Performance in the front crawl and backstroke techniques 

through a traditional and a physical-recreational method

Rendimiento en la técnica de crol y espalda mediante un método tradicional y otro físico-recreativo


*Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPE

**Club de Natación Educoach


Mg. María Lorena Sandoval Jaramillo*


Lic. Gerardo Javier Llumiquinga Muñoz**


Lic. Eduardo David Sandoval Jaramillo**







          The present paper determines how water activities remarkably improve swimming lessons, not only in regard to the working environment but what is most important, the influence of the swimming techniques in well directed activities. The proposal of ludic activities in water sports for beginners aims to determine the influence of these activities in the teaching development, and compare it to the traditional teaching method in order to improve this process, which is directly related to the wellbeing of the swimmer, their motivation to attend to class, the frequency and permanence. This study was carried out at EDUCOACH swimming club, with a population of 30 junior swimmers. One group (experimental group) was undergone to the new activities, while the other (Control Group) continued with the traditional method. To begin the study, each of the members of each group will be assessed in order to know the effectiveness level of the swimming technique. In addition, after the implementation of the program it was applied a second assessment, in order to compare the results and verify whether there was an improvement in any of the groups.

          Keywords: Swimming. Front crawl. Backstroke. Traditional training. Physical-recreational training.



          La presente investigación determina cómo las actividades acuáticas mejoran considerablemente las clases, no solo en cuanto al ambiente de trabajo sino en lo más importante que es la influencia en las técnicas de nado mediante estas actividades bien dirigidas. La propuesta de elaboración de actividades lúdicas en el medio acuático, para los nadadores en iniciación de la natación busca determinar la influencia que existe en la aplicación de estas actividades con el desarrollo de la enseñanza, a su vez comparar con el estilo de enseñanza tradicional, con el fin de mejorar este proceso que está relacionado directamente con el bienestar del nadador, motivación con la que asisten a sus clases, frecuencia y permanencia de asistencia. Este estudio se realizó en el Club de Natación EDUCOACH, manejamos una población de 30 nadadores infantiles. Un grupo se sometió (Grupo Experimental) a las nuevas actividades lúdicas mientras el otro grupo continuara su aprendizaje con el método tradicional (Grupo Control).Para el inicio del estudio se realizará una evaluación para conocer el grado de efectividad en la técnica de cada uno de los nadadores en los diferentes grupos. Adicionalmente se realizó una evaluación luego de que el programa fue aplicado para obtener los resultados y realizar la comparación y verificar la mejora de cada uno de los grupos en la parte técnica.

          Palabras clave: Natación. Técnica crol. Técnica de espalda. Entrenamiento tradicional. Entrenamiento físico-recreativo.


Recepción: 13/01/2017 - Aceptación: 03/04/2017


1ª Revisión: 09/03/2017 - 2ª Revisión: 28/03/2017


Lecturas: Educación Física y Deportes, Revista Digital. Buenos Aires, Año 22, Nº 227, Abril de 2017. http://www.efdeportes.com/

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    The proposal to elaborate ludic activities for beginning swimmers aims to determine the influence in the development of teaching and compare it to the traditional method in order to improve this process directly related to the wellbeing of the child, their motivation to attend to class, the frequency and permanence.

    According to Ramos Rodríguez and collaborators (2004), the recreational games carried out in rivers, pools or beaches (with precaution) provide more fun than any other recreational activity; confidence in themselves and the opportunity to help others in case of danger; develop reliability and security; and contribute to achieve good health through physical exercise.

    In addition, swimming is in great advantage compared to other sports since it can be practiced by anyone and even its learning can take place at any age (Moreno & Sanmartín, 1998; Ketcham, Lucarelli, Miravete, & Roebuck, 2012; Herrera, & Barbero, 2013).

    Due to the abovementioned, we found that there are swimming programs for babies, children, youths, adults, elders and for handicapped people (Graćanin, Medjedović, Mekić, Mavrić, & Obreslikov, 2012; Gallego, Aguilar, Cangas, Torrecillas, Javier, Justo, & Mañas, 2012).

    However, for many people, swimming is a sport that favors personal development in all dimensions.

