Most beginner swimmers find it quite challenging to perform a flip turn at each side of the pool.
If this is you, just stay with me for a bit and in the next few posts, I'll get you flipping in no time.
However, you have to promise to practice, practice, practice, otherwise, you are just wasting your time (as someone wise once said: practice makes perfect - this is especially true of swimming).
So, let's dive right in.
When you get into the water, you should try flipping without the wall first.
This way you can concentrate on perfecting the flip.
We will add the wall later.
What makes a good flip?
a.) chin tucked toward your chest b.) smooth motion c.) your body as small as possible with knees tucked to your chest d.) breath holding e.) strong push off
To start, imagine doing a somersault in the water.
Give it a slow push off the bottom, tuck that chin to your chest, and slowly roll forward with your knees pressed to your chest.
Do not unroll your body, just keep as small as possible until your rotation stops.
Remember, we just want to work on the feeling of the flip, so exaggerate the rotation (over-rotate).
To help you with that, you can use two kickboards.
Place them next to you (one on each side), place the palms of your hands on top of them and gently use them as levers when you are flipping.
The kickboards never leave the surface of the water and your hands will stay put.
When starting the flip you can be ducked in the water, so only your head is showing and the push off the bottom should not be too strong. As Happy Gilmore said: "Just tap it in" :).
When the flip is finished, you should end up in the same position you started (standing on the bottom) with your palms still on the kickboards.
Now that you can do it with a push off the bottom, let's try it starting from a freestyle floating position.
It goes as follows.
You are floating forward on your stomach, eyes are on the bottom, arms are in front of you.
Slowly move both arms toward your hips (like you are doing butterfly pull) at the same time roll your chin to your chest and then when you get your head below your knees or close to it start adding the knees toward the chest as well.
Once you manage to smoothly flip, you will end up floating on your back, just in the opposite way from what you started :).
You probably ask yourself, what do I do with my arms?
Well, this is the tricky part.
Your arms help you flip over, but then we need to get them above our head again, so when you are flipping in the tightly formed ball (chin and knees on chest) and you are almost on the position on your back, you slowly unroll the ball and move your arms and feet in opposite directions into a streamlined position.
In the next lesson, we will add the wall and a few tricks to make your flip an efficient work of art.