emphasis on the pectoral muscles, similar in respect to the way a wide grip bench press would focus more on the pectorals and less on the triceps. To perform a dip, the exerciser hangs from a dip bar or from a set of rings with their arms straight down and shoulders over their hands, then lowers their body until their arms are bent to a 90 degree angle at the elbows, and then lifts their body up, returning to the starting position. Short people are able to cope better with a narrower grip, but not with a wider one. Due to natural flexibility in the shoulder joints, it is important to try to “lock” them as much as possible during this exercise. Otherwise, the supporting rotator cuffs may become strained.

Usually dips are done on a dip bar, with the exerciser’s hands supporting his or her entire body weight. For added resistance, weights can be added by use of a dip belt, weighted vest, or by wearing a backpack with weights in it. A dumbbell may also be held between the knees or ankles. For less resistance, an assisted dip/pull-up machine can be used which reduces the force necessary for the exerciser to elevate his body by use of a counterweight. One may also use resistance bands hooked under his feet to help if he lacks the strength to properly perform a dip. In the absence of this equipment, a lighter variation of the dip can be performed called the “Bench Dip”. The hands are placed on one bench directly underneath the shoulders or on two parallel benches. The legs are straightened and positioned horizontally; the feet rest on another bench in front of the exerciser. This variation trains the upper body muscles in a similar though not exact manner as the normal dip, whilst reducing the total weight lifted by a significant amount. This exercise can be done also off of the edge of a sofa, a kitchen counter, or any surface that supports the lifter.

Step DIP:

  1. Find an assisted pull-up/dip machine at the gym. Most gyms with extensive weight sections will have this piece of equipment. It has a platform where you place your knees or feet and weights that can be adjusted to counterbalance your body weight.
  2. Ask for assistance from a gym employee or personal trainer the first time you use this machine. If you are a first time weight lifter, assistance will reduce the likelihood of injury.
  3. Set the weight to approximately two-thirds of your body weight the first time you do a dip. The more weight you use, the less of a challenge the exercise will be. Try out this easier setting while you learn proper form.
  4. Let your arms hang down at your sides and grasp the handles on the dips bars on either side of your torso. The handles are usually covered in rubber for traction. Wrap your fingers around the outside and keep your thumbs on the inside.
  5. Kneel on the platform. If the platform is on the ground, rather than at knee height, it is likely a standing platform.
  6. Form a plank with your body. Imagine you are doing a pushup and you have one straight line from the top of your head to the knees. Lift and flex your stomach muscles inward to keep this strong position during the duration of the exercise.
  7. Relax your shoulders. They should be as far from your ears as possible. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders.
  8. Bend your elbows directly behind you. As you do this, the platform will lower slightly. Bend them until your elbows are parallel with your shoulders, at a 90 degree angle from your forearms.
  9. Pause, and then push your weight into your hands to straighten your arms all the way. Repeat eight to ten times with two to three sets. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
  10. Adjust your weight setting as you get stronger. Reduce the amount of weight by 5 to 10 lbs. as the exercise gets easier. When the amount of weight you use is one-half or less of your body weight, you can move on to bench dips.

Push Up Exercise

A push-up (or press-up) is a common calisthenics exercise performed in a prone position by raising and lowering the body using the arms. Push-ups exercise the pectoral muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids, with ancillary benefits to the rest of the deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis and the midsection as a whole. Push-ups are a basic exercise used in civilian athletic training or physical education and commonly in military physical training. They are also a common form of punishment used in the military, school sport, or in some martial artsdisciplines. In the past this movement was called a floor dip. In the “full push-up”, the back and legs are straight and off the floor. There are several variations besides the common push-up. These include bringing the thumbs and index fingers of both hands together (a “diamond push-up”) as well as having the elbows pointed towards the knees. These variations are intended to put greater emphasis on the triceps or shoulders, rather than the chest muscles. When both hands are unbalanced or on uneven surfaces, this exercise works the body core. Raising the feet or hands onto elevated surfaces during the exercise emphasizes the upper (minor) or lower (major) pectorals, respectively. Raising the hands with the aid of push-up bars or a dumbbell allows for greater ROM (range of motion), providing further stress for the muscles.

