Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How in the heck do the best get such an advantage off of the breakout?

How in the heck do the best get such an advantage off of the breakout? The answer is simple and teachable.

1. Push off of the wall with an excellent stream line. 

2. Use your push off and your underwater dolphin kicks to get under the wake created on the surface of the water. 

3. Begin to breakout by pulling with the bottom arm on the second to last dolphin kick. 

4. Continue your arm pull with an additional dolphin kick 

5. When the hand has reached the hip, conclude your dolphin kick and begin your flutter kick.

For any race, the breakout is crucial to maintaining speed during the transition from the underwater to the swimming portion. For backstroke and freestyle, it is also the time when swimmers must change from dolphin kick to flutter kick. Conventional wisdom says that this change should happen when the swimmer initiates his or her first arm stroke. However, many of our best National Team athletes have found great success using a technique we call the “Bonus Kick.”

The bonus kick is an extra dolphin kick used during the first arm pull on either backstroke or freestyle to help the swimmer “pop-up” through the surface of the water before they begin the flutter kick. As seen in the video clip below, the flutter kick does not begin until the first arm pull has finished down at the swimmer’s side

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Turns - "Practice" Turns

To swim your fastest, one thing you always have to keep in mind is how FAR you swim.  Swimming straight in a race means you're swimming the shortest route possible to the finish.
Why Do It:
Bad habits can form in practice without the swimmers really being at fault.  Being aware of what's happening can help you control your own destiny.
How to Do It:
 When you're swimming in a crowded lane, chances are you're biggest job on a turn is to avoid the other swimmers.
2.  Most swimmers approach the wall directly, and then, as they exit the wall, they veer out of the way of the swimmer behind them.  This builds the habit of always pushing off at an angle and can lead to circle swimming in races.
3.  If you can, when the swimmer in front of you pushes off, try to get your feet on the cross to limit the push angle.
4.  The best solution is to veer across the lane prior to your turn so that you can practice a straight push off each time.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Teach your lanemates how to approach and leave the walls with more thought.  Working as a team in developing better technique can lead to higher success rates for everyone.

Turns - Practice Pushoffs

Swim practice is always a great place to actually... practice... techniques that you'll be using in races.
Why Do It:
Typically, people miss opportunities to fine tune the small aspects of swimming just by being instinctual, and going through the motions.  Focusing on how you come off the walls when you turn, during your pushoffs, can make your turns better.
How to Do It:
 Think about how you come off the walls when you turn on all strokes.
2.  Typically, the head will be looking back at the wall, or will be tucked between the arms.
3.  On a turn, you shouldn't ever be facing forward.
4.  Have one hand on the wall, feet placed about where they would rotate to during a standard turn.
5.  When it's time to leave, release the hand holding the wall, and drop down into streamline.
6.  Push off, and rotate to your dolphin kick, or underwater breakout angle.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
When filming swimmers during practice, I notice that backstrokers typically practice the most correct technique in regard to pushoffs because they're leaving in the most accurate position.  Swimmers doing other strokes generally leave the wall flat, which you'd never do.  When you think about the other strokes, leaving the wall on your side helps you to understand how to initiate your dolphin, or how to get to flat on breaststroke.
Failure to practice this on a regular basis just means you're missing an opportunity to get a bit sharper.

Turns - How Many Dolphins?

