Common Front Crawl Mistakes You May Be Making

The front crawl, also known as the freestyle stroke, is a common and entertaining swimming stroke to perfect. Learning this kind of stroke may increase your ability to swim quickly and fluidly in the water, while also teaching you how to have fun with a freestyle move that many competitors like to use.

However, there are a few mistakes that new front crawl learners tend to be making. It’s important to understand these mistakes are easily fixed and come naturally to a lot of beginners. You may or may not be aware of the mistakes you’re making, but it’s worth taking a look at some of these mistakes and learning how simple they are to fix. Check out the following information below so that you can understand the common front crawl mistakes you may be making!

Arm Movements

It’s a common mistake for swimmers to have “crooked” arms while trying to swim the front crawl. This happens when your arms end up underneath your stomach during the pulling part of the stroke. This is not the best arm movement for the front crawl because you can tend to slip a lot of water, which causes you to expend a lot more effort than you need to.

This can be amended by practicing your rotation movements during the arm pulling phase. You can achieve this by putting rotating so that only one of your shoulders is parallel to the water at a time. That way, you won’t have to rotate to get your arm to go straight out in front of you. You can practice this by sitting against the wall and noticing how your arm extends slightly to the side when you reach it out. Try focusing on not going crooked when you take a breath, as you can’t look at your hands while you are breathing.

Leg Movements

Your legs are essential to performing the front crawl effectively. The most common mistake is the bending of the knees during swimming, which will cause too much resistance in the water and make you feel like you are lagging behind and pulling too much weight. This is a good way to exhaust yourself out too quickly when you could otherwise be fast and efficient in the water.

You can correct this problem of the bending of the knees by kicking from your hip, rather than your thighs or knees. Focus on keeping your knees as straight behind you as possible at all times. Use small and fast kicks, rather than large, slapping kicks. You will find that this not only keeps you from bending the knees, but it speeds you up in the process.


A lot of people tend to wait too long to take their breath during the stroke. This can throw the entire rhythm of the stroke out of order, as it can slow your body down. Don’t wait until your hand exits the water for you to take your breath. This will mean that you will run out of breath to propel you forward.

In order to fix this, you can breathe as you start the pull, rather than when you finish it. Once your hand has gone into the water, start your breathing. You will find that this is a much easier way to breathe that will help you to get the most out of your stroke.

Body Positioning

When you swim too flat, with your belly pointed towards the bottom of the pool, you won’t be able to rotate as easily as you will need to for successfully completing this stroke. Staying flat means you are risking taking some serious damage to your rotator cuff, shoulder, and tendons.

Avoid painful body positioning by rotating your shoulders in a natural and flexible way when you are moving your arms. Extend your arms all the way in front of you so that you naturally roll to that side. Move with your shoulders, rather than against them. That way, you can achieve your stroke while keeping your body in a healthy shape.