    In the case of our society, the teaching of swimming begins at the age of six (Garcia, & Ramírez, 2014), without taking into account that a big percentage of the Ecuadorian population hasn’t had access to a swimming lesson and does not even know how to swim.

    The role of the professor during swimming sessions consists also on the capacity to favour and increase the motivation of the students (Suárez, Zoghbi, & Aguiar, 2013; Júlio, Samuel, João, & Luís, 2014) due to the relationship the child develops during the activities and the trend to physical inactivity.

    In the theory and methodology of the future swimmer’s training, there are several methods (Melo, Moreno, & Aguirre, 2012) to apply during the teaching-learning process, for which they adapt in order to achieve a high sport performance in a short period of time (Morán-Navarro, 2016), making emphasis in the individualization of the loads according to the characteristics of the athlete (Álvarez, Morales, & Artile, 2012), as in the case of high intensity trainings (Eguía, Guzmán, & Soto, 2013), for which are compared different planning models such as traditional and inverse periodization, setting which is the more ideal, as it was stated in Arroyo, Clemente, González, Ramos, & Sortwell (2014) an aspect that is even experienced in other sports (Paucar, Pisuña, Calero, Coral, Loachamin y Rodríguez, 2017).

    The search for sport improvement implies a redesign of strategies that should adapt to the characteristics of the subject, for which several successful training models are not infallible in all cases. Such is the case of the technical training with lack of motivation.

    Although the modelling of the training in initial stages prioritizes the technique (Mitchell, Oslin, & Griffin, 2013), it must be accompanied by incentives for the athlete not to have a motivational gap that leads them to sport defection; therefore it is inferred that the higher the level of motivation the more technical learning.

    One of the strategies that might influence the technical learning of the swimmer is related to physical and recreational tasks, more related to physical activity than to sport training. The idea is based on the recreational component that favors the motivation of the students regardless the sport (Kondric, Sindik, Furjan, & Schiefler, 2013; Ball, Bice, & Parry, 2014), since motivation per se is an essential factor in the loss of interest towards the practice of physical activities and sports, as affirmed by Kondakov, Kopeikina, Balysheva, Usatov, & Skrug (2015). For that reason, the game as a priority method in recreation, can serve as a motivational element in the beginning of the speed training of the swimmer (Domínguez, 2012), as well as other training aspects.

    On the other hand, the traditional aspect leads training to deepen in the implementation of intensive physical capabilities adapted to the needs of the athlete, according to their biological and chronological age (Olbrecht, 2015; Papoti, & et al, 2017).

    Given the aforementioned, this paper aims to determine which of the methods (traditional or physical-recreational) improves the best the performance of the Crawl and Backstroke techniques in junior swimmers of the Educoach Club in Sangolquí, Ecuador.


    The present research paper is experimental, since a program of water ludic activities will be implemented in order to enhance the learning of crawl and backstroke swimming techniques, and at the same time will be applied the corresponding evaluations to check the effectiveness of the program.

    The research is carried out at Educoach club located in the city of Sangolquí, province of Pichincha in 2015. The sample includes 30 children, which will be all undergone to study: 15 for the experiment group (physical-recreational proposal), and 15 for the control group (traditional method). The evaluation methods are fact sheets created by the professors of the Educoach Club. To check the best training methods for the technical training, is applied a test to assess the performance before and after the six-month proposal. To determine the existence or not of significant differences is applied the Wilcoxon signed-rank test (p≤0,05) for two related samples, comparing the initial tests (pre-test) with the final tests (post-test) of the control and experiment group separated.

    Given the existence of significant differences when applying both training methods in the case of the backstroke technique, was applied the Mann-Whitney U test for two independent samples (p≤0,05) comparing the results of the pre-test in both groups (experiment and control).


    It was made the following evaluation sheet for different techniques, taking into account certain aspects such as:

    These aspects have their respective assessment items, for their evaluation was stated a reference score in an effectiveness scale in the execution of the specific indicator in several repetitions of the complete technique where:

Table 1. Observation Form for the evaluation of the Crawl and Backstroke techniques (In Spanish)

    The evaluation procedure was made taking into account the swimming techniques in a 50 metre distance. The evaluation team is made up by 3 certified swimming professors.