Even though the majority of time at swim practice is spent going back and forth, it's the switching from one direction to the other that is more important than ever.
Coaches can say it until they're blue in the face:  The fastest you'll ever be going in a race is when you're leaving a wall... either starts or turns.  Since you have so much opportunity to practice turns... you should probably do it.
Why Do It:
Switching the sport of swimming from a guessing game to a habit and system will help you improve in both your knowledge and performance.  It will take time, consistent practice, and the help of your coach or another swimmer.
How to Do It:
 Set a mark on the bottom of the pool.  It doesn't have to be anything exact, but it needs to be a permanent mark so you have a standard to reach when you practice.
2.  To find out exactly how many kicks you'll need to maintain your momentum, create a progression.
3.  Start with one dolphin, which for most isn't enough, then swim to your mark.
4.  Progress this by adding one dolphin until you're either at your mark or you simply run out of momentum.
5.  We added dolphins until we got to five.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
You can practice this based just on feel, but if you want to really know what's the best for you, you'll need to add a time factor.  Have your coach or friend time you from the wall to the mark.  You'll then have to determine, over time, which solution is going to be the one that allows you to continue to swim at your pace with the most efficiency.
While you may be the fastest with four or five kicks, the day you add this to your practice, you'll quickly realize it's not easy to do.  You'll have to build this up over time, so consistency will count for a LOT.  This works for both starts and turns.

Starts - Cullen Jones Box Jumps

Want to develop a great start that gets you to the other end in about 10 seconds?  Learn to jump like Cullen Jones!
Why Do It:
How quickly you leave the blocks is part of the race.  Entering the water with power and speed is a good thing!
How to Do It:
 First, whenever doing dryland exercises, make sure you're supervised by your coach or a professional.  Safety first.
2.  There are boxes, or platforms, specifically made for this exercise.  Pick one that's easy for you to step up on.  If you can step up on it, you can step down off it.
3.  Stand in a power position, with your feet about shoulder width apart.
4.  Jump UP on to the platform, and then step back down.
5.  Repeat.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Use your arms to help gain a bit of momentum.  Try to land on the box as softly as possible.  When you've mastered the box at the current height, try a higher box... or create your own challenge.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Butterfly Drills

(1.)  BORO DIVE DRILL – The swimmers dive in, streamline, and take two full strokes with a strong kick.  They should emphasize driving the chest forward at the top of the stroke.  This drill is great for getting the body to surge and the feeling of the stroke.  

(2.)  BROKEN 100s – This drill is done as a set of 4 x 100s.  The first one is 25 right arm only and 75 full stroke.  The second 100 is 25 left arm only and 75 full stroke.  The third 100 is 75 right arm only and 25 full stroke.  And the fourth 100 is 75 left arm only and 25 full stroke.  The swimmers should concentrate on a clean entry at shoulder width, arms slightly flexed at entry, and a good underwater stretch.  

(3.)  COMBO DRILL – Have the swimmers take two left arm fly pulls, two full fly strokes, two right arm fly pulls, and two full fly strokes.  They should not breathe during the two full strokes.  This drill is good for timing and instills confidence in the swimmers in their stroke.  

(4.)  EXPLOSION SPRINT – This is a short distance sprint for beginners to learn the timing of the stroke.  They should emphasize the snap at the end of the stroke to help initiate the recovery.  Short sprints will give young swimmers success and eventually confidence to begin longer efforts.  

(5.)  4-4 DRILL – Have the swimmers do four kicks followed by four full strokes.  This drill helps teach the carryover between the kick to the full stroke.  

(6.)  FOUR STROKES DRILL – Timing tends to fall off when swimmers tire so have them take four full strokes then some type of drill for the rest of the length.  They should try to build up to 6, 8 , and 10 strokes.  This can be used for distance fly sets of 200 or 300 yards. 


Teaching and coaching a specific butterfly pull pattern has been popular for a long time, maybe for as long as the stroke has existed. Film study of the USA National Team and many of the world’s best has proven one thing though: there are different pull patterns among the best butterfliers in the world.

So what does that mean?


Like so many swimmers and coaches, I have always believed that the ideal fly pull looked like a keyhole – the hands go wide then narrow (making the shape of a circle), and then pushes straight back to finish off the keyhole shape.

Upon working at USA Swimming, I noticed there are many variations of this. Some pulls have a very distinct keyhole shape while others are more straight back. Some pulls are very wide in the beginning, while others aren’t. Some pulls are so narrow at the finish that the hands nearly touch, while others never pull underneath the body at all.

