Learning to Float In the Water Is Magic: Wallen Swim School in Roseville and El Dorado Hills, CA
As your little one learns to swim, the front and back float are two of the earliest skills they will be introduced to for several reasons. Floating is a precursor to all swimming strokes, and when mastered, demonstrates complete comfort in the water and readiness to learn more! Once your child is comfortable in the water, can control their breath, blow bubbles, and can submerge so that their entire head is wet, they will be introduced to floating on their tummies and backs.
Floating is an essential stepping stone to skills such as:
- Streamlining on their front and backs
- Streamlining and kicking
- The basics of a swim stroke such as freestyle
While floating can be a challenge for many children, the qualified swim instructors at Steve Wallen Swim School are prepared to meet all children’s needs and abilities. Let’s break down the specifics of floating to help you better understand how your little one will learn these essential skills.
Breath Control & Comfort in Water
The prerequisites of the front float are breath control and comfort in the water. Your child must be completely comfortable getting their face wet. Skills such as blowing bubbles, splashing their face and head, and quick dunks under the water will help to prepare your child for floating by developing and encouraging their comfort in the water. Front floats require that your child lay face down in the water (horizontally to the pool bottom) and that they can maintain this position comfortably for several seconds.
They will be guided into this position by their experienced instructor only when they are fully ready. Steve Wallen Swim instructors will support them through this learning by holding their hands and guiding their bodies to the proper position. Hand support will be removed when the instructor knows that they are ready. Aids to floating are sometimes used, which your child will hold in their hands, building their confidence and success. Your child’s safety while learning to float is our priority, and skills are introduced when your little one is ready.
The Back Float
Like the front float, the back float will be introduced to your child when their instructor knows they are ready. Back float is typically more challenging for children. Children find the back float challenging because there is a sense of being more vulnerable and not in control. Imagine their view: an endless expanse up to the high ceiling. In the back float, your child will also be horizontal to the pool bottom.
Head position is critical; if the head is not horizontal with the ears just below the surface, the rest of the body will sink down toward the pool bottom. Similarly, if their bottoms are dropped (the body in a V position), they will not be in a back float position. Once they are horizontal, your child should be able to hold this position comfortably for several seconds. Their instructor will introduce this skill when they are ready and support them by holding them at their rib cage, with their heads tucked up on their shoulders, cheek to cheek. Aids to floating, held in their hands, may also be used to build their confidence.
When being held by their instructor, your child will feel safe and secure, which they are when learning to swim with Steve Wallen Swim School! Their instructor will gradually extend them away so that they are distanced from their instructor but still supported with a gentle hold on their head. Gentle reminders about keeping their ears underwater and their belly buttons pulled up to the ceiling will guide them to the correct back float position. Mastering the back float is an essential stepping stone to staying safe in the water and learning all backstrokes.
Up next, rolling over from a front float to a back float and back again!