Step Push Up:

  1. Assume a face-down prone position on the floor. Keep your feet together. Your weight should be on your chest.
    • Position hands palms-down on the floor, approximately shoulder width apart. They should be about next to your shoulders, with your elbows pointed towards your toes.
    • If you are on a relatively cushioned surface, such as a carpeted floor, you may also support yourself on your fists between the first and second knuckles for a greater challenge. If you are on a less forgiving surface, consider investing in some push up grips, (they look like handles you put on the floor).
    • Curl your toes upward (towards your head). The balls of your feet should touch the ground.
  2. Raise yourself using your arms. At this point, your weight should be supported by your hands and the balls of your feet. Make a straight line from your head to your heels, and contract your abdominals to keep your hips from sagging. This position is called a “plank,” which is used for other various exercises. This is the beginning and the end position of a single push up.
  3. Pick the type of push up that works best for you. There are actually three types of basic push up variations that use different muscles. The difference is where you place your hands while in the plank position. The closer your hands are together, the more you will engage your triceps. The wider apart they are, the more you will engage your chest.
    • Regular: your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders. This works both your arms and your chest.
    • Diamond: put your hands close together in a diamond shape, keep them directly under your chest. This will require you to engage your arms much more than a standard push up.
    • Wide-arm: place your hands a good way’s out from your shoulders. This version mostly works the chest and requires less strength in the arms.

Pull Up Exercise

A pull-up is an upper-body compound pulling exercise. Although it can be performed with any grip, in recent years some have used the term to refer more specifically to a pull-up performed with a palms-forward position. The term chin-up, traditionally referring to a pull-up with the chin brought over top of a bar, was used in the 1980s to refer to a palms-away (overhand/pronated) grip, with a palms-toward (underhand/supinated) grip being called a “reverse-grip” chin-up. In later decades, this usage has inverted, with some using “chin” to refer to a pull-up done with a palms-backward position. In spite of this, “chin” is still regularly used refer to overhand-grip.

The most popular current meaning refers to a closed-chain bodyweight movement where the body is suspended by the arms, gripping something, and pulls up. As this happens, the wrists remain in neutral (straight, neither flexed nor extended) position, the elbows flex and the shoulder adducts and/or extends to bring the elbows to or sometimes behind the torso. The knees may be bent by choice or if the bar is not high enough. Bending the knees may reduce pendulum-type swinging. A traditional pull-up relies on upper body strength with no swinging or “kipping” (using a forceful initial movement of the legs in order to gain momentum). The exercise mostly targets the latissimus dorsi muscle of the back along with other assisting muscles.

Pull-ups (including chins) can be done with a supinated, neutral or pronated grip (often called “chin-ups”, “hammer grip pull-ups”, and “pull-ups”, in order). Grips may match each other or be different (mixed grip). Grips may also rotate throughout the movement, such as by doing them on rings or rotating handles (false grip). The range of motion used by trainers can vary. The fullest possible range is with straight arms overhead (elbow directly above shoulder), to pulling when the arms are at the sides (elbow directly below shoulder). People sometimes only train portions, such as avoiding locking out the arms at the bottom, or stopping when the head/chin/neck touch the bar. Positions within the range are also trained isometrically, as in flexed-arm and straight-arm hangs for time. The width of the grip may also differ. When grabbing and holding the bar during the pull-up, the hands can be apart at shoulder-width, or wider, or narrower enough to touch each other. This may make the pull-up more difficult and may limit the range of motion compared to the shoulder-width grip.

