Fabster Explains

Explains about the rules of competitive swimming and hockey, how to do each swimming stroke, how to perform each personal survival shape and positions in hockey!

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There are 4 different competitive strokes in swimming. The fastest competitive stroke in swimming is front crawl. The second fastest is butterfly, which is then followed by backstroke and then breaststroke. Each stroke has different movements and rules which will be explained later on.

Front Crawl (Freestyle)

In front crawl, you keep your upper body straight, and legs slightly sloped into the water and bent at the knees, kicking in an alternative action with movement coming from the hips. You should always look forwards with your head up. 

 Your hand should enter the water in front of your head thumb first, whilst your other arm is pulling through the water underneath your body in a ‘S’ motion, finally accelerating towards your thigh. 

As your arm enters the water in a slight bend, your other arm should be leaving the water elbow first. 

The arm in the water should be pulling the water underneath your body in an ‘S’ motion. Your other arm will be entering the water in front of your head. You then repeat this motion, breathing in just before your arm enters the water. On average, you should breathe every 3 arm pulls.


Backstroke is like an upside down front crawl and is the only competitive stroke to start in the water (the other 3 strokes start from a dive). 

Lie on your back and look towards the ceiling. Kick your legs up and down in an alternative motion which comes from the hips. Make sure when you kick that your ankles are relaxed and your toes are pointed. 

Your left arm will enter the water above your head and will move downwards and outwards, while your right arm comes out of the water in a straight motion. 

Under the water, your left arm continues to bend as it moves through the water, straightening and accelerating towards your thigh as your elbow reaches your waist line, therefore, getting a better push of the water. Now, your right arm should be straight over your head and entering the water little finger first. 

You then repeat this except with the right hand entering the water first. Repeat this sequence.


Butterfly is probably the hardest stroke to learn because of its wavelike movement of the whole body, making it very physically demanding.

Your arms should enter the water, thumbs and fingers first, about shoulder width apart. Your legs should start the first down beat. 

Once your arms are in the water, move them downwards, ensuring your elbows are higher than your hands. Your legs should have finished the first downwards kick. 

Next, the arms come backwards and inwards under the chest. The legs move back towards the surface to begin the next kick. 

Your arms now move backwards and outwards, accelerating towards the thighs, while your legs begin the second downwards kick. (This stage provides the most propulsion through the water) 

Next, your arms will come out of the water around hip level, lead by your elbows. Your body position is high, making this the right time to breathe. Your legs would have finished their second downwards kick. Return to the start.


You keep your body streamlined and just under the surface with the eyes looking down the lane. Your hip maintains the momentum of the previous kick.

Your thighs move upwards to lift the legs. Your hands move to the side just wide of the shoulders, then lift gradually, ensuring your hands are pointing down.

Your body rises, and you elbows bend sharply, while your hands move inwards, still facing towards the bottom of the pool. Leg recovery starts as the knees bend.

The bent arms are drawn vigorously inwards as the pull ends. Your hands continue forward without hesitation. Your head emerges out of the water as the body is elevated. The hips press downward, causing the legs and feet to lift.

Your shoulders and upper back are clear of the water and this is when you breathe. You then bring your heels close to your buttocks with the feet just below         the surface.

Your arms extend forward with shoulders following to enable you to get a longer reach; the feet are flexed outward as the kick starts. Your head lunges forward and submerges into the water.

The hips extend, thighs and buttocks lift in reaction. Leg drive nears completion; your feet accelerate through this powerful phase of the kick.

You are now streamlined during a short glide just below the water surface. You now go back to the beginning and start the process over again.

Rules for Competitive Swimming

The ASA (Amateur Swimming Association) is the National Governing Body for England. They create the rules for any swimming competition taking place in the UK. They get the rules from FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation) which is the International Governing Body of swimming. The ASA rules are a lighter version of the FINA rules, but are still applied in EVERY swimming competition and they have to be followed otherwise you will be DISQUALIFIED from your race and maybe further races and competitions.






Individual Medley

Body not on the breast (except when executing a turn)

Arms not brought backward simultaneously

Arms not brought forward together

Arms not brought forward over the water

Breaststroke kick used (legal in Masters’ Competitions)

Movements of the legs not simultaneous

Alternating movement of legs or feet

Did not touch at turn or finish with both hands, or touch not simultaneous

More than one arm pull under water (following start or turn)

Head did not break the surface at or before 15m mark following start or turn

Not on surface during stroke (except first 15m following start or turn)

Left position on the back (other than to initiate a turn)

Totally submerged, (except for first 15m following the start or turn or at the finish

Not on back when leaving the wall

More than one single or double simultaneous arm pull used to initiate the turn

Did not touch the wall during the turn

Not on the back at finish

Single fly kick not performed during the 1st arm stroke or followed by a breast kick

Stroke cycle not one arm stroke to one leg kick

Arm movements not simultaneous

Hands not pushed forward together from the breast on, under, or over the water

Elbows over water except last stroke before turn, during turn or final stroke at finish

Hands brought back beyond hip line (except after 1st stroke following start or turn)

Head not breaking surface during stroke cycle (except after start & turn)

Leg movements not simultaneous (alternating leg movement)

Feet not turned out during the propulsive part of the kick

Did not touch at turn or finish with both hands, or touch not simultaneous

Did not touch the wall at the turn or finish

Totally submerged (except for the first 15m at start and turn)

Head did not break surface at or before 15m mark following start or turn

Incorrect individual stroke order (Fly, Back, Breast, Free)

Finish of each stroke not in accordance with rules for the particular stroke


Personal Survival

In Personal Survival, there are 2 main positions to hold if you have fallen into cold water. However, these 2 positions should NEVER be used in swift river currents or whitewater as this may lead to drowning.


