Thursday, October 3, 2013

Butterfly Drills



(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.  (Tom Himes – N.B.A.C.)

(2.)  BREATHING PATTERN DRILL – This drill should be done at the end of a hard workout when the swimmers are somewhat fatigued.  Have them swim a set of anywhere between 8 and 12 50s butterfly.  They should alternate breathing patterns, using 3-and-1 (meaning the swimmers take three breaths and then one non-breathing stroke, 2-and-1, 1-and-1, and every arm stroke breathing.  This drill should be repeated over several days and you should discard the patterns that are obviously less effective until you find the one that is consistently faster.  This pattern should be used in races.  If there is no difference in speed between certain patterns, use the one that provides the greatest oxygen supply.  (Ernest W. Maglischo – C.S.U. – Chico)

(1.)  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. 

(2.)  REVERSE FLY KICK – This drill is butterfly kick on the back.  It can be done with the hands at the side for good hip movement and feel or it can be done with the hands extended for speed kicking and conditioning.  Emphasize to the swimmers that their knees should not break the surface of the water and that they should kick both up and down.  This can also be done with fins.

(3.) SWITCH KICKS – Swimmers do four kicks on their stomach, four kicks on their side, and four kicks on their back.  This drill is good for getting the hips into the kick and for emphasizing  to the swimmers that they must kick both ways.  (Sherwood Watts – S.Y.S.)

(4.)  TIMING DRILL – While on their stomachs, the swimmers do dolphin kick with their arms at their sides.  They should emphasize constant head motion coordinated with breathing.  (Bill Thompson – San Jose Aquatics)

(5.)  UNDERWATER KICKING DRILL – Have the swimmers kick widths of the pool underwater.  This can be done with their hands at their hands at their sides or extended out front in a tight streamline.  They should concentrate on a tight kick from the hips.

(6.)  VERTICAL DOLPHIN KICK – Have the swimmers kick vertically in deep water.  This is a good drill for developing fast feet.  They can hold their hands slightly out of the water for good hip movement and feel or they can totally extend their hands for a fast rhythm.

(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.  (Edinboro University)

(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.  (Brent Rutemiller – S.A.C.)

(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.  (Tom Himes – N.B.A.C.)

(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.  (Bill Miller – C.U.)

(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.  (Edinboro University)

(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.  (Dan Patton – B.S.L.)

(7.)  ONE ARM FLY – Have the swimmers stroke with one arm while the other arm is extended out front.  They can breathe to the side or out front.  Have them concentrate on a straight arm recovery.  They should enter thumb first so that they can start the outsweep with a good catch.  The hand should accelerate under the body.  This drill teaches kick, stroke, and breath timing. 

(8.)  TEMPO DRILL – Have the swimmers kick four times to establish the leg tempo.  Then they should do two full strokes using that established tempo before repeating four kicks and two full strokes.  (Bill Thompson – S.J. A.)


(1.)  FINGER PRESS DRILL – This drill is done as 12.5s or 25s with or without fins.  They should concentrate on stretching their hands outward during the catch.  Have them sweep their hands inward until the fingers touch.  They should then accelerate the press backward with the fingers touching as long as possible until they separate for recovery.  (Brent Rutemiller – S.A.C.)

(2.)  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.  (Edinboro University)

(3.)  HAND TOUCH DRILL – The swimmers swim full fly stroke touching their hands together at the point where the hands enter the water.  This drill will help eliminate the problem of entering and beginning the pull too wide. 

(4.)  HEAD UP DRILL – This drill helps to correct a swimmer whose entry is too narrow.  The swimmer swims butterfly with his/her head up while doing flutter kick.  They should do four fly strokes like that followed by four strokes of regular butterfly with a dolphin kick.  (Bill Thompson – S.J.A.)

(5.)  PRESS-UPS DRILL – The swimmers press up on the gutter with a single dolphin kick.  They should accelerate on the way up.  This drill helps strengthen the upper body and emphasizes the coordination of the kick and the pull.  (Sherwood Watts – S.Y.S.)

(6.)  STRETCH DRILL – This is a good drill for the finish of butterfly races.  The swimmers do several finishes from about 12-15 yards from the wall while concentrating on stretching into the wall with a strong kick and their head down.  (Dan Patton – B.S.L.)

(7.)  SURFACE DRILL – The swimmers work on the pull pattern by sculling and working the press through.  They should recover underwater and breathe only during the pull.  Be sure they snap their wrists at the end of the pull.