With so much exposure to the best swimmers in the world, I decided to put that theory to the test with extensive video analysis. Here is what I found:
  • The pull pattern has nothing to do with gender, strength, or sprint/distance fly.
    • I always thought that male athletes and stronger flyers would have a certain type of stroke…but nope! Believe me, I looked.
  • The pull pattern is related to how deep a swimmer presses with their chest.
    • (For more information about the chest press: 
    • If a swimmer pressed deep (with the chest and head deeper than the arms), the pull pattern was keyhole-shaped.
    • If a swimmer didn’t press deep (and pressed forward and flatter), the pull pattern was straighter (not as wide at the beginning, and not as narrow at the end).
  • No matter what the pull pattern, the palms of the hands were always facing back towards the feet.
    • Moving the hands wide or narrow still meant the palms were facing back – never facing to the outside or inside.
This is what I would generally advise swimmers and coaches to focus on:
  1. Push water towards the feet
  2. Press the body forward
  3. Get a good catch
Don’t focus on a specific pull pattern. If you do the three things above, the pull pattern you have is the best one for you.

For more tips from the National Team High Performance staff, visit the National Team High Performance Tips archive.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Freestyle Drills to Improve Swimming Technique

  • Catch-up: to isolate one arm, to practice a long stroke and a long body position.
    • Swum like regular freestyle, except one arm is stationary, always extended forward (front arm), pointing toward the destination, while the other arm performs the stroke (working arm).
    • When the working arm moves forward and "catches-up" with the stationary arm, they change places.
  • 3/4 Catch-up: Just like full catch-up, except the stationary (front) arm begins to work or move before the other arm fully "catches-up" - it begins to move after the working arm is about 3/4 of the way through a full arm motion.
  • Catch-up with a board: Just like regular catch-up, only your front hand is holding a kick board.
    • As the arms trade places, they hand off the board to each other.
    • You can substitute a pencil - or anything else that won't make you sink.
  • Fingertip Drag: to promote a high elbow recovery and to make you aware of your hand position during recovery.
    • Swum like regular freestyle, except your fingertips never leave the water as your arm moves forward during the stroke recovery.
    • You drag your fingers forward through the water, slightly off to the side of your body, focusing on good body roll and keeping your elbows pointed up.
    • Change how much of your hand stays in the water: fingertips, hand, wrist, even your whole forearm.

    • 10/10 (simple): to promote good body roll and head alignment (when you add breathing - see the next drill). This looks like regular freestyle in very slow-motion. If you flip over and keep your nose pointing up while you do this drill, it works for backstroke.
      • One arm is extended forward, pointing toward your destination (front hand).
      • The other is backwards, pointing toward where you just left (back hand), with the arm resting against the edge of your body.
      • You should be on your side, with the back hand side of your body up, the front hand side of your body down (toward the bottom of the pool).
      • Your ear should be against your front hand shoulder, chin in line with your chest, eyes sideways (or even up a bit), mouth out of the water (so you can breath).
      • Take 10 kicks, then stroke, so that your body rolls and your hands switch places.
      • The front hand takes a stroke underwater and finishes against your side, becoming the back hand.
      • The back hand recovers over the surface of the water, becoming the front hand.
      • Your head switches, rotating with your body (rolling down into the water and then up on the other side), and you continue, taking 10 more kicks, then everything switching again.
      • When you have this drill figured out, move onto the next step, adding breathing (see the next drill).
    • 10/10 (add breathing): just like regular 10/10 but you change your head alignment to mimic a relatively normal swimming position for freestyle. You look where you are going!
      • Place your head so your cheek is against your front hand shoulder, eyes sighting down your front arm toward your destination.
      • You need to roll your head to breath, then reestablish its position looking forward along the front arm.
      • The breath should be taken away from the recovering arm (the one that is changing from back to front) just as that hand goes in the water; as your body rolls, roll your head with it.
      • As you get better at this drill, play with decreasing the number of kicks taken while on each side of your body until you can move smoothly from the slow-motion drill (10/10) into regular speed freestyle (3/3 for a "six-beat" kicker)
    • Fist: to promote "feel" for the water. Swum like regular freestyle, except you hold either one or both of your hands in a fist.
      • Vary the pattern and the number of strokes that you are "fisted."
      • When you unclench your hand, you should notice a difference in pressure on your hand - use this feeling to keep your hand holding water as you move through your pull pattern.
      • When you are clenched, you should also try to press on the water with the inside (palm side) of your forearm - think of the lower arm, from elbow to wrist, as an extension of your hand. And don't forget body roll!
    • One-arm: to focus on one arm at a time.
      • Swum like regular freestyle, except only one arm is moving.
      • The other arm is stationary, either forward (front hand) or backwards, against your side (back hand).
      • The moving hand takes a series of strokes, each arm performing a set number of pulls before they switch roles.
      • Practice this drill with the stationary arm in both positions.
      • When your stationary arm is on your side, breath toward that side (away from the moving arm).
      • When your stationary arm is forward, breath away from it (toward the arm doing the work).
      • Again, time the breathing so that as your body rolls, your head rolls with it for a breath, then your head should return to its forward alignment.


