Synchro is our passion. We created SynchroFitness to bring the health benefits of synchro to a much larger audience than just those who are on the competitive track. For class participants they get a great sense of achievement swimming something that looks neat – and its more fun and social that way. After all, that’s what differentiates us from other aqua disciplines.
So how do we ‘keep it synchro’ in our classes? Here are a few tips.
Swimming in time to the music and with each other
- Its pretty obvious – swimming the choreo in time with the music and each other is key.
- Be careful to be clear about the counts when you teach the choreo. Give the class time to absorb and practice your teaching points before swimming with the music.
- For the individual, its for them to swim the choreo accurately to the beat. This will bring the whole class together.
- Spend time in your classes perfecting the timing of hand, arm and head movements in particular because these are most visible above water.
Swimming with chin dry and head high
- One of the main distinguishing attributes of synchro compared with ordinary swimming is, when upright, swimming with the head high out of the water. To do this you need to help participants develop their egg beater and to encourage them to put effort into it – more exercise!
- Participants should be encouraged to get their shoulders out of the water just a little whilst egg beating.
- A good way of reminding them is to say swim with your “chin dry and head high”.
Compartmentalising the moves
- This tip is linked to swimming to the correct counts. By ‘compartmentalising’ the moves we mean encouraging your class the accurately complete a move within the counts given, before making the next move. Another way of thinking about this is to finish getting into a move and then holding it momentarily before transitioning to the next move. So, for instance, if the move is a Tub to be performed over a count of 4, encourage them to be there by 3 at the latest.
- As a progression you can encourage your class to perform moves more quickly and to hold them for longer. So, for instance, using the example above they could attempt to get into the Tub on 1 and hold it for counts 2-4 (3 beats). That is after they have accurately held the previous move! You will have to decide yourself if the tempo of the track lends itself to moving that fast.
Accurate spacing and pattern placing
- Accurate patterns look wonderful. Your class may start in neat lines, for instance, but can drift out of pattern, particularly if they do something like a back tuck. Encourage them to look at each other all the time whilst swimming and to adjust their position accordingly. And by look at each other we mean glancing or checking out of the corner of your eye rather than fully turning the head.
- Adjusting position whilst sculling involves tipping the hands up or down: tip up to move backwards, head first; tip down to move forwards or feet first. So if a swimmer is moving backwards without meaning to, they probably need to tip their fingers down a little whilst sculling to maintain a stationary position. Conversely, if they are moving forwards unintentionally, they probably need to tip their fingers up a little.
- Use of anchor points in formations. These are the key positions in patterns that everyone else uses to line up with. Explain the vision for the formation, then assign anchor point(s). If you have multiple anchor points they also need to aligning with each other so you may need to assign a ‘master’ anchor point.
- Anchor point examples (anchors in red):
- Practice swimming in accurate formations as warm up exercises. For example, swimming across the pool using Synchro Breast Stroke or Egg Beater. Focus on keeping lines straight and spacing constant. For a stroke, focus on performing the movement accurately to the count. With these type of exercises you need to assign an anchor point in each line.
Pre-planning and thinking on your feet
- Teaching SynchroFitness is all about thinking on your feet. Before you get to a class you will not know for sure how many participants you will have. During your prep for the class, think about the formations in the routine. Plan how you will position the class if you have a small turn out, a large turn out, an even number of swimmers or an odd number of swimmers.
- Try moving swimmers around if patterns don’t quite work but do this without singling out particular swimmers.
- You are advised not to deviate from the given formation too much because you may find another part of the routine doesn’t work so well later on in the class series.
- Videoing routines to show the class what their swims look like is the best way to help them understand how their synchronisation and accurate formations make their swims more synchro. However its not good to keep stopping the class to show them because they will get cold. Instead, make corrections before each swim and by the end of the session you should have a good swim to video and show them.
We hope these tips help you make your classes ‘more synchro’. Do send us your own tips.
Liz Fitzsimons is co-founder of SynchroFitness – fun, social and energising synchronised swimming fitness classes