Basic Movements and Connections

I was thinking the other day when I was swimming, what is the basic movement skill of swimming? Yes the core is important, arm position – yes, the kick yes. Someone commented that is common to segment to teach and refine the swimming stroke. I understand that and the need for that at certain times, but isn’t it more basic than that? How about floating? Every year when I visit Michigan at the start of the season I watch Jim Richardson take his swimmers to the diving pool, put front snorkels on so they can keep their head in the water and breathe. Then they work on floating. They play, experimenting with what happens when you move one arm out, raise your head. They quickly realize how connected the body is and how one small movement at one end of the body has a profound effect somewhere else. It is very elementary, very basic but the foundation for all the strokes. Each sport has foundational elements as the basis for advanced technique. After watching volleyball practice the other night, I know I am going to work on opposition and fundamentals of throwing with some of the freshmen. Throwing is a root skill, spiking a volleyball is an advanced skill.


At 3/26/08, 5:59 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Great post as ever.

Moving away from sport as such, any thoughts on how we apply these thoughts to everyday life? What are the basic movements that we need to train for daily function, especially as we get older?

At 3/26/08, 9:45 PM, Blogger Trihardist said...

I'm interested to read your thoughts on the basic movements associated with swimming. I'm always interested in supplemental training for swimmers. I emphasize the core primarily, but swimming is I think one of the most complex movements to train--not just to teach someone to swim, but to add in supplemental training as well. I'd love to read more about your thoughts on swimming.

At 3/29/08, 12:07 PM, Blogger Swim Coach Tom Sweeney said...

The best runners in the world are found on any elementary playground in the world. Seldom does a kid have two feet on the ground simultaneously. The kids run full blast in relatively short spurts. Video tape them to see perfect technique.

Now do the same thing in a swimming pool. Though they have fun, the kids are clueless about proper body posture, balance, and alignment in the aquatic environment.

Swimming is, I've read, the most complicated cyclical sport in the Olympic Games.

There are basic full body movements and balance/posture/alignment progressions in swimming that should precede use of arms and legs.

These movements are no longer a secret or mysterious, but--unfortunately--too few instructors teach them to young, developing swimmers.

I'm reviewing the final draft of an E-Book on this subject, along with chapters on teaching-challenging-collaborating with young, developing swimmers...when I'm finished, I will post info on how to get the E-Book.

At 3/29/08, 11:22 PM, Blogger Charles R. said...

Vern: Love the blog and the philosophy.

Your comment about teaching throwing hit a cord with me. I have coached olympic-level beach volleyball players, and now find myself in the position of living in a small town, and looking at helping coach the local girl's high school team, which I assure you will be somewhat more basic in skill level than Venice.

Do you have any references you could suggest to teach throwing as a skill? That seems like a great approach for beginners to get the biomechanics of spiking started in the right direction.


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