Level One

Swimming is a wonderful lifelong activity and a great competitive sport. In order to make the learning and skill acquisition process more effective, it is important to follow a curriculum. The Levels System has been designed to assist in that regard. This course covers the physiological, psychological, tactical and technical aspects of the most important stage in the process, Level One.

Intro to the Levels System of Progressive Development

What Is The Levels System?

Introducing, The Levels System

A System For Progressive Athlete Development

As parents, educators and coaches will all have the same goal; to properly prepare the children in our care for long-term success, in a variety of arenas. To meet that goal, we strive to develop a set of skills within the child that they can use to meet future challenges. As coaches, we use swimming as a vehicle to introduce these skills. The Levels System guides us throughout an athlete’s career to ensure that we introduce these skills in an effective and a developmentally appropriate manner.

With a clear picture of type of individuals we are trying to foster, we can define the skills sets we need to develop. The Levels System has identified the skills needed for success growth in our sport by beginning with the end in mind. Our sport is fortunate to have Olympians as role models. We used that ideal as our model.

We know that not every swimmer will be an Olympian, but they can all learn, internalize and live the Olympic ideals of vision, focus, persistence, commitment and discipline. These ideals have set the standard for Blue Wave and are the basis for selecting the skills to be included in the system.

The Levels System also gives us a road map to help determine when to introduce the skills and how much to stress them. If a skill is stressed too much or introduced too soon, the athlete’s long-term development may be compromised. Have you ever seen a novice body builder with huge arms and virtually no lower body development? Skills should be introduced at the appropriate time to complement other skills and prepare the athlete for the next set.

The skills are not just about competitive performance. The Levels System addresses physiological, psychological, tactical and technical factors as well. An athlete must address every aspect required for level completion to progress through the system…not just competitive performance-based ones. A holistic approach to athletic development, lessens the risk for injuries, plateaus or burnout.

Development is a process not an event...and we want everyone involved to enjoy the process. We invite to explore the system with your child. When the swimmer, parent and coach all have the same vision and goals, success is inevitable.

Technical

Skill One

SKILL ONE

  • Streamlines off walls (knows "T" to an "I")

Skill Two

Skill Two - Body Dolphin

  • understands the importance and demonstrates effective body dolphin off each wall.

Skill Three

Skill Three - Kick Transition

  • Maintaining rhythm as the swimmer does from butter to flutter 

Skill Four

Skill Four - Bottom Hand

  • Powerful bottom hand without breath (5/5/5 minimum concept).

Skill Five

Skill Five - Opposites

  • demonstrates an understanding of opposites as they apply to swimming all four strokes, ("pop the shoulder" "boil left, middle, right”, “seesaw”, “press the chest”, etc.)

Introducing, The Stroke Scorecard

The Stroke Scorecard

To Move on to Level Two, the swimmer should have a basic understand of the concepts of each of the competitive strokes. The scorecard breaks up each stroke into five (5) phases:

  • Underwater
  • Legs
  • Arms
  • Head Position
  • Rhythm

There are five (5) skill in each section. To make the scorecard more relevant to swimmers, each skill can be graded as follows:

  • 0 Points – Skill Not Demonstrated 
  • 1 Point – Skill Partially Demonstrated 
  • 2 Points – Skill Fully Demonstrated

Once evaluated on each skill, the coach multiples the swimmers raw score by two (2).  This will give the swimmer a score out of one hundred (100) possible points; just like they are used to in school. Below is an example scorecard which contains of all the elements needed to become a proficient swimmer.

Stroke Evaluation Scorecard

Swimmer’s Name_________________________ D.O.B._____________________ Date_____________

