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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

Swimming lesson plans for teaching front crawl arm technique to beginners

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

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 Be A Swimming Teacher' contains all of the exercises and drills you will need to make your front crawl lessons awesome.  Adding them to your swimming lesson plans could not be easier!

Click here for more details, or click below and instantly download your copy. No sign ups, no details needed, just an email address to receive the link to your copy. 

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