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Perfect Swimming Flip Turn? Here Are The Top 5 Mistakes And How To Fix Them!

Top 5 Biggest Mistakes Made During a Flip Turn and How to Fix It

The flip turn, both in freestyle and backstroke, is one of the best opportunities to catch up or extend your lead during a race. Over the years, I’ve seen many swimmers make a bunch of mistakes. Here is my breakdown for the top 5 errors and how to fix it.

  1. Lifting your head to look at the wall

  2. Stopping your kick and gliding into the wall

  3. Not using your hands to help rotate your body

  4. Heels touch the wall

  5. Flipping too close or too far away from the wall

1. Lifting your head to look for the wall.

Problem: Lifting your head causes you to drop your hips, making you lose momentum and dramatically decreasing your flip turn speed.

Fix: There are a couple of ways to fix this. 1. You can use the lines on the bottom of the pool to determine how close you are to the wall. This method is excellent if the pool bottom is consistent and doesn’t drop deep. The deeper the pool, the harder it is to use this method. 2. Instead of looking up, look to the side, and use your field of vision to determine how close you are to the wall. Personally, this is the method I use. This method takes a little practice, but by looking to the side, you won’t drop your hips, and this will work in any pool, no matter the pool depth.

2. Stopping your kick and gliding into the wall

Problem: Stopping your kick does multiple things. The main thing is it slows down your momentum. Another is it increases the chance that your feet and hips will start to drop.

Fix: Keep a strong flutter kick into the turn. Tip: The last kick should be a strong downward dolphin kick. The dolphin kick will start to send your hips in the upward motion allowing you to rotate faster through the turn.

3. Not using your hands to help rotate your body

Problem: Not using your hands means you rely on your momentum and how well you can tuck to turn.

Which for new swimmers might make it hard for them to rotate through the turn. Also, it makes it hard to set up a tight streamline.

Fix: As you come into the wall, make sure you take a strong pull and have both of your hands by your hips.

As you start your turn, have your palms face the bottom of the pool and explode your hands towards your face. As your hands near your face transition to a tight streamline. Pro tip: The speed of your hands is another tool to help you adjust the distance you are from the wall, which will lead to a nice push off.

4. Heels touch the wall

Problem: On land, try jumping while keeping your heels on the ground. Now try to jump, lifting your heels 1 inch off the ground. Notice how much higher you can jump? Jumping with your heels on the ground because keeping your heels on the ground doesn’t allow you to engage your calf muscles.

Fix: Only touch the wall with the balls of your feet. Pro tip: I like to extend (point) my feet a little over 50 percent of my max flexibility.

This allows me to keep my heels from touching the wall and allows me to use my entire leg to push off the wall.

5. What is the right distance I should be flipping at the wall?

Problem: Flipping too far causes you to extend your legs to reach the wall, not allowing you to utilize your entire leg. Flipping too close to the wall bunches you up and makes you use extra power to push off the wall, and it also causes you to stay on the wall up to a FULL second more than normal.

Fix: The ideal fit position your body should hit the wall is having your legs at 90 degrees and knees are shoulder with apart. This position will provide you the maximum power. Pro tip: To help you adjust and increase the chances of hitting this ideal position, use your last pull and kick to help make fine-tune adjustments as you approach the wall.

My coach always said, think of the wall as an electric fence. You want to get off of it as fast as you can.

Incorporating these tips will give you a massive advantage over your competition! Good luck, and I hope to see you out there in the water!

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