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3 Common Freestyle Flip Turn Mistakes

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Therefore, if the radius of the mass is shortened or decreased, the angular velocity must increase accordingly, for a given energy in the system. The smaller and tighter the tuck, the faster the rotation goes. Making the effort to bring the knees closer to the chest and creating a tighter ball makes a huge difference in the speed of getting the feet on the wall.

The fastest way to get the feet on the wall is straight over the top with the toes pointing toward the surface. Adding a little twist or rotation to the body during the flip just costs more time. There is no need to do that.

Correcting Your Body Position in Freestyle

All of the rotation back to the stomach can occur during the underwater phase after the push off the wall. So long as the body is kept in a straight line, the rotation of the body during this phase will not slow the swimmer down. The George Bovell Style I also like to teach swimmers to have one foot slightly higher than the other when planted on the wall, something I learned from watching Olympian George Bovell. I am not certain how much of difference it makes, if any, but it feels more comfortable to me that way.

Undoubtedly the most common mistake being made on the flip is what the swimmer does with the arms underwater. As the legs come over the top, swimmers use the force from their hands pulling downward overhead in the water to help get the job done.

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By the time the feet are planted on the wall, most swimmers have created a small to large bend in the elbows in an effort to gain more leverage for the flip. Unfortunately, they are now in a bad situation.

They can either delay the push off the wall until their arms are back in the streamline, or they can push off the wall in this non-streamlined shape and straighten the arms as they go. Either way, they lose. Then, when the feet hit the wall, there is no need to delay the push off the wall and the arms are nearly in the streamlined position.

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We believe that the correct body position is one of the most important features of our teaching. I have always felt that the head position is the key focal point in correcting body position. In freestyle, for example, when the head is lowered by looking down, the hips rise to the surface and the body alignment is improved.

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While most of the swimmers we have taught do not have the correct head position, it is likely due to the habit of swimming defensively in practice when they look forward, keeping an eye out for a wandering swimmer. We must then trust that everyone else in our lane is swimming on the correct side.

Once you get smacked in the head by an unwary swimmer wandering over to the wrong side of the lane, you will feel much safer looking forward, hoping to prevent another mishap.

Unfortunately, by doing so you will swim more like a barge than a submarine. Getting the head down is relatively easy for us to do with our swimmers. After a few drills and some practice, they quickly realize that they can swim easier and faster with their heads in the down position. Not only does that technique straighten the body, but it also enables the head to get underwater during the fastest point in the stroke cycle, the so-called surge point. In other words, a swimmer pays a huge penalty for having the head above water at the surge point.

It is as if the head were made out of cork. Once we get it down, we turn around and look back and it pops right back up again. Old habits are hard to get rid of.

Or perhaps we have been focusing on the wrong part of the body in trying to get the correct position. The typical posture of a swimmer is to have a lot of flexion of the upper back, the thoracic spine kyphosisand to have a lot of extension of the lower or lumbar spine lordosis.