Grades 3,4 & 5 (NPTS 5,6,7) Progressions into FLY

Grades 3,4 & 5 Progressions into FLY

A new intake.

I’m certain we’re getting them to younger: it feels that way. Starting to swim lengths at 7 & 8 is better than starting a 9 & 10. We want the able ones competing for the club at 8 & 9 which means they can dive, & tumble turn & swim all the competitive strokes like a competitive swimmer.

I share my first session with TJfwho is an assistant teacher. I’m happy to explain what I am doing as I go through a series of tests, the warm up then drills.

I’m delighted with the quality of swimming from all of them. High elbow on FC, Straight arm recovery on BK, long flutter kick, BR would not see any of them disqualified, they struggled with half a length of Butterfly though. I asked who their teacher had been because I’m not used to getting some conformity in a group, not the consistent standard. It was AJf. Brilliant.


Progressions into FLY

Dolphin action on deck
Dolphin lengths/widths
Kick on Back (KOB)
Kick on Front (KOF)

I stuck with the kick at this Grade as with a new intake a) I didn’t want to rush it and b) believe that their first of impression of me will last, we had to do some fun things too.

Demo on side of pool
Walk along trying arm action
4 or 8 kicks 1 pull

FLY into BC

As the space ‘behind the boom’ was free I used this shallow water for a some of the following. They find it all a bit of fun, which is fine. I’ve learnt having done this for several years and with these drills for a year, that over a period of weeks there will be significant improvements.

Progressions into the FC Flip Turn

Streamline Jumps
Jump & somersault
Push-off & somersault
One-arm extension & flip
Plus 3 strokes, plus 3-count & flip
Feet on wall
12.5m out FC with flip turn
12 mins

None of this either this time. Once they had fins on we repeated many of the kicking drill and did some fun dolphin too.

All of this will have to wait another week too.



One arm


Both in deep-end
Both with legs crossed in deep-end
Vertical twist

I make notes on each of the swimmers. The batteries in the digital recorder are dud so I added some notes to the register sheets instead – these will be an immediate aide memoir when I take these groups again in a weeks time. No good to me here as we’ve started a system of handing registers in at the end of the morning to keep in a box poolside.

So who did I have today?

I’ll write up a profile based on the child’s swim over 25m/50m for FC, BC BR with an attempt at FLY or Dolphin kick. We’ll do a push & glide into each strokes, and dives: sitting, kneeling & standing (sometimes from the block). In addition there will be confidence/skills assessments with handstands, somersaults, jumps from the block & surface dives.

This collection of activities allows me to assess quickly the latent potential of a child. It does not surprise me when a child who swims this level, showing confidence, balance, control & fluidity in the water progresses quickly through the teaching Grades to Mini-Squad. This can take only six months, or possibly a year. Those I scout are invited to a weekly one hour skills advancement session (that is free).

All of AJf’s group show this potential. I hope I will be able to progress them as a group and once I lose them to another teacher to invite them to this additional session so that there is continuity in their development.

After the session I spoke with two parents a mother, then a father. I was able to offer them a thorough profile of their child and suggest ways that the club can advance their skills. Turning up often and regularly is the key. Time spent with the different teachers is valuable as they have a different approach to everything. What we need is even more water time so that swimmers could swim three or more times a week – this is what I was able to do in a micro-club.



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