Step Pull Up:

  1. Grip a pullup bar with your palms facing whichever direction you prefer. In general, having your palms facing towards you is most efficient. When you pull yourself up with your hands facing this way, you give your biceps and lats a better workout. Pulling yourself up with your palms out is considered the most difficult way to pull up your bodyweight but also gives deltoids and pectorals a good workout. Start with your arms fully extended.
  2. Pull your bodyweight up until your chin is just barely above the bar. You may have to strain, but keep pulling until you’ve lifted yourself up using your back and biceps.
    • In order to keep your bodyweight centered, you can cross your feet beneath you as you lift yourself up.
    • Remember kicking your feet to gain extra momentum isn’t helping anything.
  3. Lower yourself until your arms are fully extended. Lower yourself in a controlled way to work the muscles harder and prep yourself for the next pull.
  4. Do another pullup. Once your arms are almost extended, start pulling up again. Repeat for as many reps as you can. Don’t let your number of repetitions bring you down; you can only get better. If possible, do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Sit Up Exercise

The sit-up (or curl-up) is an abdominal endurance training exercise commonly performed to strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles. It is similar to a crunch (crunches target the rectus abdominus and also work the external and internal obliques), but sit-ups have a fuller range of motion and condition additional muscles. The movement can be made easier by placing the arms further down away from the head. Typical variations to achieve this include crossing the arms to place the palms on the front of the shoulders and extending the arms down to the sides with palms on the floor. The ‘arms on shoulders’ variation is also used to make the incline sit-up easier. More intense movement is achieved by doing weighted sit-ups, incline sit-ups with arms behind neck and even harder by doing the weighted incline sit-up.

It begins with lying with the back on the floor, typically with the arms across the chest or hands behind the head and the knees bent in an attempt to reduce stress on the back muscles and spine, and then elevating both the upper and lower vertebrae from the floor until everything superior to the buttocks is not touching the ground. Some argue that situps can be dangerous due to high compressive lumbar load and may be replaced with the crunch in exercise programs. Strength exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups do not cause the spot reduction of fat. Gaining a “six pack” requires both abdominal muscle hypertrophy training and fat loss over the abdomen—which can only be done by losing fat from the body as a whole.

Step sit up:

  1. Have your knees bent and the balls of your feet and heels placed flat on the ground.
  2. Place your hands on opposing shoulders, so that your arms are crossed over your chest, or behind your head. This allows you a central rising point.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles gently by drawing in your belly button to your spine.
  4. Keeping your heels on the ground and your toes flat to the ground, slowly and gently lift your head first, followed by your shoulder blades. Focus your eyes on your bent knees, all the while gently contracting the abdominal muscles. Pull up from the floor until you’re at a ninety-degree angle, or when the elbows are on, or past, the knees.
  5. Hold the position for a second. Slowly bring the torso back to the floor but try to keep it slightly elevated off the ground. This means not to place your back flat to the ground but to keep a slight, yet relaxed, arch.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for the remainder of the exercise. Only do two to three if you’re a beginner and slowly build up the amount over time, as your strength increases. Then hopefully you will lose weight, too!

Skill Volleyball

Competitive teams master six basic skills: serve, pass, set, attack, block and dig. Each of these skills comprises a number of specific techniques that have been introduced over the years and are now considered standard practice in high-level volleyball.

Serve

A player stands behind the inline and serves the ball, in an attempt to drive it into the opponent’s court. The main objective is to make it land inside the court; it is also desirable to set the ball’s direction, speed and acceleration so that it becomes difficult for the receiver to handle it properly. A serve is called an “ace” when the ball lands directly onto the court or travels outside the court after being touched by an opponent.

Pass

Also called reception, the pass is the attempt by a team to properly handle the opponent’s serve, or any form of attack. Proper handling includes not only preventing the ball from touching the court, but also making it reach the position where the setter is standing quickly and precisely. The skill of passing involves fundamentally two specific techniques: underarm pass, or bump, where the ball touches the inside part of the joined forearms or platform, at waist line; and overhand pass, where it is handled with the fingertips, like a set, above the head.

Set

The set is usually the second contact that a team makes with the ball. The main goal of setting is to put the ball in the air in such a way that it can be driven by an attack into the opponent’s court. The setter coordinates the offensive movements of a team, and is the player who ultimately decides which player will actually attack the ball.

