Swimming Drills

Good swimming technique will help you get the maximum distance and speed out of each stroke using as little effort as possible. These drills will help you improve your technique for each swimming stroke and also help you vary your swimming routine.

  • Butterfly Drills

    1 Single-Arm Fly
    • Keep one arm in front of you while doing this drill.
    • Practice your dolphin kick as you bring your arms in and out of the water.
    • This is a great drill to work on your pull and recovery as well.
    • On the pull, practice drawing half a keyhole underwater with the arm you're using for the drill. Switch arms.
    2 Thumb-Tip Drag
    • This drill will help you keep your hands close to your body and work on getting your elbows high for a clean stroke.
    • Practice each hand separately and then try it with both together.
    • As your arm or arms come out of the water, make sure your palms face behind you and stick your thumb out.
    • Drag your thumb across the top of the water.
    3 Super-Dolphin Kick
    • This drill will help strengthen your abs and allow you to improve your dolphin kick.
    • Lie on your back in the water and do a few dolphin kicks to get going. When you are ready, stick both arms straight over your head out of the water.
    • You'll find that you have to kick faster and harder in order to keep your head out of the water.
    • If this is too difficult, practice with just one arm out of the water or put your arms at a 40 degree angle instead of straight up.
  • Breaststroke Drills

    1 Two Kick/One Pull
    • Hold the streamline position for an extra kick each stroke.
    • Keep your head and neck down and your arms out in front of you.
    • Kick twice and then pull with your arms. On the second kick, allow your arms to part just a little bit so your head and neck can drop even farther.
    2 Two Pull/One Kick
    • With this drill, you will alternate between a dolphin kick and a breaststroke kick.
    • First pull with the arms using your hips to make a nice dolphin kick.
    • The second pull will be followed by the breaststroke kick. Repeat.
    3 Opposite Hand/Foot
    • This drill will give you a feel for the short axis nature of the breaststroke.
    • Start by keeping your right arm streamlined in front of you and your left leg behind.
    • Use your left arm to pull and your right leg to kick. Switch sides to build strength equally.
  • Backstroke Drills

    1 Single Arm
    • In order to build the muscles in both arms, it's good to work them separately.
    • Keep the arm you will not be using loosely at your side.
    • Use the other arm to pull you through the water.
    • Focus on doing a solid stroke and keeping the hips in line with your body.
    2 6 Kick Switch
    • Perform with a normal backstroke. With each stroke you should remain on your side and go for six kicks, keeping the stroke arm in recovery position.
    • Next stroke will be with the alternate arm.
    • Hold it in recovery position with your body rotated fully to the side (hip close to the surface) hold for six kicks.
    • Repeat for the full length of the pool.
    3 Teacup
    • Doing the normal backstroke, the thumb and first finger of each hand should form a teacup (circle).
    • From the time your arm comes out of the water to the time it enters the water again, you want to keep that teacup facing the ceiling so you don't spill any tea.
    • This will help you get the proper arm techniques.
  • Freestyle Drills

    1 Finger-Tip Drag
    • Keeping your hand close to your body and the surface of the water is important to increase speed and improve your freestyle technique.
    • As you practice the freestyle stroke, drag your fingers across the surface of the water on each stroke.
    • This will ensure that you keep your elbow high and your arms in the right position throughout the stroke.
    2 Front Entry
    • This drill will help you work on your arm entry. Most swimmers' hands enter the water too far away when they freestyle. This drill will help you practice the correct entry.
    • Keep one arm in the streamlined position. Kick as normal.
    • With the other hand, practice dipping it in the water just in front of your head (not pulling) and returning it to your side.
    • Switch sides after each length of the pool.
    3 Roll Over
    • Swimming the freestyle stroke as usual, slow it down and emphasize the twist.
    • On each stroke, really rotate your body so you are almost completely on your side.
    • Slowly bring your arm up for the next stroke and rotate your body to the other side so you are almost completely on your side. Repeat.

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