Caring is the first point of communicating with your swimmers. They will incorporate your teaching points more easily and effectively if they believe you genuinely care about them. It has been said that 93% of communication is non-verbal, and we do know that tone of voice and body language matter a great deal.
In addition to modeling good character for your swimmers, swim teachers should always use language that is civil and communicates the utmost respect.
Children learn through repetition and feel most secure when things remain the same. Like in parenting, consistency in rules and expectations across the teaching team are a must.
Avoid ambiguity in your corrections. State what you want the swimmer to do simply andclearly. Avoid sarcasm and abstract concepts, especially with young children who are concrete thinkers.
To help be clear, make sure your communication is not overly wordy. Short, sweet and to the point is always best.
Teachers should give a directive to the swimmer, something the teacher wants the swimmer to do.
The teacher’s comment also needs to be correct. It is critically important to Identify the largest error and make the adjustment that will most help the swimmer perform the skill better.
When performing a dolphin kick, it is very important to keep your feet together. This creates a larger surface area to move more water thus making the kick more powerful and efficient. One common mistake is over emphasizing keeping the feet together which causes the rest of the legs to separate due to rotating the feet inwards (pigeon toe). It also causes tension in the ankles which limits the natural range of flexibility. Having relaxed flexible ankles is essential for an effective kick. To fix both of these problems, focus more on keeping your inner thighs together (pretend you have an elastic band around your thighs). This will cause the rest of the legs below to “zip up” and your feet will naturally come together.
The majority of the power in dolphin kick comes from your core. But you can only use this power if the hips are doing the majority of kick through a body wave motion. If you limit the mobility of your hips, then your kick is going to have to come from bending the knees. Bending your knees on the upbeat only creates resistance as your lower legs become vertical essentially blocking any water flow moving past your legs. So keep your legs long and use your hips and glutes to power the upbeat kick before you power through the downbeat. Keep in mind, some bend will occur naturally in the knees on the down beat due to the resistance on the top of the feet! Happy kicking!
Check out this video from SwimTechniqueTV for a great reference!