Welcome back, swim coaches! I’ve got a self-assessment question for you to answer. If you were watching video analysis footage of 5 different swimmers Flipturning, would you be able to identify the Good Flipturns from the Bad Flipturns? Beyond that, would you be able to explain WHY they were good and bad? If you can’t, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and in fact it’s more common than you might think. As I’ve been traveling around the world all year long coaching swim clinic and swim camps, a commonality appeared – there seemed to be a lack of education in the swim coaching world surrounding both the Backstroke and Freestyle Flipturn.
What People Seem To Know
By far, the most common knowledge about the Backstroke Flipturn was about stroke count. Swim coaches drilled it into their swimmers’ heads that learning their stroke count was a must. I couldn’t agree more. For both of the turns, the concept that coaches seem to get right is about the tight ball that a swimmer needs to get into for a fast Flipturn. I’ve seen countless drills for how to get into a tight ball (like THIS ONE). The innovation is really fun to watch as a fellow swim coach!
What People DON’T Seem To Know
This is the area that I was noticing this summer. For example, did you know that you should encourage your swimmers to count their stroke during the Freestyle Flipturn as well as the Backstroke Flipturn? I find that that’s super uncommon. More than that, it’s important to teach swimmers to have a plan when it comes to their Push-Off.
For the Backstroke Flipturn, I haven’t seen a lot of coaches emphasize the TWO Freestyle Pulls, which trips up a lot of swimmers. What about the differences between the Backstroke and Freestyle Flipturn? Many coaches treat them exactly the same. Although there are certainly pieces that are the same, they still need to be treated as completely different learning objectives for swimmers.
Why Is There So Little Education for Coaching Flipturns?
Just like with Coaching Starts, a common problem seems to be lack of time during practice to really let swimmers practice their Flipturn independently of swimming. Because of that, Flipturns aren’t explored a lot in the more traditional coaching educational spaces. A lot of teams seem to leave coaching Starts and Flipturns to the very end of the season – right before big meets. Unfortunately, at that point it’s too late to really explain technique to swimmers with enough time to let it sink in. Besides, think about how many Flipturns a swimmer does EACH PRACTICE, let alone over the course of the season. Both the Backstroke and Freestyle Flipturn need to be programmed in throughout the entire season.
Why Being a Backstroke and Freestyle Flipturn Expert is Important?
Confidence is key when it comes to Flipturns. When a coach is confident in their personal knowledge of the proper technique and they know how they want to teach their swimmers, the swimmers can feel that energy and feed off it. It’s no secret that the swimmer with the best walls will ALWAYS win the close races. I can tell you from experience that there’s no greater gift I’ve ever given my swimmers than arming them with the confidence of attacking their walls.
That’s why I developed the newest SLAF Educational Courses. Introducing:
These courses each break the Freestyle and Backstroke Flipturn down into parts, which are then turned into learning Modules. There are mini-quizzes to check for understanding throughout the courses, and a final exam. Once you buy these courses, you have them for life and can return to them as often as you like. They even count for Coaching CEUs for USA Swimming and USA Triathlon!
The greatest part about these courses is that they give coaches the confidence they need in order to in turn give their swimmers confidence in their Flipturns! I’m proud that SLAF has been able to fill this need in the swimming world.
Until next time,
Abbie Fish and the Swim Like A. Fish Team