Head-Lead Side Balance follows Head-Lead Prone Balance and precedes Head-Lead Nose Up/Node Down in our series of swimming drills for the front crawl/freestyle stroke.
This allows these swimmers to better use the chest and back muscles of the pulling arm, and also facilitates the recovery of the other arm.
Accordingly, a swimmer should also be able to balance their body while floating on their side and feel comfortable in this position.
For this reason, in this drill we will practice balance while floating in the lateral position (i.e. on your side).
Swimming Drill Video
The following video demonstrates Head-Lead Side Balance:
Swimming Drill Instructions
The initial position is the same as the one you practiced in Head-Lead Supine Balance:
- Float on your back in a horizontal position.
- Keep your head and body in a straight line, with your face turned toward the ceiling.
- Keep your arms at your sides and perform a compact flutter kick.
- Lean on your upper back to maintain balance and prevent your hips and legs from sinking.
Once you feel comfortable in this position, do the following:
- Roll onto your side while keeping your arms at your side and your head facing upward.
- Ideally, your upper shoulder, arm and part of the hip should be visible above the water.
- Roll as far as you can while still feeling comfortable floating on your side. (How far you roll depends on your body shape.)
- If you notice that your hips and legs are sinking, lean onto your lower shoulder to bring your hips and legs back up.
- Maintain this lateral position and continue to flutter kick for the remainder of the length.
- Change sides with each length and continue to practice until you feel comfortable floating on either side.
Floating on your side may feel awkward at first. It takes time and practice to be able to maintain balance in that position.
Also, how far you can roll and maintain balance while feeling comfortable depends on your morphology. Total Immersion calls this position where you can comfortably float on your side the Sweet Spot.
Here are a few additional tips for practicing this swimming drill:
- You will most likely find that you float better on one side than on the other. This is common. Just practice a little more on your weak side to compensate.
- Use swimming goggles to keep water out of your eyes.
- You can also use a nose clip to stop water getting up your nose.
- It is okay to use swim fins if you have a weak flutter kick.
Learning Path for the Front Crawl
Below is an overview of our series of articles on learning the front crawl. Each article in this series contains one or more drills that have to be mastered. The current article is highlighted:
Once you have gone through all the steps of this learning path, you should be able to swim front crawl without any problems.