Head-Lead Looking Down follows Head-Lead Nose Up/Nose Down and precedes Hand-Lead Side Balance in our series of swimming drills for the front crawl/freestyle stroke.
In Head-Lead Looking Down, you start in the Sweet Spot position, then swivel your head down, like you practiced in the previous Head-Lead Nose Up/Nose Down drill. From there, you roll further so as to finish in the Sweet Spot position on your other side.
Rolling from Sweet Spot to Sweet Spot requires you to maintain your balance while rolling from side to side along your longitudinal axis. This is challenging in the beginning but will benefit you in the long run.
After a while, maintaining your balance as you shift the position of your body in the water (“pressing your buoy”) becomes second nature and allows you to fully focus on the movements of the arms and legs instead.
Swimming Drill Video
The following video demonstrates Head-Lead Looking Down:
Swimming Drill Instructions
Begin this drill in the Sweet Spot position:
- Float in a horizontal position, rolled about 45° away from the surface of the water; that is, halfway between fully on your back and fully on your side.
- Keep your head facing upward, looking directly at the ceiling/sky.
- Keep your arms by your sides.
- Your top arm is partially or even completely above water.
- Perform a relaxed flutter kick.
After spending a few moments in this position, do the following:
- Swivel your head down so you are looking at the bottom of the pool.
- Roll your body sideways until you are lying on your side at right angles to the surface of the water.
- Your arms don’t move; your top arm should now be entirely above water.
- Correct your balance if needed.
After spending a few moments in this position too, do the following:
- Roll further in the same direction until you end up again in the Sweet Spot position, but on your other side.
- Initiate the rotation from your core, not from your head. Your head just follows along with your body.
- Roll your body like a log.
- Your arms remain still.
Take a few moments to correct your balance and catch your breath in this position. Then repeat the same procedure to roll back to your other side, and so on.
Here are a few additional tips for practicing this swimming drill:
- Try to finish your rotation directly in the Sweet Spot.
- Maintain a streamlined position in the water:
- Keep your head in line with your torso.
- Keep your arms close to your sides.
- Perform a compact flutter kick.
- You will need good breath control as you roll your body in the water. To avoid getting water up your nose, exhale as soon as your face is under the water, or use a nose clip.
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.