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.