FREESTYLE

Underwater

____Are The Arms “Supporting” The Head During The Streamline (Wink)?

____Does The Swimmer Use An Effective Body Dolphin Off The Start/Turn?

____Does The Swimmer Hold The Streamline After The Body Dolphin And Flutter Kick?

____Is There A Good Transition From The Stream Line To The First Stroke (No Statue Of Liberty)?

____Is The First Stroke Taken Without A Breath?

Section Sub Total____

Legs

____Is There A Constant 6 Beat Kick?

____Do The Legs Roll With The Body (“C to D”)?

____Do The Legs Stay Within The Invisible Cylinder Surrounding The Body?

____Is There Ample Ankle Flexibility (Toes In)?

____Is The Kick “Boiling” The Water (Feet Not Too High)?

Section Sub Total____

Head Position

____Does The Head Remain In A Neutral Position When Not Breathing?

____Does The Swimmer Breathe To Both Sides (Bi-Lateral)?

____Does The Head Roll With The Body On Each Breath?

____Is One Eye “Wet” On The Breath?

____Is There Evidence Of Proper Air Exchange?

Section Sub Total____

Arms  

____Is There Full Extension On Each Stroke (Place)?

____Does The Swimmer Keep the Elbow High On Initial Catch (Press)?

____Does The Hand Continue Down The Center Of The Body (No Crossover) w/High Elbows (Pull)?

____Does The Hand Accelerate Through The Finish w/Full Extension (Push)?

____Does The Out Of Water Recovery Aid With Body Roll?

Section Sub Total____

Rhythm

____Is There A “Heart Beat” Feel To The Stroke (Riding The Place)?

____Is There An Even & Noticeable Body Roll?

____Are There Any Pauses During The Breaths?

____Are There Any Pauses During The Arm Recoveries?

____Is There A Consistent Stroke Rate?

Section Sub Total____

Total Points____ Your Score________%

Evaluated By_________________________ Date______________

0 Points – Skill Not Demonstrated 1 Point – Skill Partially Demonstrated 2 Points – Skill Fully Demonstrated

Blue Wave Evaluation Scorecard

Swimmer’s Name_________________________ D.O.B._____________________ Date_______________

BREASTROKE

Underwater

____Is There A Long, Tight & Deep Streamline & Body Dolphin To begin The Pullout

____Is The Initial Underwater Pull Strong, w/Elbows High and Accelerating Throughout?

____Is The Body Then Held In The Second Glide Position Properly?

____Is The Under Body Arm Recovery Close To The Body & Brought To Streamline w/a Strong Kick?

____Does The Swimmer Employ An Explosive First Stroke After The Pullout Without Pausing?

Section Sub Total____

Head

____Does The Head Thrust Up High, Bring The Hips Forward, During The Breath?

____Does The Head Thrust Forward & Down As The Arms Shot Forward?

____Does The Head Get Into A Neutral Position After The Arm Recovery (Eyes Down)?

____Does The Swimmer Resist “Looking” At Other Swimmers?

____Does The Head Go Down Into The Wall?

Section Sub Total____

Arms

____Is There A Full Extension As The Arms Shoot Forward (Place)?

____Do The Arms Stay Streamlined As The Kick Finishes And The Body Presses Forward? (Press)

____Is There An Effective Scull Out To Initiate The Catch?

____Do The Hands Accelerate On The Pull With Elbows High (Pull)?

____Does The Swimmer Have No Pause(s) Between The Initial Catch And The Arms Shooting Forward?

Section Sub Total____

Legs

____Are The Feet Equally Flexed Back During Every Part Of The Kick (Except The Streamline)?

____Is There Symmetry Throughout The Kick (Not One-Side Dominant)?

____Is There A Full Range Of Motion Throughout (Feet To Butt, “W”, Downward Sweep & Clap )?

____Do The Knees Stay About Two Fists Apart?

____Do The Thighs Stay Near Parallel To The Pool Bottom?

Section Sub Total____

Rhythm

____Does The Swimmer Glide After Each Stroke (Start w/Full Extension)?

____Do The Arms Initiate The Action?

____Do The Feet Follow?

____Is There Explosiveness To The Pull & Kick?

____Is The Glide, Pull & Kick Sequence Timed To Create A Wave Action (Undulation)?

Section Sub Total____

Total Points____ Your Score________%

Evaluated By_________________________ Date______________

0 Points – Skill Not Demonstrated 1 Point – Skill Partially Demonstrated 2 Points – Skill Fully Demonstrated

Blue Wave Stroke Evaluation Scorecard

Swimmer’s Name_________________________ D.O.B._____________________ Date_______________

