A Child Sculling

Learning The Basics Of Sculling

Polishing The Water

Sculling Head First By Pushing The Water Towards The Feet

Sculling Feet First By Using A Digger Action

Sculling Head First With Fingertips Pointing Towards The Ceiling

Sculling Feet First With Fingertips Pointing Towards The Ground

Why do swimming teachers bother to teach sculling?  After all it is extremely difficult to teach to swimmers if you are a new swimming teacher and children are not renowned for their patience!  I really struggled to teach sculling when I had first qualified and did everything in my power to put it off until another day.  Not so now.  On the STA ticksheets, it asks for swimmers to firstly scull using a woggle, admittedly I don’t like this method because the woggle prevents the arms being fully in the water and children do not have very long arms!  If the child can float comfortably on their back with little or no kicking (which they should all be able to achieve once sculling is introduced onto the curriculum), it is then that I introduce sculling as a form of propulsion.

Young swimmers should have had some experience of sculling when practicing treading water either with a woggle or without.  This form of sculling should be akin to polishing the water, albeit at a forty five degree angle with fingers together.  For a head first propulsion scull, which on the whole is easier for the learner to achieve, I like to tell them to push the water towards the feet.  It isn’t technically accurate and you certainly won’t get the little whirlpools expected by a good example of sculling, but what will happen is movement head first and that is what I am after.  That is the main teaching point, other important teaching points are keeping the hands in the water and keeping the upper arms by the side of the body.  Feet first sculling is a digger type action and I ask the children to imagine a digger (great for little boys who love big machinery), along with teaching tips of keeping the arms by the body and keeping hands in the water.  If your learners are having difficulty keeping their arms by their sides, tell them to think of Nemo (“Finding Nemo” or “Finding Dory”).  Nemo has very small fins on the side of his body and the children will probably enjoy emulating being a character out of a popular film franchise.

As the swimmers become more proficient at sculling, you can then add in more detailed instructions.  To begin with headfirst sculling, explain that the finger tips should point to the ceiling (think everything to up) and that you are pushing sand towards you and then away from you.  Staying with the pushing sand towards you analogy, but this time pointing the fingertips to the floor, the swimmer should aim to travel feet first.  If the swimmer feels the need to kick, this means that their sculling skills need adjusting and should be dealt with accordingly.  A relaxed body, small, but powerful hand movements and patience are key here, along with clear instructions.

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