With more and more swimmers around the world using the dolphin kick as a huge weapon in races, what are the key technique points to have the best dolphin kick? Many people point to hip movement as being the most critical, but the leg motion and position are equally – if not more – important.

These bullet points are a preview to the online clinic that I’ll be giving on Thursday April 12 at 11am MST on dolphin kicking that will include video examples and further details. To register, sign up here.

If you are unable to attend the clinic or if the clinic fills up, a recording of the clinic will be available at the above link at a later date.

Dolphin kick technique highlights:
• While I believe that hip movement is important, the propulsion is definitely coming from the extension of the legs.
• The knees must bend and drive forward in order to set up the kick. From that, the legs then whip forward to a complete extension. This movement is powered by the quadriceps. Just like kicking a soccer ball or football.
• It should be a forward kick, meaning that the toes should be in front of the body at the finish of the kick. See images below.
• For the duration of the leg whip, the core should be tense and locked in. With this core tension, the hips move backwards in a controlled manner…like it’s resisting the leg movement.
• The hip movement / core tension does two things: (1) provides stability for the leg motion and (2) makes sure the kick moves the swimmer forward (as opposed to up or down).
• Many swimmers move the hips back too much because that’s their focus. Too much hip movement prevents the legs from catching and whipping as much water as possible.
• Upper body movement varies among the best kickers. Sometimes it can help a swimmer get the legs and hips right. A swimmer can definitely bend the upper body forward too much, which is often caused by lifting the hips up too much to set up the kick.
The images below show the position of the legs at the finish of the dolphin kick. The toes are in front of the body line.

Dolphin Kick Bodyline, A
Dolphin Kick Bodyline, B

Monday, May 21, 2012


How important is the finish of the race? How many times does a race come down to a fraction of a second? At the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Team USA had seven fourth-place finishes, six ninth-place finishes, and one 17th place finish. Some of these finishes were not within striking distance, but a mis-judged finish this summer could mean the difference between a spot on the Olympic Team or just missing out on an Olympic medal.

As we are quickly approaching the pinnacle of the quad, here are some examples of good finishes for each stroke:

Breaststroke Drills

Breaststroke Drills

Two-Count Glide Drill
Hold the streamlined (stretched) position of the stroke for a full count of two (one aligator-two aligator). Keep your head down and neck straight. In the breaststroke, be sure not to stop your hands under your body, but only in the extended position. Then, start the pull slowly, pitching the hands outward until they are shoulder width apart, and then accelerate your hands through the power phase (the in sweep), continuing all the way through to the recovery.
It's a good idea to combine this drill with double underwater pull-outs to increase the feel of gliding in the streamline position.

Two-Kick / One-Pull Drill
Hold the streamline for a second kick in each stroke. While doing the second kick, allow your hands to separate slowly to press your head and chest lower in the water. Keep your chin down, and look down at the bottom of the pool. This will prepare you for a more powerful in-sweep and recovery.

