Thereï¿½s nothing wrong with open turns. They get the job done, and can be very energy efficient, especially for Masters swimmers. But if you want to be really FAST going into and leaving the wall, you need to master the flip turn. Hereï¿½s a sequence that can make the learning process less daunting ï¿½ even fun. By practicing step by step ï¿½ AWAY from the wall ï¿½ youï¿½ll build confidence that you can accomplish this critical skill. The stepped approach will also help you focus on adding SPEED to your turns.
Why Do It:
Flip turns are, without question, the quickest way to get your body off the wall and moving in the other direction to continue your race, or practice. They help you generate speed and power off the wall.
How To Do It:
1. Start in a standing position AWAY from but facing the wall. Make sure the water is about mid-chest deep, because you’ll be tucking under, and you DONï¿½T want to hit your head on the bottom.
Turn your palms UP.
2. With a very small "hop," shoot your head down and back between your legs.
3. Sweep your hands UP in a direct motion toward your shoulders. Tuck your knees to allow your body to spin faster.
4. Being careful NOT to use your hands more than necessary, and NOT to let your hands go wider than your shoulders, continue to somersault untilï¿½
… your feet land back on the bottom.
5. Stand up, review what you’ve done, and try it again.
Itï¿½s normal to feel disoriented the first few times you try this. The best way to overcome this is to somersault as QUICKLY as possible. The higher you jump, the slower youï¿½ll spin (youï¿½ll just crash back onto the water). The tighter you tuck, the faster youï¿½ll spin. So try to stay low and get into a tight ball as you rotate.
Practice this first step several times before progressing to the next step. You need to master a tight, fast, STANDING spin before you take it closer to the wall. Here are the steps to follow AFTER you’ve mastered the standing spin.
1. MASTER Standing Spin.
2. Starting in chest-deep water (you donï¿½t want to worry about hitting your feet), gently push off the bottom to start moving forward slowly. Keep your hands behind you and your palms facing the bottom. Once your body is horizontal, try the spin from this balanced, moving position. After you’ve completed the spin, land back on your feet, stand up, review… and try again.
3. Start again in chest-deep water. Push off gently and execute your spin. Then, instead of landing on your feet, kick out to a perfect streamline position on your back. Stay there for just a second to get the feeling, then stand up, get some air, and review.
4. Now move closer to the wall. You’ll do the exact same exercise as in step three, but this time you’ll actually push off from the wall. If you’re concerned about hitting your heels or feet on the wall, start well away from the wall and inch closer each time you try your spin, until your feet make contact and you can push off. Look at the bottom each time you start so that you know where to start NEXT time. This will train you to use the markings on the bottom of the pool ï¿½ rather than the wall ï¿½ to get your bearings.
5. To make this more like SWIMMING, simply rotate toward your side when you push off. There is no need to rotate much farther than this, because you want to be on your side when you start swimming anyway.
Be patient during this learning sequence. Take time to master each step prior to moving forward. If you feel dizzy or whirly, stop for the day and try again next time you go to the pool. Five to ten spins are about the maximum you want to do at any one session.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
As you watch further into the video clip, you’ll notice our swimmer practicing two additional "swimming" turns. In the first one he uses a single-arm approach, as he would in swimming. Notice that he barely uses his hands at all, making it possible for him to maintain more speed coming into the wall, rather than having to wait for his hands to get into position to help him around the turn.
A fast turn comes from the momentum you create by swimming, combined with how well you get your body to TUCK and SPIN. Focus on keeping your head tucked, and your knees tight.
In his final turn (shown in slo-motion) the swimmer has advanced to the point where he doesn’t use his hands AT ALL during the spin. This allows him to focus on extending his hands to a streamlined position PRIOR to pushing off the wall. This ensures he’s READY to fly off the wall in streamline, rather than fight the water trying to GET INTO a streamline position.