H.E.L.P Position


The H.E.L.P (Heat Escaping Lessening Position) is an attempt to warm up the water around you to reduce the chance of hypothermia; when your body temperature drops too low to perform normal voluntary or involuntary functions.

The H.E.L.P position is best done with a PFD (Personal Floatation Device). A good example of a PFD is life jackets. However, if you are not wearing a life jacket or any other floatation device, it is best to take your trousers of and tie 2 knots at the end of each leg; then you blow up the trouser and use it as your floating device, making sure no air escapes. A PFD allows you to hold the H.E.L.P position more easily and also allows you to draw your knees to your chest and your arms to your side; therefore, making the position more effective by reducing the heat lost.


The H.E.L.P position involves drawing the knees up to the chest and crossing your feet. Keeping the face forward and out of the water; hold your upper arms at your side and fold your lower arms across the chest, (or hug yourself and put your hands under your armpits).


The Huddle

The HUDDLE position is used as a heat conservation method in cold water. A small group circles and stays close, by doing so, the water inside the circle is much warmer from the given off body heat, allowing people of the circle to avoid hypothermia longer. They each have a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) which keeps them afloat. They keep there backs straight, resting there arms on each other so they are all supported and that they are as close to each other as possible. They bend there knees slightly towards the middle of the circle to help make them float and keep them warm. The HUDDLE position is done with 3 or more people.


Hockey, or otherwise known as field hockey, has several regular international tournaments for both men and women. These include the Olympic Games, the Hockey World Cups, the annual Champions Trophies and many more. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is the global governing body.


Hockey is a team sport which consists of 11 players and up to 5 substitutions. It is a game in which a team of players try to score goals by getting the hockey ball into the opponents goal with there stick. There are no fixed positions in hockey; however, the most common positions used are left wing, right wing, 2 attackers, 3 midfielders, a left back, a right back, a sweeper and a goalkeeper.

Players on the pitch usually wear shin pads, mouth guard and a glove for protection during the match. Goalkeepers wear full body protection, including the head, to minimize damage when ball comes in contact. Every single player on the pitch must not let the ball touch their feet otherwise it is a foul; this excludes goalkeepers as they are aloud to use any part of their body to stop the ball, as long as they are inside their area, which is known as the ‘D’. Goalkeepers are also aloud to slide tackle opponents if they are inside the ‘D’.

Hockey Rules 

A hockey match is officiated by 2 field Umpires, usually one from each team, who is each located one half of the pitch to officiate. The umpires control the game by following the rules set by the International Hockey Federation. Few Rules applied:


Field of play

Composition of teams

Players’ clothing and equipment

Match and result

The field of play is rectangular, 91.40 metres long and

55.00 metres wide.

Side-lines mark the longer perimeters of the field ; backlines

mark the shorter perimeters of the field.

The goal-lines are the parts of the back-lines between the


A centre-line is marked across the middle of the field.

Lines known as 23 metres lines are marked across the field

22.90 metres from each back-line.

Areas referred to as the circles are marked inside the field

around the goals and opposite the centres of the backlines.

Penalty spots 150 mm in diameter are marked in front of

the centre of each goal with the centre of each spot 6.40

metres from the inner edge of the goal-line.

All lines are 75 mm wide and are part of the field of play.

Flag-posts between 1.20 and 1.50 metres in height are

placed at each corner of the field.

Goals are positioned outside the field of play at the centre

of and touching each back-line.

A maximum of eleven players from each team take part in

play at any particular time during the match.

Each team has either a goalkeeper or player with

goalkeeping privileges on the field or plays only with field


Field players who leave the field for injury treatment,

refreshment, to change equipment or for some reason

other than substitution are only permitted to re-enter

between the 23 metres areas on the side of the pitch used

for substitutions.

No persons other than field players, players with goalkeeping

privileges, goalkeepers and umpires are permitted on the

field during the match without the permission of an umpire.

Players on or off the field are under the jurisdiction of the

umpires throughout the match including the half-time


A player who is injured or bleeding must leave the field

unless medical reasons prevent this and must not return

until wounds have been covered ; players must not wear

blood stained clothing.

Field players of the same team must wear uniform clothing.

Players must not wear anything which is dangerous to other


Goalkeepers and players with goalkeeping privileges must

wear a single coloured shirt or garment which is different in

colour from that of both teams.

Goalkeepers must wear protective equipment comprising

at least headgear, leg guards and kickers except that the

headgear and any hand protectors may be removed when

taking a penalty stroke.

A player with goalkeeping privileges may wear protective

headgear when inside their defending 23 metres area ; they

must wear protective headgear when defending a penalty

corner or penalty stroke.

Clothing or protective equipment which significantly

increases the natural size of a goalkeeper’s body or area of

protection is not permitted.

The ball is spherical, hard and white (or an agreed colour

which contrasts with the playing surface).

The stick has a traditional shape with a handle and a curved

head which is flat on its left side.

A match consists of two periods of 35 minutes and a halftime

interval of 5 minutes.

The team scoring the most goals is the winner ; if no goals

are scored, or if the teams score an equal number of goals,

the match is drawn.

Direction of play is reversed in the second half of the match.


One player of each team must be appointed as captain.

A replacement captain must be appointed when a captain

is suspended.

Captains must wear a distinctive arm-band or similar

distinguishing article on an upper arm or shoulder.

Captains are responsible for the behaviour of all players on

their team and for ensuring that substitutions of players on

their team are carried out correctly.

A personal penalty is awarded if a captain does

not exercise these responsibilities.


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1 Comment
  1. bob
    Posted August 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm


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