(8.)  THREE FRONT – THREE BACK DRILL – Have the swimmers streamline and do three half pulls in front until their fingers touch underneath their chests.  They then do three finishes pressing back to the point of recovery, followed by three whole strokes.  (Dan Patton – B.S.L.)

Breaststroke Drills



(1.)  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.

(2.)  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.

(3.)  LINEUP DRILL – Swimmers kick without a board on their stomachs.  They should concentrate on getting their head down between their arms and their body streamlined as they execute the propulsive phase of their kick.  They should push down with their hands or use a very small sculling motion to get a breath during the leg recovery.  The purpose of this drill is to teach swimmers to streamline their body during the propulsive phase of the kick.

(4.)  NO BOARD KICKING – The swimmers should extend their arms backward beside their hips and attempt to touch their feet to their hands as they finish the leg recovery and begin the propulsive phase of the kick.  This drill is done while the swimmers are on their stomachs and is excellent for teaching the proper leg recovery.  As an advanced drill, this can be done with the chin on the surface of the water.

(5.)  VERTICAL KICKING – Have the swimmers kick vertically in deep water.  They should keep their hands out of the water and concentrate on a fast kick turnover.


(1.)  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.  (Dan Patton – B.S.L.)

(2.)  1 PULL/3 KICKS or 1 PULL/2 KICKS – During the kicks the swimmers should maintain a tight streamline position with their heads tucked down between their arms.  This drill is good for reinforcing the streamline at the end of the stroke.

(3.)  PULLOUT PROGRESSION – The swimmers should push off the wall in a streamline position and glide to the surface.  The next step is to push off the wall, pull, and glide to the surface.  They should then push off the wall, pull, kick, and then take a second pull exploding out of the water as high as possible.  (Tom Himes – N.B.A.C.)

(4.)  STEP DRILL – This drill is done during a set of 25s breaststroke.  On the first one they should take three pullouts.  On the second one they should take two pullouts, and on the third 25, they should take one pullout.  Then repeat.  This drill helps to condition the swimmers to take full pullouts off each turn.  Kathy McKee – D.S.C.)

(5.)  3-2-1 DRILL – This is a 200 yard drill that can be used to improve distance per stroke and emphasize proper streamlining.  The swimmers swim 50 yards with a three-count glide.  Then 50 yards with a two-count glide and 50 yards with a one-count glide.  They should hold a tight streamline position while gliding.  They finish the 200 with a 50 of full stroke breaststroke.  (Bill Miller – C.U.)


(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.  (Brent Rutemiller – S.A.C.)

(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.  (Dan Patton – B.S.L.)

(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.  (Sherwood Watts – S.Y.S.)

(5.)  OUT-SLOW, IN-FAST DRILL – Swimmers pull in a horizontal position during this drill.  They sweep out with their arms slowly and gently until the water is behind their arms and then scull in fast and hard.  This is an excellent drill for teaching swimmers how to make a good catch and to emphasize the phase of the arm stroke where propulsive force belongs, that is, in the insweep.  (Ernest W. Maglischo – C.S.U. – Chico)

(6.)  PULLING IN AN INNERTUBE – The tube should be placed just under the armpits and should be large enough for the swimmer to move relatively freely.  This helps to create a natural arm pull and the sculling action.  (Edinboro University)
(7.)  PULLING WITH PADDLES AND LEG TUBES – This will help to develop strength for longer breaststroke races.  Sets such as 6 x 150 or 5 x 200 will help accomplish the needed effect.

(8.)  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.)

(9.)  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)

(10.)  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)


(1.)  BREASTSTROKE PULL – DOLPHIN KICK – This drill can be done with or without fins.  It gives the feeling of moving over the bow wave and riding downhill.  This drill can be used to enhance timing and rhythm and to speed up the arm stroke.

(2.)  RUSSIAN BUILD UP DRILL – This drill can be done as 75s or as 150s.  This should not be done slowly, this should be done at a very quick pace.  Have the swimmers do a 25 pull only/25 doing 2 pulls and 1 kick/25 swim.  Then they do a 25 kick only/25 doing 1 pull and 2 kicks/25 swim. 

(3.)  STROKE COUNT DRILL – This drill is done during a set of 25s or 50s.  The swimmers should try to drop the number of strokes taken by emphasizing the pull, the kick, and the reach.  Counting strokes per lap tends to help the swimmers concentrate on reaching and making a full recovery before starting the next stroke.  (Tom Himes – N.B.A.C.)

(4.)  TIMING DRILL – The swimmers take a full breaststroke cycle and a 2-3 second glide in a streamline position.  Then repeat with the glide cut down to 1-2 seconds.  They should then take a normal stroke and repeat.