Attack

The attack, also known as the spike, is usually the third contact a team makes with the ball. The object of attacking is to handle the ball so that it lands on the opponent’s court and cannot be defended. A player makes a series of steps (the “approach”), jumps, and swings at the ball.

Block

Blocking refers to the actions taken by players standing at the net to stop or alter an opponent’s attack. A block that is aimed at completely stopping an attack, thus making the ball remain in the opponent’s court, is called offensive. A well-executed offensive block is performed by jumping and reaching to penetrate with one’s arms and hands over the net and into the opponent’s area. It requires anticipating the direction the ball will go once the attack takes place. It may also require calculating the best foot work to executing the “perfect” block. Blocking is also classified according to the number of players involved. Thus, one may speak of single (or solo), double, or triple block. Successful blocking does not always result in a “roof” and many times does not even touch the ball. While it’s obvious that a block was a success when the attacker is roofed, a block that consistently forces the attacker away from his or her ‘power’ or preferred attack into a more easily controlled shot by the defense is also a highly successful block. At the same time, the block position influences the positions where other defenders place themselves while opponent hitters are spiking.

Dig

Digging is the ability to prevent the ball from touching one’s court after a spike or attack, particularly a ball that is nearly touching the ground. In many aspects, this skill is similar to passing, or bumping: overhand dig and bump are also used to distinguish between defensive actions taken with fingertips or with joined arms. It varies from passing however in that is it a much more reflex based skill, especially at the higher levels. It is especially important while digging for players to stay on their toes; several players choose to employ a split step to make sure they’re ready to move in any direction. Sometimes a player may also be forced to drop his or her body quickly to the floor to save the ball. In this situation, the player makes use of a specific rolling technique to minimize the chances of injuries.

VolleyBall

Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team’s court under organized rules. It has been a part of the official program of the Summer Olympic Games since 1964. The complete rules are extensive. But simply, play proceeds as follows: a player on one of the teams begins a ‘rally’ by serving the ball (tossing or releasing it and then hitting it with a hand or arm), from behind the back boundary line of the court, over the net, and into the receiving team’s court. The receiving team must not let the ball be grounded within their court. The team may touch the ball up to 3 times but individual players may not touch the ball twice consecutively. Typically, the first two touches are used to set up for an attack, an attempt to direct the ball back over the net in such a way that the serving team is unable to prevent it from being grounded in their court. The ball is usually played with the hands or arms, but players can legally strike or push (short contact) the ball with any part of the body. A number of consistent techniques have evolved in volleyball, including spiking and blocking (because these plays are made above the top of the net, the vertical jump is an athletic skill emphasized in the sport) as well as passing, setting, and specialized player positions and offensive and defensive structures.

A volleyball court is 9 m × 18 m (29.5 ft × 59.1 ft), divided into equal square halves by a net with a width of one meter (39.4 in). The top of the net is 2.43 m (7 ft 11 1116 in) above the center of the court for men’s competition, and 2.24 m (7 ft 4 316 in) for women’s competition, varied for veterans and junior competitions. The minimum height clearance for indoor volleyball courts is 7 m (23.0 ft), although a clearance of 8 m (26.2 ft) is recommended. A line 3 m (9.8 ft) from and parallel to the net is considered the “attack line”. This “3 meter” (or “10-foot”) line divides the court into “back row” and “front row” areas (also back court and front court). These are in turn divided into 3 areas each: these are numbered as follows, starting from area “1”, which is the position of the serving player:

After a team gains the serve (also known as siding out), its members must rotate in a clockwise direction, with the player previously in area “2” moving to area “1” and so on, with the player from area “1” moving to area “6”. Each player rotates only one time after the team gains possession of the serve; the next time each player rotates will be after the other team wins possession of the ball and loses the point.