Two-Pull / One-Kick Drill
Take a powerful pull swinging the hips forward and under your torso and then throw your hands into the recovery / streamline while making an exaggerated dolphin kick. Repeat the powerful pull but kick a breastroke kick. Alternate between the two kicks. Notice that the hip motion should be identical between the dolphin kick and breastroke kick.

One-Pull / Dolphin-Kick / One-Kick Drill
As with the drill above, take one powerful pull and throw the hands into the recovery while executing a strong dolphin kick. Then, hold the streamline position with the upper body and arms as you execute a powerful breastroke kick. This drill also emphasizes the undulation of the hips, streamline position of the arm recovery, and power of the kick.

Opposite Hand / Foot Drill
Pull with your left hand only, keeping your right arm extended out front, and kick with your right leg only, keeping your left leg extended out back. Repeat this drill using the right hand and left leg. This drill takes practice, but you will gain a better feel for the "short-axis" nature of the breastroke.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Backstroke Drills

Here are this weeks set of Drills - Backstroke - each drill is designed to work on an aspect of backstoke - Kick & Streamline, Recovery, Shoulder Roll & Head Position, and Underwater Pull.

Kick & Streamline

(1.)  DOLPHIN KICK DRILL – Have the swimmers do dolphin kick underwater for sections of repeat 100s or 200s.  They should hold a tight streamline position during the kick.  


(2.) KICK WITH HALF RECOVERY – The swimmers lift their thumb out of the water and recover to the midpoint.  Then they stop and rotate their hand as if it were the whole stroke.  The swimmers should then slowly lower their arm back to their side.  This is then repeated with the other arm.  

Shoulder Roll & Head Position

(3.)  KICK AND ROLL – Swimmers kick with their arms at their sides.  They roll their body from one side to the other every 6 kicks.  Be sure that they keep their heads still and that the kick turns with the shoulders.

Underwater Pull

(4.)  BENT ELBOW DRILL – The swimmers should kick with their arms at their sides.  They bend their elbows to bring their hands to just under the surface of the water.  They then push the water toward their feet snapping their wrist and hand at the finish.

Monday, April 30, 2012


These are some miscellaneous drills for swimmers to work on to help improve all areas - strokes, streamlines, turns.  

(1.)  DISTANCE PER STROKE DRILL – Have your swimmers do a set of 30 x 25s on 30 seconds.  They should descend their times in sets of three.  The first 25 should be easy and the swimmers should count their strokes.  The second 25 should be a little faster, but have the swimmers try to hold the same stroke count.  The third 25 is still faster and they should try to hold the same number of strokes.  Then they start over on the fourth 25 with an easy pace.  (Dick Bower)

(2.)  PUSH DRILL – The swimmers should drive off the bottom of the pool in deep water.  Have them hold a tight streamline position, kick, and stretch to the backstroke flags.  They should attempt to pop out of the water as far as possible.  This drill will help swimmers get a strong push off of each turn.

(3.)  STREAMLINE KICK – The swimmers should streamline and kick 12.5 yards underwater.  Have them concentrate on a fast kick.

(4.)  STREAMLINE DRILL – This drill is done while the swimmers are lying on their backs on the floor.  Their arms should be extended, hand over hand, elbows squeezed in against the back of their ears.   Their stomach and buttocks should be pulled in.  Be sure they keep their knees straight and their toes pointed.

(5.)  TORPEDO DRILL – Have the swimmers push off the wall underwater and glide as far as they can.  Stress to them that the push and the glide are fundamental.  Establish a standard for distance for each swimmer.

Butterfly Drills

Here are some new butterfly drills for swimmers to try during practice - each drill concentrates on one area of swimming butterfly - breathing, kicking, timing, underwater pull.

(1.)  BREATHING DRILL – The swimmers swim 100s breathing every other stroke on the first length, every third stroke on the second and  third lengths, and every other on the fourth length.  Do not allow for variations with the pattern during the drill.  

