Chapter Three-B
The Home Pool


The Stationary Float--Instructor

1--Explain that you will hold your breath while demonstrating straight-arm, straight-leg position with body stretched out and face in water. Demonstrate, letting legs rise slowly to surface. Hold float, then stand while holding onto side. Perform slowly, 3 X. Tell class it's called a Stationary Float because you are holding onto an immovable object.

2--Have class line up at side, take a deep breath and perform straight-arm, straight-leg position with face in water, letting legs SLOWLY float to surface.

3--Critique individually by going down line, having each perform this task for you.

FREQUENT PROBLEMS WITH THE STATIONARY FLOAT (see illustrations at end of list)

1--KICKING UP TO ATTAIN A FLOAT: Instead of letting their legs rise naturally, some may try to kick up into a float position. Pupils must actually experience water supporting their bodies without the use of forceful movement. This helps to convince pupils that they will not sink, which is most important for water-shy people to realize.

2--NECK MUSCLES HELD TOO TIGHT: Head is not "loose" or relaxed and is not "dangling" into water. Water level must be at mid ear or slightly above. Repeat: "When head lifts up, legs go down."

3--ARMS NOT STRAIGHT: Elbows must be locked out and shoulder width apart. Bending arms causes body to sag.

4--BENDING KNEES: Knees must be locked out to achieve a float. Have pupils point their toes in order to keep legs straight.

5--ARCHED BACK: Usually caused from bending elbows. Prevents legs from rising to surface.

6--WAIST BENT OVER TOO FAR: Back is too far out of water and rounded. Face will be too far down and have water over the top of head.

7--INSUFFICIENT AIR: Stopping in mid-task to take a breath. Be sure pupils take deep breaths before performing task.

8--HANDS NOT PRESSING POOL SIDE: Hands must press slightly against pool side so body will move out into a straight float position.

9--BODY NOT STRETCHED: Legs and arms must be held straight and taut with chest lying flat on surface. Explain that stretching out improves floatability.


Ocasionally, someone with large muscles and heavy leg and thigh bones are unable to get their legs to completely rise. If these people are doing everything correctly, but cannot get their legs to rise, it may not be a cause for concern. After learning a proper kick, their bodies will straighten out and legs will surface. Their strong muscles will help them maintain a good body position. Often, after learning to swim, and then trying the Stationary Float they can accomplish it perfectly. They've learned to hold and lift thighs tautly to compensate for their weight.

(Most of the illustrations below are exagerated to show what to look for in your critique. Pupils' errors may be slight, but great enough to prevent a stationary float or maintaining it.)

Stationary Float~Individual
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