    The program consisted on planned contents that develop through ludic adaptations with and without materials as didactic resources to teach swimming.

    The technical contents chosen for the program respond to the goals of the teaching-learning process and the improvement of the crawl and backstroke techniques, using as instrument aquatic ludic activities.

Results and discussion

    Table 2 shows the values obtained in a pre-evaluation and a post-evaluation applied on both groups.

Table 2. Data obtained in the pre-test and the post-test for the evaluation of the crawl or freestyle technique

    The comparison of the pre-test with the post-test in the experiment group determined the existence of significant differences (p=0,001), as it is demonstrated when applying the Wilcoxon Signed-rank test, existing 15 positive ranks in the evaluation of the Crawl or freestyle technique.

    On the other hand, by comparing the data obtained before and after the implementation of the traditional method (Control Group), there were found no significant differences (p=0,175), showing 10 positive ranks, four negative ranks and one draw, inferring that the traditional method did not improve the performance of the technique.

Graphic 1. General analysis of the Crawl technique

    Improvement average of the crawl technique: the experiment group improves in near 20 percentage points in comparison to the control group, whose improvement is minimal with almost one percentage point, which shows that the experiment program had a favourable incidence in enhancing the technique.

    Table 3 shows the values of the pre-evaluation and the post-evaluation carried out on the two groups in the backstroke technique.

Table 3. Data obtained in the pre-test and the post-test for the evaluation of the Backstroke technique

    The Wilcoxon signed rank test determined the existence of significant differences (p=0,001) by comparing the pre-test and the post-test as part of the experiment group that was undergone to the training proposal with a recreational approach, existing 15 positive ranks out of 15 possible. On the other hand, the comparison of the pre-test with the post-test in the control group (applied with thetraditional training method), determined the existence of significant differences (p=0,002), according to the Wilcoxon signed rank test, inferring a substantial improvement of the backstroke with the traditional training.

    Since both training methods determined substantial improvements in the backstroke technique, it is worth comparing the results of the post-test in both groups. The comparison with the Mann-Whitney Test determined the existence of significant difference in the records of the backstroke performance (p=0,000), but the experiment group showed a better average rank (21,67) than the control group (9,33), which deducts that the experiment group improved the performance in the backstroke technique much more than the control group. For the present study, the training method with a recreational approach allowed improving the technical performance more than the traditional method.

Graphic 2. General analysis of the backstroke technique

    Average improvement in the backstroke technique: the experiment group improves almost 17 percentage points in comparison to the control group, whose improvement is near eight percentage points, which shows that the physical-recreational program had a favourable incidence in correcting the technique.

    The results of the present paper, in the opinion of the authors, are related to the motivational character of the physical-recreational sport practice specialized in games or activities included in the experiment program, which in the opinion of authors such as Ramos Rodríguez and collaborators (2004), provide entertainment, self-confidence and reliability, as well as other useful aspects to enhance initial teaching (Calero, 2013, 2014).

    On the other hand and according to the amount of teaching swimming programs (Graćanin, Medjedović, Mekić, Mavrić, & Obreslikov, 2012; Gallego, Aguilar, Cangas, Torrecillas, Javier, Justo, & Mañas, 2012; Melo, Moreno, & Aguirre, 2012), they can be classified in traditional or experimental as the present case, in which is essential the implementation of pertinent actions that favor the necessary motivation for learning and for the permanence of the swimmer during the entire training process (Suárez, Zoghbi, & Aguiar, 2013; Júlio, Samuel, João, & Luís, 2014).

    It is precisely the motivating factor that allows strengthening in a short, and mostly in a long term period, the sport performance, and it is necessary to adapt the planning for a better assimilation of the content as soon as possible (Morán-Navarro, 2016), making emphasis in the teaching of the technique in the initial phases (Mitchell, Oslin, & Griffin, 2013). Hence the need of establishing strategies and actions to achieve high sport performance in a short period of time applying training models with a physical-recreational approach, as the present paper describes.

    As recommendations is indicated the following:



    To there search project: Gestión de competencias para publicaciones científicas en estudiantes de pregrado y postgrado de la Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPE.


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