(2.)  ONE UP DRILL – The swimmers kick on their sides with one arm up and the other arm at their side.  They should concentrate on kicking both ways and moving their feet quickly.  This drill helps to get the hips into the kick.  

(3.)  BROKEN 100s – This drill is done as a set of 4 x 100s.  The first one is 25 right arm only and 75 full stroke.  The second 100 is 25 left arm only and 75 full stroke.  The third 100 is 75 right arm only and 25 full stroke.  And the fourth 100 is 75 left arm only and 25 full stroke.  The swimmers should concentrate on a clean entry at shoulder width, arms slightly flexed at entry, and a good underwater stretch. 

Underwater Pull
(4.)  FIST SWIM FLY – Swimming butterfly with the fist closed forces the swimmer to “grab the barrel” with the entire arm and helps with the high elbow catch.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Freestyle Drills

Here are four freestyle drills that concentrate on the 4 areas of freestyle - Breathing, Kicking and streamlining, Recovery and Entry, and Underwater Pulling.  

(1.)  BILATERAL BREATHING – Have the swimmers breathe every three or every five strokes.  This provides for stroke balance, promotes shoulder roll, and is a good lead-up to hypoxic training.

(2.)  6 – 6 TURNS – The swimmers do a turn, then push off on their back for six kicks.  They then turn to their side for six kicks before doing a bottom arm pull.  They must stay streamlined past the flags during all the kicking. 
(3.)  ARMPIT DRILL – The swimmers should touch their armpit during recovery.  They should concentrate on keeping their elbows up and sliding their hands close to the body.  

(4.)  CATCH-UP STROKE – The swimmers pull with one arm while the other arm remains outstretched in front.  They should recover with a high elbow until both hands touch together in front.  This is continued one arm, then the other.  The swimmers need to have a steady kick and breathe every three strokes throughout the drill.  This drill also helps to establish smoothness and hand acceleration at the back part of the stroke.  

Freestyle Video Clips

1.  David Marsh - Swimming Faster - Proper Body Position

2. Richard Quick - Championship Winning Walls - Turns for all strokes - Freestyle Flip Turn

Monday, February 6, 2012

Breaststroke Drills

This weeks drills will focus on breaststroke.  Sorry No Video links this week - as soon as I find some, I will post them.

(1.)  BREASTSTROKE PULL – FLUTTER KICK – The swimmers should pull breaststroke while doing a rapid flutter kick.  This drill is good for increasing turnover.  The swimmers should emphasize fast hands and fast feet.

(2.)  ELBOW SQUEEZE DRILL – The swimmers should swim 25s concentrating on squeezing their elbows together in front of their chests.  They should shrug their shoulders in order to lift the body high out of the water and to speed up recovery. 

(3.)  HALF-PULL BREASTSTROKE – The swimmers do a half pull so that their arms stay in front and are fast from the end of the up sweep to the end of recovery.  This is a good drill to prevent over-pulling.  

(4.)  HAND SPEED DRILL – Have the swimmers swim with their hands laced together and fully extended.  They should bounce their hands off their chests and recover as quickly as possible.  The swimmers should bounce their hands off their chests three times along with doing one kick with a two-count glide.  The fourth time they should pull, kick, and glide to a count of two.  

(5.)  SCULLING PROGRESSION DRILL – The first step is to have the swimmers scull while upright in deep water.  Next, have them scull on their stomachs with their hands out in front.  They should start narrow and progress to wider sculling.  Then, while still on their stomachs and with their elbows up and forward, they should scull their hands in and out quickly and up underneath their chin.  The sculling should resemble windshield wipers.  This drill can be used to help the swimmers feel the sculling action of the stroke.  (Kathy McKee – D.S.C.)

