View Full Version : Favorite Freestyle Drills?

May 29th, 2013, 11:36 AM
One of my favorite parts of any workout is doing some drills. Not only do they break up the monotony of swimming back and forth, but they're a great chance to improve efficiency and focus on technique.

I'm always on the hunt for new drills to add to my repertoire. I put together this list of freestyle drills and explanation (http://www.onlineswimtrainer.com/tips/freestyle-technique-drills/)s that are my current favorites, but I'm looking for some new ones both as a swimmer and a coach. What else do people do?

The list:

Catch up swimming
Finger drag
3-6-3 swimming
One arm swimming
Closed fist swimming
Over swimming
Slow and technically perfect

May 29th, 2013, 12:50 PM
I really can't stand catch up drill and hate when the coach prescribes it. I've found that it tends to put a dead spot in my stroke.

To add to your list:
-My kids' coach makes them do wrist drag, just like finger drag, but your whole hand is in the water. Not sure what that does, besides slow you down;
-"Unco" short for uncoordinated, is a big Swim Smooth drill that I love. Basically one arm swimming but your non-stroking arm is at your side, and you breath to that side, not the stroking side. Very hard to do.
-Broken arrow is another SS drill. Like a 3-6-3 (or 6-1-6). When kicking on your side, you raise your stroking arm straight up, then "break the arrow" hold for a half second, then pierce the water with that hand and cycle to the other side.
-Doggy paddle. Really helps me with the underwater portion of the pull. Another SS drill. Can you tell I do lots of SS drills? ;)

May 29th, 2013, 02:01 PM
Hmm, never considered doggy paddle as an actual drill :) but I can see it making a lot of sense. It's almost like sculling meets freestyle with an underwater recovery.

Just watched this video about the broken arrow drill. I had never heard of it. What would you say it helps with for freestyle?

May 29th, 2013, 02:26 PM
My coach introduced me to the splash-back drill the other day. At the end of your stroke- you purposely make a splash backwards- really works your triceps and focuses you on completing your stroke.

May 29th, 2013, 02:36 PM
I like Leslie's torque drill. (Check the HIT workout thread for details.)

May 29th, 2013, 09:11 PM
In broken arrow I really concentrate on hand entry. Doggy paddle (the Swim Smooth way) let's me really work on my underwater pull.

May 29th, 2013, 10:43 PM
I think most drills are a waste of time the way they are used. If you have a specific problem or deficiency with your stroke, then a drill targeting that particular issue can be useful, but only if there is swimming right after with coaching feedback to help incorporate the correction into your full stroke.

Just having everyone randomly do their choice of drills is useless. Having everyone do the same drill, with an explanation of exactly what it is for can be productive, but only with observation and feedback.

As a distance guy, I hate any and all drills because that is lost workout time that could have been used on conditioning instead.

May 30th, 2013, 07:52 AM
One drill in particular that I like is kicking rotated to the side with head positioned for breathing as arm recovers slowly. Roll to the other side with a strong propulsive force with opposing arm, and do the same (it's the roll over drill in the old popov vid). It easily points out problems with rotation and breathing. But it can also make your stroke worse if not done with feedback. I do it with fins first and see if I can keep form when I remove them

June 9th, 2013, 10:22 AM
Sorry to post after a post, but it has been over a week and I found a variant to the one arm drill


yes, that's popov

June 10th, 2013, 10:35 AM
i really like doing:
catch up
finger tip
zipper (some also think this is finger tip, but not the way i do it)

i find 1 arm drills to not represent how you really swim with regards to your body position regardless of where you put the other arm. closed fist is a step backwards, imho. proper hand entry and hand placement and hand technique is of critical importantce, using a fist just keeps you doing it wrong but now its a drill as well!

June 10th, 2013, 04:27 PM
I like that splash back drill, I'll try it soon.