Imitation exercises on dryland

The purpose of imitation exercises is to create a correct kinesthetic perception, to acquire the self-control methods. The program of exercises on dry land include imitation of positions on dry land. The question arises why positions should be imitated. The answer is that changing from one phase into another have the decisive importance. If the initial position of the phase is correct, it means that the arms, legs, the head and the body are in the best position, then throughout the whole phase it is possible to perform the correct movements. If the initial position is wrong already, nothing comes out of the further action either. On the other hand when all the movements have been performed correctly during the previous phase one would naturally reach the correct final position of the phase which is the initial position of the next phase, etc.

Imitating exercises may be performed individually, in pairs or three together. The positions will be taken on the exercise-bench, with the help of three or two swimmers- one holds the arms, the other legs. In order to increase kinesthetic sensitivity and to form a better image about the movement in memory it is necessary while imitating the positions to perform static efforts in positions in the right direction and for many muscle-groups at the same time. The static effort must be performed in the direction of the right movement but , using the isometric contraction. To verify the integration of the visual image , the imitation exercises of the positions should be performed also with closed eyes. If the correct position is taken with the eyes closed, it means that kinesthetic perception has been firmly achieved which is the precondition for mastering the further skills.

An important and effective influence in mastering the movements is the description of the positions verbally. When the swimmers listen to the descriptions given by the coach and act accordingly to them they are not able to memorize them as effectively as the descriptions of their own. The given information "goes in one ear and comes out the other", but what you have explained and described yourself verbally, is memorized better.

The best form of performing such dryland-type exercises where imitation includes verbal descriptions of orientation, is where one swimmer assists the other to imitate the position, puts it into words, and describes where the hands and legs are. Then the parts will be changed. This way both can imitate and also describe the right instructions verbally. In the training of the top-level swimmers the imitation of positions is used together with verbal descriptions in the state of light hypnosis which has given good results in improving their deeply rooted mistakes of technique. To sum it up, after imitation of positions on dryland give effect in the following exercises in water. On the basis of teaching observations we may conclude that the transfer of exercises from dryland into the water is noticeable especially in the coordination of swimming movements.

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