(6.)  3 PULLS/1 KICK or 2 PULLS/1 KICK – The swimmers legs should remain straight during the pulls.  They should concentrate on a strong pull.  (Edinboro University)

(7.)  3 PULLS – 3 WHOLE STROKES – During the three pulls, the swimmers should not kick at all, letting their legs drag behind them.  This drill helps to reinforce the carry-over between drills and the whole stroke.  (Edinboro University)

(8.)  4 KICKS UNDERWATER/1 ON TOP – The swimmers should take four kicks underwater before surfacing to take one kick on top of the water.  The swimmers should maintain a tight streamline position during the entire drill.  They should take a breath when they come to the surface for the one kick on top.

(9.)  KICKING ON YOUR BACK – Have the swimmers kick on their backs with their hands either at their side or extended in a streamline position.  Their knees should remain underwater throughout the kick and they should concentrate on a good glide.  This drill allows the swimmers to quickly realize if they are pulling their knees up instead of pulling their feet back to their rear-ends.  This is also a good stretch for the upper quads after a hard set.

(10.)  MULTIPLES DRILL – Have the swimmers take two or three pullouts off of each wall.  This drill is great for fast 25s or 50s or as a part of longer sets.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Backstroke Drills

This week - we will post some backstroke drills for swimmers to work on.  All the drills for this week come from a book written by Coach David Stump.  Dave is a very close friend of mine - we have known each other since the 5th grade, swam together, coached against each other, and coaches with each other.

The swimmers kick backstroke in a streamline position.  They must stay streamlined and underwater past the flags after each turn.  

This is a good drill to correct a pedaling motion in the kick.  Swimmers kick while holding a board lengthwise over their thighs.  If they hit the board with their thighs and knees, it indicates a pedaling motion in their kick.  The board will lie quietly if the swimmers are kicking correctly

The swimmers should be on their backs kicking with their arms at their sides.  They then lift their hand through a full recovery to touch the water overhead before bringing their arm back to their side.  This is done twice with the right arm, twice with the left arm, then two complete stroke cycles.

Swimmers kick with both arms at their sides.  They should roll their shoulders and lift their hand 6-12 inches out of the water and then let it fall back into the water

GOGGLES ON THE FOREHEAD – Have the swimmers swim a 25 with their goggles resting on their forehead.  They should try to swim without them falling off.  This drill forces the swimmers to maintain a steady head position.  

Video Drills

Backstroke swimming drills -

Spin Drill - 

Wave Drill -

4 Back 3 Free Catch - 4 back 3 Free Catch

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Butterfly Drill

This month we are starting with = butterfly drills for X-Cel swimmers that can be used during drill sets in practice.  Also attached is a link to some video drills.

Swimming Drills

1.  Board Kicking - Purpose - improve the 2nd kick due to limited undulation.

 Kick, maintaining a non-stop rhythm of 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4, holding the top of the board

2.  "Big" Kick under - purpose - improve the unduation in the 1st kick.

Imitate dolphins by kicking underwater - hands at side - move the legs as one until, like the tail  of a dolphin.

3.  Side Dolphin - purpose - works both directions of the kick.

Dolphin kick on the side with hands back at the thighs.  Optional:  Extend the arm closes to the  bottom  of the pool and place the other arm at the side.  To work back flexibility, try drill in a streamline position.

4.  Corkscrew - purpose - work both the upbeat and downbeat.

4 Kicks on the stomach, 4 kicks on the right side, 4 kicks on the back, 4 kicks on the left side, repeat.  Try to keep the kick continuous.

5.  Hands Back - purpose - work on Rhythm

Dolphin kick on the surface, with hands held at the side and without a breath or with "limited breathing".  Focus on continous, "full range" kicking and life the hips out of the water.

Video Clip - 

Biondi Butterfly Drill -

 This is the Biondi Drill used to develop timing when learning butterfly. Make sure your body is arched upwards before you pull. Also helps to learn a quiet recovery
The Biondi Drill is referenced in "Championship Swim Training" and is also referenced in the book "Swimming Made Easy" where they call is stoneskipper.

Second Kick - 

Butterfly - 3-3-3 Thumb Drag -