As part of any solid swim program, drills should be incorporated year round. Because most athletes in the mid-west are now in the off season or transition period, it is a perfect time to work on several of the more challenging drills that yield effective results once mastered. The video above shows three of my favorite drills. They range in difficulty from easiest (catch up) to most difficult (band swim). By working to master these three drills overrotation, wide/anchoring kick, and crossing the center line are revealed quickly and the best part is – YOU don’t have to be able to identify what is off in the stroke. Work towards being able to complete a 100 of each exercise without having to stop, continue to improve your form, and you’re on your way to more efficiency economical swimming.
Here’s a breakdown of the drills featured…
CATCH UP DRILL:
Start like you would any normal 25 m swim. When the first arm enters the water for the catch phase, let the hand stay there and glide. The other arm will come to meet the gliding arm. Once the hands touch complete the rest of the stroke with the gliding arm. This is a great exercise to get a ‘feel’ for the water. It also calms athletes down who have a tendency to spin their weels.
SINGLE ARM SWIM:
Most athletes who do this drill do it incorrectly. The key to getting the benefit of this drill (learning proper balance and body position) is to breathe to the side of the arm that is glued to your body. This is incredibly uncomfortable and does not feel natural to most athletes who try it this way for the first time. Once you get it down you will feel the appropriate amount of body roll/hip roll that is necessary to have a strong pull without overrotating. In the video one athlete has to kick wide/anchor because he slightly overrotates on one side. With more practice of this drill this will become minimized.
I love this drill and most of my athletes hate me for it. I have to give props to Mitch Gold for first showing it to me. If you cut an old bike tube and tie it into a small band you obviously can not kick. Without the aid of a pull buoy try to swim 25 M down the pool. Most first timers can’t keep their legs up long enough to make it past half way. The problem many triathlete and adult swimmers have is that they swim uphill and don’t have proper abdominal and lower back strength to keep themselves flat in the water. The band exposes uphill swimming and forces you to press the chest down, engage your lower back and lower abdominals to keep yourself streamline. It is never pretty when you first challenge yourself to this drill. Over time though, swimming with a band around your ankles for 100 M will seem like you’ve just got a really light pull buoy between your legs.
If you have more questions about these drills or are interested in having your swim stroke assessed contact firstname.lastname@example.org.