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Teaching Swimming Dynamically and for Understanding

All my children were taught to swim. The coaching was direct instruction with practice style tasks requiring replication of coach prescribed movement patterns. Recently, I watched a youth swimming lesson on my travels in the US. It too, involved direct instruction of specific movement requirements, and was pretty much the same as the hundreds of swim teaching/coaching sessions that I have observed in school, club, and at 'swim school'. In this recent session, I observed the coaches telling students to modify their freestyle arm movements from straight arm in the recovery phase. Janet Evans did a pretty good job with straight arm recovery. I wondered what was informing the coaches ideas of what concepts were right for the students. The session had no obvious concept in focus, and appeared to be no more than 'lap work' to reinforce 'stroke mechanics'. However, across the squad I was observing, the youth swimmers had two common problems that the coaches were not p…

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