The team courts are surrounded by an area called the free zone which is a minimum of 3 meters wide and which the players may enter and play within after the service of the ball. All lines denoting the boundaries of the team court and the attack zone are drawn or painted within the dimensions of the area and are therefore a part of the court or zone. If a ball comes in contact with the line, the ball is considered to be “in”. An antenna is placed on each side of the net perpendicular to the sideline and is a vertical extension of the side boundary of the court. A ball passing over the net must pass completely between the antennae (or their theoretical extensions to the ceiling) without contacting them.

Badminton

Badminton is a racquet sport played using racquets to hit a shuttlecock across a net. Although it may be played with larger teams, the most common forms of the game are “singles” (with one player per side) and “doubles” (with two players per side). Badminton is often played as a casual outdoor activity in a yard or on a beach; formal games are played on a rectangular indoor court. Points are scored by striking the shuttlecock with the racquet and landing it within the opposing side’s half of the court. Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes over the net. Play ends once the shuttlecock has struck the floor or if a fault has been called by the umpire, service judge, or (in their absence) the opposing side. The shuttlecock is a feathered or (in informal matches) plastic projectile which flies differently from the balls used in many other sports. In particular, the feathers create much higher drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate more rapidly. Shuttlecocks also have a high top speed compared to the balls in other racquet sports. The game developed in British India from the earlier game of battledore and shuttlecock. European play came to be dominated by Denmark but the game has become very popular in Asia, with recent competition dominated by China. Since 1992, badminton has been a Summer Olympic sport with five events: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. At high levels of play, the sport demands excellent fitness: players require aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision. It is also a technical sport, requiring good motor coordination and the development of sophisticated racquet movements.

Each game is played to 21 points, with players scoring a point whenever they win a rally regardless of whether they served (this differs from the old system where players could only win a point on their serve and each game was played to 15 points). A match is the best of three games. If the score reaches 20-all, then the game continues until one side gains a two-point lead (such as 24–22), except when there is a tie at 29-all, in which the game goes to a golden point. Whoever scores this point will win. At the start of a match, the shuttlecock is cast and the side towards which the shuttlecock is pointing serves first. Alternatively, a coin may be tossed, with the winners choosing whether to serve or receive first, or choosing which end of the court to occupy first, and their opponents making the leftover the remaining choice.

In subsequent games, the winners of the previous game serve first. Matches are best out of three: a player or pair must win two games (of 21 points each) to win the match. For the first rally of any doubles game, the serving pair may decide who serves and the receiving pair may decide who receives. The players change ends at the start of the second game; if the match reaches a third game, they change ends both at the start of the game and when the leading player’s or pair’s score reaches 11 points. The server and receiver must remain within their service courts, without touching the boundary lines, until the server strikes the shuttlecock. The other two players may stand wherever they wish, so long as they do not block the vision of the server or receiver.

Boxing

Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves, throw punches at each other for a predetermined set of time in a boxing ring. Amateur boxing is both an Olympic and Commonwealth Games sport and is a common fixture in most international games—it also has its own World Championships. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of one- to three-minute intervals called rounds. The result is decided when an opponent is deemed incapable to continue by a referee, is disqualified for breaking a rule, resigns by throwing in a towel, or is pronounced the winner or loser based on the judges’ scorecards at the end of the contest. In the event that both fighters gain equal scores from the judges, the fight is considered a draw (professional boxing). In Olympic boxing, due to the fact that a winner must be declared, in the case of a draw – the judges use technical criteria to choose the most deserving winner of the bout. While people have fought in hand-to-hand combat since before the dawn of history, the origin of boxing as an organized sport may be its acceptance by the ancient Greeks as an Olympic game in BC 688. Boxing evolved from 16th- and 18th-century prizefights, largely in Great Britain, to the forerunner of modern boxing in the mid-19th century with the 1867 introduction of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules.

A boxing match typically consists of a determined number of three-minute rounds, a total of up to 9 to 12 rounds. A minute is typically spent between each round with the fighters in their assigned corners receiving advice and attention from their coach and staff. The fight is controlled by a referee who works within the ring to judge and control the conduct of the fighters, rule on their ability to fight safely, count knocked-down fighters, and rule on fouls.