BACKSTROKE

Underwater

____Is There A Tight Streamline With The Swimmer’s Body On It’s Side?

____Is the Body Dolphin Performed Fast With Equal Emphasis On Front And Back?

____Does The Swimmer Effectively Roll From Their Side And Flutter Kick?

____Is There A Strong Transition From Underwater To The Breakout?

____Did The Swimmer Go 14.99 Meters Underwater?

Section Sub Total____

Head

____Does The Head Maintain A Neutral Position?

____Does The Head Resist A Side-To-Side Sway?

____Is There Evidence Of A Structured Breathing Pattern?

____Does The Swimmer Resist Looking For The Flags?

____Is Head In Proper Position For the Finish?

Section Sub Total____

Arms

____Is The Recovery Thumb First, Hand High And Without Crossovers?

____Does The Athlete Extend The Hand And Roll The Body On The Entry (Place)?

____Does The Hand Scull Downward With The Elbow High (Press)?

____Does The Hand Then Accelerate & Sweep Up (Without breaking The Surface)?

____Does The Hand “Arm Wrestle” Down & Sweep Somewhat Out To Finish Fast?

Section Sub Total____

Legs

____Is There A Constant 6 Beat Kick?

____Does The Legs Roll With The Body (“C to D”)?

____Do The Legs Stay Within The Invisible Cylinder Surrounding The Body?

____Is There Ample Ankle Flexibility (Toes In)?

____Is The Kick “Boiling” The Water (Left, Mid, Right, Mid)?

Section Sub Total____

Rhythm

____Is There A “Heart Beat” Feel To The Stroke (Riding The Place)?

____Is There An Even & Noticeable Body Roll?

____Are There Any Pauses On The Breaths?

____Are There Any Pauses On The Arm Recoveries?

____Is There A Consistent Stroke Rate?

Section Sub Total____

Total Points____ Your Score________%

Evaluated By_________________________ Date______________

0 Points – Skill Not Demonstrated 1 Point – Skill Partially Demonstrated 2 Points – Skill Fully Demonstrated

Blue Wave Stroke Evaluation Scorecard

Swimmer’s Name_________________________ D.O.B._____________________ Date_______________

BUTTERFLY

Underwater

____Is There A Tight Streamline With The Swimmer’s Body On It’s Side?

____Is the Body Dolphin Performed Fast With Equal Emphasis On Front And Back?

____Does The Swimmer Effectively Roll From Their Side Maintaining A Fast Body Dolphin?

____Is There A Strong Transition From Underwater To The Breakout?

____Did The Swimmer Go 14.99 Meters Underwater?

Section Sub Total____

Head

____Does The Head Go Forward, Not Up, On the Breath?

____Is The Breath Taken During Power Phase Of The Stroke?

____Does The Head Help With The Body Press After The Arm Recovery (Eyes Down)?

____Does The Swimmer Resist “Looking” At Other Swimmers?

____Does The Head Go Down Into The Wall?

Section Sub Total____

Arms

____Is The Recovery Relaxed & Symmetrical?

____Do The Arms Fully Extend After The Recovery (Place)?

____Do The Hands Stay Out In Front As The Body Presses (Press)?

____Do The Hands Pull Under The Body, Elbow High (Pull)?

____Does The Stroke Finish Strong Accelerating Past The Hips & Thighs (Push)?

Section Sub Total____

Legs

____Do The Hips Pop Up Before Every Kick?

____Do The Feet Stay Together (Symmetry) ?

____Is There A Transition From A “Big Kick / Little Kick”?

____Are The Toes The Last To Go Under the Water During The Second Kick?

____Is The Kick A Part Of The Body Dolphin (Not Just From The Knees Down)

Section Sub Total____

Rhythm

____Is There A Consistent Stroke Rate?

____Does The Head Go In Before The Arms Enter The Water

____Do the Hips Come Up Before The Stroke Is Initiated?

____Do The Hands Accelerate Through The Entire Stroke?

____Is The Body Dolphin Movement Coordinated With The Stroke (Undulation)?

Section Sub Total____

Total Points____ Your Score________%

Evaluated By_________________________ Date______________

0 Points – Skill Not Demonstrated 1 Point – Skill Partially Demonstrated 2 Points – Skill Fully Demonstrated

Test Question 1

  • right
  • wrong