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Tumble Turns

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Why Bother with Tumble Turns?

If youíre a competitive person the answer is that itís a lot faster. You must have seen that people doing tumble turns take meters out of people who canít. Even a wobbly learner doing a tumble turn is faster than a hand touch.

If youíre not competitive but just want some exercise the answer is doing a tumble turn stops you having too much rest and enables you to work harder. You donít stop every 20-30 seconds for a rest when you go out for a jog or a bike ride so why should you do it in the pool.

So, youíve never done a tumble turn before?

Start with a few somersaults away from the wall using your hands to paddle yourself around if you need to. Then move closer to the wall but donít worry about planting your feet just yet, the first thing you need to do is prove to yourself is just how close you can go without banging your head.

You can actually go closer than you probably think when doing a tumble turn, particularly if you are somersaulting very slowly and cautiously. This is because when a somersault is done slowly the body and feet tend to sink and drift away from the wall whilst the head is down, thus you have to go very close to the wall to plant your feet onto it. If you turn a bit faster, you have less time to drift so you can start the tumble turn earlier and still get your feet on the wall.

Itís a bit like learning to parallel turn in skiing. When you know how to do it you can force it slowly but when youíre learning you just have to point yourself down hill to get some speed up and that makes it a lot easier.

So to get more speed, so that you can learn the correct distance, stand a couple of meters away from the wall and plunge forwards keeping both arms out in front of you. When you get as close to the wall as you are willing to go for your tumble turn pull yourself down into a somersault by pulling with both arms downwards at the same time. This double arm pull is very strong and will take you over surprisingly quickly. Try a few away from the wall first if it helps.

When youíve worked out a distance that suits you the final thing you need to sort out is the fact that when you push off youíll be on your back. After youíve practiced for a while youíll want to twist slightly as you turn over so that you plant your feet at ten or two oíclock. That way youíre half way to turning on to your front before youíve even pushed off the wall; but when youíre new to it and feel a bit lost upside down in the water the easiest thing to do is to just push off on your back and then be ready to twist around on to your front before you surface. Itís not ideal, but this kind of tumble turn still a lot quicker than a touching turn with the hand.

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