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Teaching Front Crawl Arms

The process of teaching front crawl arms to beginners can be straight forward if each stage of the lesson plan is followed carefully. 

The lesson plans on this page list some very basic drills with essential teaching points that, when followed can install a good quality arm pull technique in a beginner swimmer. 

Scroll down to discover more...

Lesson 3: Arm Pull

Aim: to introduce basic front crawl arm action

Equipment: floaters or kickboards and buoyancy aids as needed


Entry:  swivel entry

Warm up:  2 widths any stroke on the front

1. standing on the poolside demonstrating arm action

2. walking through the water using arms

3. single arm action with float held in one hand

4. repeat the above with the opposite arm

5. front crawl catch up holding a float

6. full stroke front crawl

Contrasting activity:

push and glide  

supine push and glide


using the pool steps or over the pool side

Teaching Point                         

enter slowly

take your time

continuous smooth action

keep fingers together

elbow exits first

finger tips enter first

reach over the water

smooth continuous arms

stretch out long

push your hips up

take your time

Lesson 3: Arm Pull with Timings

Swimming lesson plans for teaching front crawl arm technique to beginners

Key parts to look out for:

  • Finger tips enter first with thumb side down
  • Fingers should be together
  • Pull should be under the body
  • Pull through to the hips
  • Elbow exists the water first
  • Fingers clear the water on recovery
  • Hand enters the water inline with side of the head

Common mistakes:

  • Fingers are apart
  • Pull is to short and not to the thigh
  • Lack of power in the pull
  • Arm pull is too deep underwater
  • Elbow not exiting first
  • Arms are too straight on recovery

Teaching front crawl arm technique just got a whole lot easier...

Arm technique is made easier when the rest of the stroke parts are taught effectively too.  My very popular book 'How To Teach Front Crawl' contains all of the lesson plans and assessment tool you need to make your swimming lessons easy to teach. 

Lesson plans, assessment tools and a whole load more...

Grab a copy of my popular book 'How To Teach Front Crawl' and plan your swimming lessons to get the best out of your swimmers.

From basic technique drills, to advanced lesson plans and assessment tools - get the swimming teacher's definitive guide to teaching front crawl. 

Click the cover image to preview, or add to cart to download my book today.

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Click below to find other Front Crawl Lesson Plans...