Up to three judges are typically present at ringside to score the bout and assign points to the boxers, based on punches and elbows that connect, defense, knockdowns, hugging and other, more subjective, measures. Because of the open-ended style of boxing judging, many fights have controversial results, in which one or both fighters believe they have been “robbed” or unfairly denied a victory. Each fighter has an assigned corner of the ring, where his or her coach, as well as one or more “seconds” may administer to the fighter at the beginning of the fight and between rounds. Each boxer enters into the ring from their assigned corners at the beginning of each round and must cease fighting and return to their corner at the signalled end of each round.

A bout in which the predetermined number of rounds passes is decided by the judges, and is said to “go the distance”. The fighter with the higher score at the end of the fight is ruled the winner. With three judges, unanimous and split decisions are possible, as are draws. A boxer may win the bout before a decision is reached through a knock-out; such bouts are said to have ended “inside the distance”. If a fighter is knocked down during the fight, determined by whether the boxer touches the canvas floor of the ring with any part of their body other than the feet as a result of the opponent’s punch and not a slip, as determined by the referee, the referee begins counting until the fighter returns to his or her feet and can continue. Some jurisdictions require the referee to count to eight regardless of if the fighter gets up before.

Waterpolo

Water polo is a competitive team sport played in the water between two teams. The game consists of four quarters, in which the two teams attempt to score goals and throw the ball into their opponent’s goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins the match. Each team made up of six field players and one goalkeeper. Except for the goalkeeper, players participate in both offensive and defensive roles. Water polo is typically played in an all-deep pool seven feet (or two meters) deep. Special equipment for water polo includes a water polo ball, which floats on the water; numbered and colored caps; and two goals, which either float in the water or are attached to the side of the pool. The game is thought to have originated in Scotland in the late 19th century as a sort of “water rugby”. William Wilson is thought to have developed the game during a similar period. The game thus developed with the formation of the London Water Polo League and has since expanded, becoming widely popular in various places around the world, including Europe, the United States, Brazil, China, Canada and Australia.

The rules of water polo cover the play, procedure, equipment and officiating of water polo. These rules are similar throughout the world, although slight variations to the rules do occur regionally and depending on the governing body. Governing bodies of water polo include FINA, the international governing organization for the rules; the NCAA rules, which govern the rules for collegiate matches in the United States; the NFHS rules which govern the rules in high schools in the USA and the IOC rules which govern the rules at Olympic events.

There are seven players in the water from each team at one time. There are six players that play out and one goalkeeper. Unlike most common team sports, there is little positional play; field players will often fill several positions throughout the game as situations demand. These positions usually consist of a center forward, a center back, the two wing players and the two drivers. Players who are skilled in all positions of offense or defense are called utility players. Utility players tend to come off of the bench, though this is not absolute. Certain body types are more suited for particular positions, and left-handed players are especially coveted on the right-hand side of the field, allowing teams to launch 2-sided attacks.

The center sets up in front of the opposing team’s goalie and scores the most individually (especially during lower level play where flats do not have the required strength to effectively shoot from outside or to penetrate and then pass to teammates like the point guard in basketball). The center’s position nearest to the goal allows explosive shots from close-range. Defensive positions are often the same, but just switched from offense to defense. For example, the center forward or hole set, who directs the attack on offense, on defense is known as “hole D” (also known as set guard, hole guard, hole check, pit defense or two-meter defense), and guards the opposing team’s center forward (also called the hole). Defense can be played man-to-man or in zones, such as a 2–4 (four defenders along the goal line). It can also be played as a combination of the two in what is known as an “M drop” defense, in which the point defender moves away (“sloughs off”) his man into a zone in order to better defend the center position. In this defense, the two wing defenders split the area furthest from the goal, allowing them a clearer lane for the counter-attack if their team recovers the ball.

Swimming Tips For Beginners

This article describes a few basic tips and drills you can use to become familiar with proper breathing technique while swimming. This is useful because when you take up swimming, learning proper breathing technique is often one of the major challenges one faces besides learning how to float.

