Imagine Being Pulled by a Rope Attached to Your Head
Imagine Being Pulled by a Rope Attached to Your Head

Swimming: Coaching Cue for Streamlined Head Alignment in the Freestyle Stroke

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

Water is a dense medium compared to the air and very unforgiving when unnecessary drag is created.

A misaligned body is major contributor to unnecessary drag in the freestyle stroke, and one of the key causes is poor head position. If the head shifts to one side, the hips and legs will compensate by shifting sideways towards the other side of the body.

The same thing happens if the head lifts - the legs react by dropping downward. In either case, the result is a body that is not streamlined as it moves through the water.

Here's a coaching cue that will help your students keep their head and body in a straight, streamlined position.

Coaching Cue
Tell your students to imagine there is a rope attached to the top of their head and the rope is pulling them down the lane. It will help them keep their head in the correct position, regardless of the movement of the torso and limbs.

To improve the effectiveness of this cue, start by taking several repetitions of slow swimming in which they don't breath - they simply stroke with the head in a perfect aligned, face-down position.

1. Jim Montgomery & Mo Chambers, Mastering Swimming, Human Kinetics, 2009.
2. Jason Wicke, Drag Reduction Tips for Freestyle Swimming, PE, 

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© 2010, Physical Education,

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