Watch Your Buddy

 

3 Drills – Watching Your Buddy

Well  – – you don’t HAVE to have a buddy but it helps!

Drill 1 – Arms by your side

  1. Discuss with your instructor whether you should wear fins.  Check with your pool lifeguard whether they are allowed.

  2. Stand facing your buddy 2 to 3 feet apart.  Decide which of you is going face down and which of you is watching.

  3. Bend your knees so that your shoulders are almost under the water and lean into the water at an angle letting your legs rise.

  4. From the position in the diagram, one person will now lean into the water a little more (from the shoulder) and look straight down.  Once in the correct position the top arm from shoulder to elbow will be out of the water and feeling the air.

  5. The ‘watcher’ will also lean into the water so that the face submerges but the head should not rotate downwards.  Note:  You may prefer to wear a nose clip or hold your nose for this.  If you hold your nose, keep the arm from the shoulder to the elbow in place and bend from the elbow keeping the elbow to wrist close to the body.  Use the lower arm so the top arm will help check your balance.

  6. The watcher should ‘follow’ their buddy.  In other words if your buddy goes off at an angle, the watcher should too.  Keep the distance between you the same.  Note:  Lone swimmers can buddy up to the wall!

  7. If your buddy doesn’t swim straight watch them both from the top and while swimming and help them correct the problem.  Get them to do the same for you.

Points to Watch

The watcher should use this as an exercise in relaxation.  The swimmer should check their balance:

  • Am I looking straight down at the bottom of the pool?

  • Are my hands on my thighs?

  • Is my top arm to the air from shoulder to finger tips?

  • Is my kick appropriate, leisurely but fast enough for progression?

  • Is my whole body, head excepted, facing my buddy? (Watch for twisting at the waist!)

The swimmer will adjust as appropriate, bearing in mind they may not be doing exactly what they FEEL they are doing.  It’s the watcher job to help them out here!

DON’T run out of breath and push on!

Make sure you practice on both sides.  If you have a ‘bad’ side, grit your teeth and make sure you practice twice as much on the bad side as the good!

Decide in advance how many times you will practice before you swap over, and stick to it.  DON’T get over focused on your mistakes.  Relaxation is VERY important.  If in doubt, ask your instructor.

If you feel you have a reasonable degree of control, spend 20 minutes to half an hour on this and then move on to drill 2.  If you feel you haven’t mastered it, do NOT move on!  Switch to earlier drills and other water skills to ring the changes then come back to it another time.

Drill 2 – Extending the Lower Arm

  1. Watcher swims as drill1.

  2. Swimmer begins as in drill 1 – check all 5 balance points as above!

  3. Once happy, slowly extend the arm keeping it close contact with the body until past the head.

  4. Repeat the balance checks.

  5. Keep the shoulder of the extended arm as close to the head as is comfortable.

Note:  If at any time, you find yourself beginning to lean on your arm, or in any way use it to balance, go back to drill 1.  Rely on your buddy to help you watch for this.

If you feel you have a reasonable degree of control, spend 20 minutes to half an hour on this and then move on to drill 3.  If you feel you haven’t mastered it, do NOT move on!  Switch to earlier drills and other water skills to ring the changes then start back at drill 1.

Drill 3 – Hand Lead

If you really feel you’re not relying on that lead hand at all for your balance, then you can begin to go straight into the drill with you hand extended.

Get into position properly before you start and get your buddy, the watcher, to correct any  imperfections before you begin.  Make sure you check your 5 balance points every step of the way!

Progression for the Swimmer

If you really feel that these drills have been mastered, you are comfortable with all aspects AND your buddy agrees, then try incorporating Coming up to Breathe.