Although your body’s position will vary slightly according to different maneuvers, there is a basic stance you should practice until it becomes natural. This position will allow you to keep your center of gravity low, eliminate spray in your face and protect yourself from premature fatigue. No matter which way you look at it, refining your body position won’t take long and will be the most important thing you learn all season.
FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
• Shoulders rolled back and relaxed
• Arms straight
• Hips slightly in front of shoulders
• Knees bent and flexed forward in front of ankles
• Ankles flexed up
• Toes relaxed or slightly elevated above water
SIDE TO SIDE
Many footers believe it is normal to have spray in their faces while barefooting. Fortunately, this is not the case; by relaxing your toes, you will allow the arch of your foot to flatten and help prevent spray in your face. Another technique to reduce spray is to angle your feet in a slight snowplow position with your toes closer together than your heels. This directs the spray sideways instead of into your face.
THE BOTTOM UP
The term glide is often used to explain the optimal barefoot position. Gliding simply refers to your foot sliding over the surface of the water rather than plowing through the water. Many footers attempt to over-glide and find that their feet wash out from under them without warning, resulting in a sudden head packer. To avoid this, have a slight forward resistance on your feet to prevent them from plowing and, at the same time, to keep your feet from washing out from under you.