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Thread: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

  1. #1
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    Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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 explanations 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
    • Sculling
    • One arm swimming
    • Closed fist swimming
    • Over swimming
    • Slow and technically perfect

  2. #2
    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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?
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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?
    Last edited by hartley; May 29th, 2013 at 02:01 PM. Reason: didn't know it would turn my link into an embed.

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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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.

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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    I like Leslie's torque drill. (Check the HIT workout thread for details.)

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    In broken arrow I really concentrate on hand entry. Doggy paddle (the Swim Smooth way) let's me really work on my underwater pull.
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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

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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    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!

  11. #11
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    Re: Favorite Freestyle Drills?

    I like that splash back drill, I'll try it soon.

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