The Home Pool
Chapter Six~Drownings

The Free Float, Individual

In Chapter Five-A~Individual, you learned a simplified Free Float with Birdy Hop Recovery. In this segment you will accomplish the Float to Wall (or to a stationary object) and Float to Wall with Kick. As with all the lessons, you must practice the previous one until perfected before adding a more difficult "link to your chain." Be certain that you have a partner while performing the following tasks.


After entering the pool perform the orientation exercises to warm up, then continue with the following:

1--Stand and hold onto side.

2--Perform the pre-Stationary Float position, take a deep breath; move feet back as far as possible, legs straight back and on tiptoes; torso fully extended flat atop pool's surface; elbows straight; and face down into water. Stand.

3--Perform correct position and then stand at least 3 X.

4--Perform correct position again but this time let legs slowly rise to surface. Perform Birdy Hop at Side for recovery (pull down and back with both hands, lift up head and stand.)

5--Perform Stationary Float with Birdy Hop at Side at least 3 X or until mastered.

6--With partner beside you, do a Stationary Float and push gently against side to achieve a Free Float. Perform Birdy Hop Recovery. NOTE: If you need to work up to a full Free Float by removing one hand at a time from side as practiced in Chapter 5-A include those steps as well.

7--Perform a full Free Float with Birdy Hop Recovery until you feel at ease with it and can hold the float at least ten seconds. Be sure partner is beside you at ALL times.

8--Each partner performs above tasks until perfected and at ease with them.



1--With partner near you, stand about one body length from wall.

2--Take a deep breath and lean forward with arms extended in front, head down, legs straight back and on tiptoes. Hook thumbs together and GENTLY lie body atop surface. Give a SLIGHT push with toes against bottom of pool, letting body move forward to the wall.
See illustration below:

Position for float to wall. A slight push with toes causes legs to rise and body to move forward.

3--Practice the Float to Wall one body length from the side until done perfectly and with ease.

4--Stand at least three feet from wall further than before and float to side. BE CERTAIN THAT SOMEONE IS NEAR YOU TO HELP IN CASE YOU NEED TO RECOVER BEFORE REACHING THE SIDE. Perform this task until mastered.

5--Continuously progress by standing one to three feet further back than before after each float to the wall. Perform atr least 3 X.

6--Before standing more than eight feet from side, practice the Birdy Hop Recovery in mid float. Partner taps back at mid point. Practice until at ease and there's no stumbling.

If more than twelve feet away, many beginners are unable to hold their breath long enough to reach the wall when performing the Float to Wall, therefore, the Kick is taught at this point. Kicking increases speed enough to reach the side without having to recover in mid float.


7--When you are satisfied with your performance of a good recovery at mid float continue with floats to side up to 15 feet away or more.

NOTE: Water depth must NOT be above waist (or lower portion of chest.)


Practicing small kicks from the hip.

HINT:The important thing to remember when executing the Kick With Float, is that the kick must NOT be hard or fast.

1--To get a feel for the Kick, sit on the pool side, lean back and begin moving both legs up and down from the hip (as shown in above illustration). DO NOT bend knees and be certain that toes are pointed downward. Lift legs up and down at least 20 X.

2--Keep watching knees to make certain they do not bend. Do task again at least 20 X.

3--Stand in water with your side next to the wall. Hold onto wall with hand nearest the pool side.

4--Lift opposite side leg and kick as you would a football. Imagine yourself as a punter on a football team trying for a goal, or a ballerina performing a high kick. Do not bend knee. Kick at least 5 X.

5--Face opposite direction with other side next to wall. Again, kick imaginary football, this time with opposite leg. At least 5 X.

6--Face wall and perform a STATIONARY float with head down into water and let legs slowly rise. Kick gently while holding stationary float. Be sure both elbows are straight and locked out while kicking. Practice at least 3 X or until perfected. Partners critique.

7--Stand about 12 feet from side and perform Float to Side.

8--Again stand 12 feet (or more) from side and perform Float to Side but this time, AFTER maintaining a good float, gently kick from the hip with knees straight as possible. Perform at least 5 X or until mastered.
See illustration below.

A gentle kick from the hip is all that's needed to easily move forward.



1--INABILITY TO MOVE FORWARD is probably the most common "kicking" problem. This is usually due to dipping the body from side to side rather than LEGS ONLY up and down. In trying to perform a good kick, some learners become overly anxious and alternately dip the sides of their body up and down. This prevents forward momentum.

REMEDY: It's not easy to spot this problem in yourself. When your sides dip up and down your legs also move up and down so you think you are doing a proper kick. If you don't have anyone to critique you, assume this is the reason why you aren't moving forward. Tell yourself to point your toes and kick ONLY FROM THE ANKLES--not the hip. Although a good kick is executed from the hip, those who dip their hips side to side are over emphasizing it. When you concentrate only on an "ankle kick" your forward momentum will be restored and you will reach the side before running out of breath.

2--MOVING TOO SLOWLY may be due in part to the above problem but if you have some forward momentum, going too slow could be caused by one of the following:
a--You didn't push with toes hard enough from pool bottom.
b--Your toes are not pointed so you may be bending knees too much. Some knee bending can't be helped but extreme knee bending will slow you down.
c--You didn't take a deep enough breath before the float so your body is less buoyant.
d--Your head, hands, arms or waist may be turned to one side. This also makes you move crookedly.

REMEDIES: Without jumping up, push harder from bottom of pool.
Keep toes pointed.
Take a deeper breath at outset.
Make sure thumbs are clasped together during your float. This keeps your body going straight.
Do not turn head to one side.
Do not lift head. Keep face well down into water.
Do not twist at waist.
Last but most importantly: DO NOT BEGIN KICK UNTIL AFTER MAINTAINING A GOOD FLOAT. Many learners are so anxious to get going they kick before moving into their float. If that doesn't prevent a good float, it will at least slow them down.


Chapter Six-B~~The Arm Stroke--Instructor
The Home Pool
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