Push off correctly!
3 easy words will help you remember what to do:

  1. "SINK" - With one hand on the wall and the other hand extended toward the other end of the pool, allow body to sink about a foot under water.  (Head will follow hand on the wall.)
  2. "TOUCH" - Bring the hand which is touching the wall toward your ear by bending your elbow.  Touch the hand which is extended out toward the other end of the pool and squeeze ears as you get into streamline position on your side.  (Body is lateral or sideways.)
  3. "PUSH" - With both feet on the wall at a 90 degree angle, push off with your legs.  Use those legs to blast off the wall!
When you practice pushing off on your side, it engages your core and increases balance.  Balance is critical to proper technique in all strokes, rotation, proper turns, and streamlining.  Do not push off flat on your belly.

Watch the videos below for demonstrations.  

Typically, a swimmer will have at least 30-40 opportunities to practice proper push offs. Practice on both sides. Always take full advantage of your practice time!