Teaching your child to swim – Beginner Freestyle arms (catch up)

This type of freestyle is different from what you will see at the Olympics. Catch up is when the hands reach each other after each stroke so only one arm is moving at a time.

The benefits of teaching catchup freestyel before Olympic or conventional freestyle is obvious to those who have done so. 

1. Children find catch up much easier to understand because only one arm moves at a time

2. Catch up prepares as strengthens the core so they can develop long powerful freestyle strokes

It is for this 2nd reason that I believe that teaching catchup before freestyle is so important.

When Olympic freestyle is taught too early the arms trash around and correct breathing technique becomes much harder to teach.

There are 4 simple steps to teaching catch up freestyle

1. Standing arms (feel the water) – the pupils arms moved throught the pull pattern 1st before doing it themselves. Depending on your pool it may b possible to lie on the deck and practice 1 arm in the prone position.

2. Arms on shoulders – start with head up and supported under the chest

3. Arms on board – exactly as above. Start with support under chest before attempting independantly

Remember a child will always find a drill more difficult when not in contact with the teacher and using a board instead.

4. Independant catch up arms – starting with chest support if need be.


2 thoughts on “Teaching your child to swim – Beginner Freestyle arms (catch up)”

  1. Thank you, Peter, for these links and videos.
    I was searching for free materials online, and i came across “uswim australia”.
    For some reason there website will not allow me to open up the skill level info under each swim level, as it is asking for my WordPress password and username.. it consistently tells me that my email address is already in use, so i must choose another..? Hmm.. 🙂
    Is there some way to remedy this issue, or some way for me to encounter their materials for use in my swim instructions at our local pool?
    In the past i used ARC, but we shy away from it now, as we find better organized swim lessons elsewhere, and we do not want to support a company which is charging so much money for each one of our students, especially because in their earlier days, American Red Cross was so adamant that each one of us VOLUNTEER more. hmm..


    1. Hi.
      The videos are great and a nice wee tool for teaching the basics. They are all on youtube it you search them directly there you should see a very brief outline of content. Can I ask are you in USA?


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