Learn Basic Swimming Techniques

If you are a novice, it is important to learn a few basic swimming techniques so you can feel safe in the water. If you master these basic techniques first, you will feel more at ease and relaxed when you tackle the popular swimming strokes. This article gives you an overview of those basic techniques.

A toddler having fun in the water, supported by a swim noodle
Learning basic swimming techniques can be fun!

Overcoming Fear of Water and Swimming

Fear of Water can have several causes, which we discuss. Then we use practical exercises such as blowing bubbles, bobbing up and down, mushroom float, and many more, to reduce your anxiety and make you more comfortable around large bodies of water.

Learning the Flutter Kick

The flutter kick is a simple yet effective swimming technique where your legs execute kind of a whipping motion. As a beginner you should learn to do this technique in a prone and in a supine position. You’ll be then able to use the flutter kick to tread water and to swim dog paddle. Later on, you’ll use this technique while swimming backstroke and the freestyle stroke.

How to Do the Starfish Float

The starfish float is a basic swimming technique where you float on your back with arms and legs spread apart. This article explains how to do the starfish float.

Learning the Breaststroke Kick

As a beginner, it is also important to know the breaststroke kick, even though it’s more difficult to learn than the flutter kick. Beginners can use the breaststroke kick to tread water and to swim elementary backstroke. Obviously the breaststroke kick is also used while swimming breaststroke.

Sculling Water

Sculling water is another basic swimming technique. Basically you float in an upright position with your head above water and with your arms extended sideways at shoulder level.You use quick sweeping movements of your arms at the water surface to stay afloat. This technique is best used in combination with a kicking movement of the feet (see below).

Treading Water

Treading water allows you to stay afloat in the same spot while keeping your head above water and your body upright. It is a very useful technique when you need to orient yourself in the water or to observe something that happens around you on land.
Learning how to tread water is easy once you know how to flutter kick and how to scull water. Treading water is then simply a matter of being able to combine both swimming techniques.

Dog Paddle

Dog paddle or doggy paddle is another basic swimming technique. Basically you float in the water in a more or less horizontal position and keep your head above the water surface and look forward. You use a flutter kick and paddle forward and downwards with your arms. From above your movements look much alike those a dog would use while swimming.

Elementary Backstroke

Elementary backstroke is a basic swim stroke that you can learn quickly once you are able to float on your back. Elementary backstroke uses an inverted breaststroke kick and simple synchronous movements of the arms for propulsion.


I suggest you spend some time learning the basic swimming techniques listed above. Once you have those under your belt, you will be well prepared to tackle the most popular swimming strokes. Remember to always practice in a safe area with supervision by a lifeguard or experienced swimmer.

And don’t forget to take your time and enjoy the process!

9 thoughts on “Learn Basic Swimming Techniques”

  1. essay writing service

    It is helpful for those children to know these swimming techniques especially that they will be able to swim in case of emergency in order to save their life. It’s great that it was being added to the subjects for the kids.

  2. I am so nervous of the water and am trying to do breaststroke but find that my legs are floating too much and coming on top of the water. Because of this I feel that I am going to tip up. I don’t mind my face in the water and I know how to swim but just cannot find the courage to relax whilst swimming on my front. I can do backstroke after a fashion.

  3. I can swim fine and obviously I’m level 6 and I can swim fine. I was at level six in 4th grade but then I went to a new school and they put me in level 6 again. Although I can swim fine I am uncoordinated. I love the ocean too but how do I swim properly without looking uncoordinated.

  4. Dear Christophe,

    I myself don’t know how to swim and my 9 year old son wants to learn swimming, can we do it by ourselves?

    Can you please guide us how to begin?

    1. Hi,

      To teach your son I think it is best that you find someone who can swim to teach him. Otherwise if you do it by yourself and neither of you parents can swim and your son panics or gets in distress, how are you going to be able to help him?

      Another option would be that you learn to swim first and then once you can swim with confidence, you can start teaching your child.

      Good luck and stay safe.

  5. Thank you so much for this helpful information! Please, I would like to know what kind of equipment would be useful to have when you are a beginner.

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