Basic Breathing Tips

  1. Wear swimming goggles. Without goggles, water gets in your eyes and irritates them. Furthermore, water in the eyes makes you nearly blind, which can lead to anxiety. On the other hand, you have one thing less to worry about when you use swimming goggles. As a consequence you are more relaxed and learning proper breathing technique is easier.
  2. In those swim strokes where you submerge your head, don’t hold your breath but exhale continuously when your face is in the water. If you do this well, your lungs should be nearly empty when you rotate or lift your head to breathe again.
  3. Inhale quickly when your mouth clears the water. This should occur naturally if you have exhaled properly in the water before, as explained above.

Basic Breathing Drills

The following basic drills can be used to get familiar with breathing technique in the water. Wear swimming goggles to practice those drills.

Drill 1: In shallow water, hold your breath, then crouch down so your head gets under water. Stay in that position for a few seconds, then rise up.

Drill 2: Same as drill 1, but exhale under water through the nose so you blow bubbles.

Drill 3: Same as drill 2, except that you now blow bubbles both out of your nose and your mouth.

Drill 4: In shallow water, crouch down until the water surface rests between your nose and your mouth. Now practice inhaling above water through your nose and exhaling under water through your mouth.

Drill 5: In shallow water, submerge your face and blow bubbles through your mouth, nose, or both. Then hold onto the pool edge and try to get into a horizontal position with your face turned downward. Continue to blow bubbles through your mouth and nose. To get into the horizontal position you can use a relaxed flutter kick.

Drill 6: Bob up and down with your body in shallow water. Inhale while your head is above water and exhale while your head is under water. This drill gets you familiar with rhythmic breathing, a skill that will be useful later on when learning the different swimming strokes.

Swimming Tips

  1. Keep your head in line with your trunk and look straight down toward the bottom of the pool. Don’t look forward because otherwise you will have the tendency to lift your head, which will in turn cause your hips and legs to drop and you will have to kick harder to keep them up.
  2. Learn how to press your buoy, which has the benefit of keeping your hips and legs up without much effort. This freestyle swimming technique requires you to apply downward pressure on your head and chest. As your lungs are filled with air and very buoyant, pressing down your upper body causes the lower body to rise up through a lever effect. You then don’t need to kick that hard anymore.
  3. Don’t lift your head just before breathing. This common error also causes your hips and legs to drop. Rather roll on your side and let your head roll a little bit further until your mouth clears the water. It should feel like your head was resting sideways on a pillow made of water.
  4. Try to swim more on your sides rather than flat on your stomach and chest. Roll from side to side with each arm stroke. This allows you to engage the larger back muscles in addition to the shoulder muscles and improves your propulsion.
  5. To obtain an effective freestyle swimming technique you need to exhale continuously in the water while your face is submerged. There simply isn’t enough time to both inhale and exhale on the side during a breathing arm recovery. This also lets you relax more in the water.
  6. Learn how to swim with a so-called high elbow. This freestyle swimming technique consists in flexing your arm and keeping your elbow high in the water during the under water arm pull so that your forearm is facing backward rather than downward for as long as possible, which improves propulsion.
  7. While recovering your arm forward don’t extend it completely above water before letting it drop in the water because it increases drag and can also lead to swimmer’s shoulder over time. It is better to enter the water with your hand shortly after it has passed your head and then to extend the arm forward under water.
  8. Save energy by using a relaxed two-beat kick for middle and long distance swimming. This means that you kick at the same pace as you stroke with your arms.
  9. Make sure your palm is parallel to the water surface while it extends forward under water during the arm recovery. A common mistake freestyle swimmers make is to angle their palm upward at the end of the recovery. In that case they are in fact pushing water forward and slowing themselves down.
  10. In the beginning, a nose clip can be useful because it keeps water out of your nose and so this is one less thing to worry about and you can relax more. Once your technique and coordination has improved later on you will be able to get rid of the nose clip without too much effort. Personally I used a nose clip for a year while learning the freestyle stroke before getting rid of it.