Expert Flip Turns

Expert Flip Turns

A flip turn is simply a change of direction:  Head goes in, head goes out.

The biggest hang up about learning how to do a flip turn is getting over the whole idea of doing a tuck and roll.  A flip turn is not a summersault.

You go into the wall…and come off the wall.  Where your head goes, your body will follow.  It’s so simple that once you learn the technique you will realize that you’ve been wasting a lot of energy flailing around with the arms, the legs, holding the breath, etc until you feel like you’re going to explode.  Don’t.

Step 1:  Master the Head

A.  Swim a few strokes, then with the non dominant arm finish a stroke, leave it at your side, then with your dominant arm finish a stroke and while doing it let your head submerge and have the eyes look to the belly button.  Then pick the head back up, and do a few more strokes and repeat until you get the timing down – have the eyes follow the dominant hand as it finishes at the hip (again – eyes looking towards the belly button

Dominant Arm/Lead Arm gets ready to stroke as other arm is at side



Lead arm strokes down, watch with eyes, and dip head down/rolling the neck

Recover the head and practice this a few more times for a couple of 25’s until you get the timing just right.

B.  “T” Turns:  Approach wall, and when you see the ‘T’ on the bottom of the pool you are going to take that dominant arm, follow it with your eyes, roll on the back of your neck and think about using your eyes to check to see if you’re a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’ – your body will flip over, and then you will stand straight up on the bottom of the pool.  If you did it right you will be facing the wall.

Roll on the back of your neck, eyes to your hips









C.  Putting it all together.  Glide into the wall with your dominant hand out in front (other hand at your side) until you almost touch the wall:

Fingers almost touching the wall









Stroke/Pull the hand down quickly to your side with the eyes quickly following the hand, and you roll on the back of your neck.  Once you let your legs just flop over (you hinge at the hip, knees are soft), you allow your feet to just land on the wall.  Sit there for one second.  Your head should be looking up to the pool surface, your knees are bent on the wall as if you were in a half squat.  Then you will push off the wall while at the same time bringing up both hands close to the body up the midline, and as you push off you will shoot your hands up overhead in a streamlined position.  You WILL COME UP ON YOUR BACK.

It’s ok.  Practice a few 25’s where you go in freestyle, come out backstroke..  Core is tight when you come off the wall.  If you bend at the waist you will sink towards the bottom (and water will go up your nose)

Once you master this then your body will learn how to rotate as you push off the wall by simply turning your head towards the bottom and the arm that is on the bottom side will be the first one to stroke.








Knees bent on the wall




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