You have gotten the freestyle stroke down and you are starting to swim laps in the pool to stay fit. What is next in your swimming journey? How about learning how to do a flip turn during freestyle? Learning how to do a freestyle flip turn is a great way to bring your swimming training to the next level. Doing a flip turn allows you to swim multiple laps in a pool without having to stop and grab the wall between turns. The following are some steps to get on the path to doing a flip turn and some common problems people have when learning the flip turn.
How to Do Your First Flip Turn
Learn How to Do a Somersault
The first step is to learn how to flip forward in the water away from the wall. Start standing and try to do a somersault forward. When flipping, try to tuck your body in so that you are making yourself into a tight ball. Once you can do a somersault all the way around, move onto the next step.
Freestyle Stroke into Somersault
The next piece is to start timing your freestyle stroke with your somersault. As you perform the underwater pull part of the stroke you will begin your flip. One way to practice this timing is to swim a lap of freestyle but every 3 or 5 strokes do a somersault in the water. Flip all the way around so you are back on your stomach and then keep swimming until the next flip.
Somersault at the Wall
Once you feel comfortable with the timing, it is time to try a flip at the wall. Start a few yards away from the wall. Swim freestyle towards the wall until you are about one arm’s length away from the wall. At this point you will pull your arm down to your side and begin your flip. The goal is to land with both feet on the wall with your toes pointing up to the top of the water and your knees bent to a 90 degree angle. Practice this a few times getting closer to or further away from the wall until you land in this position.
Freestyle to Backstroke Flip Turn
Next, starting a few yards away from the wall, swim freestyle into the wall and do your flip. Once you land with your feet on the wall – push off on your back with your arms in a streamline position. You can either swim backstroke or just kick on your back to your starting position.
Full Flip Turn
The last step is to do a full flip turn. You will still swim into the wall, do your flip, and then push off on your back. This time after you push off under water on your back you will roll onto your front and then start swimming freestyle. The reason you turn onto your stomach after you push off the wall is so that your legs do not get twisted while your feet are planted on the wall.
Troubleshooting Common Mistakes
“I’m Getting Water in My Nose”
If you find that your nose is filling with water while you are doing your flip, try to blow bubbles out of your nose for the entire time you are flipping. If air is coming out of your nose – water can’t get in!
“I Can’t Flip All the Way Around”
If you find that you are able to start your somersault, but you get stuck in the middle of the flip – you may need to get your body into a tighter ball. Try to bring your knees and chin closer to your chest during the flip. You can also practice doing a flip around a lane line or pool noodle to practice a tight turn.
“I Can’t Get Close Enough to the Wall During My Turn”
If you find that you are not getting close enough to the wall to push off from your turn you may need to get close to the wall before you start your flip. Try to swim freestyle into the wall and touch the wall with your hands while your arm is straight before flipping. This can help to make sure you are close enough to the wall. Also, if you are lifting your head up to take a breath before your flip it can cause you to be too far from the wall. Instead, try to take a breath to the side during one of the last strokes before you get to the wall.
With practice and repetition, you will see your flip turns improving and you will be able to swim multiple laps without having to touch the wall. Remember that a swim instructor can help to improve your flip turns and any other swimming skills at any age.
At Sunsational Swim School, we match you with a private swimming instructor who travels to your home or community pool location.Enroll today to take your swimming to the next level with an experienced swimming coach!
Melanie Watt’s bio:
Hi my name is Melanie and I've been teaching swim lessons and coaching swim teams for eight years! I have experience teaching infants as young as 6 months all the way up to adults. I also have extensive experience working with swimmers with special needs. I have a degree in health sciences and I am currently finishing up my master’s degree in occupational therapy. I love teaching swimming because I love seeing progress whether it be being comfortable putting your face in the water or learning a new stroke!