In this drill, Dr. Sam Freas of Oklahoma Baptist University teaches swimmers how to maintain good body position when using the freestyle stroke. Drills like this helped Dr. Freas lead the Bison to the title at the 2014 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
Drill Summary: For this drill, coach Freas places a rope about six inches under the water (held down by a weight belt) about five yards off the end of the lane. Swimmers will need to wear a weight belt around their waist to do this drill as well. To begin, the swimmer pushes off the wall and swims under the rope, focusing on staying down and keeping their head flat to their back. Once they’ve made it under the rope, the swimmer breaks out into their stroke. Coach Freas stresses the importance of keeping the feet up during the stroke to increase power. During the first rep’s breakout, have the swimmer keep their head up. On the second rep, have them keep their head down. After a few reps, remove the weight belt and do the drill again without the added weight.
USC assistant coach Michael Pullins uses the “Standing Landing Drill with a Hurdle” for two main reasons. First, coaches can observe the athlete’s jumping form; second, the athlete can practice landings on horizontal jumps. This is one of many drills that USC runners turned Olympians keep in their training routines after college.
Drill Summary: Set up with one hurdle on its side at the beginning of the sand pit and another one upright, about five feet before it on the runway. Athletes start behind the upright hurdle. To begin, the athlete jumps over the upright hurdle and lands between it and the hurdle on its side. After landing the first jump, the athlete immediately jumps again over the second hurdle into the sand pit. Coaches can alter the drill to add as many hurdles as they want before the final jump.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Arm activity.
Former Duke University assistant coach and current Northwestern University head coach Chris Collins uses the “Catch and Face Drill” to promote being under control with the ball and encourage players to observe everything happening on the court. Coach K still uses this drill to help the Blue Devils run an efficient offense.
Drill Summary: This is a drill for three players at a time. One player starts at the top of the key with a ball and two more players start at the left and right wing. On the coach’s command, the player with the ball passes to one of the wing players. On the catch, the wing player must get into triple threat and look into the post, where a coach will be holding up a number. The player with the ball has to shout out the number the coach is holding up before they can pass to another player. Continue passing, getting into triple threat and calling out numbers on every pass. Each time the ball is passed to the wing, the other two players swap positions.
Keys to the Drill:
1) Court vision.
2) Getting into triple threat.
3) Talking (player names and coach’s number).
4) Crisp passes.
Ever wondered how to hit a float serve? How about a serve with topspin? In this clip, University of Central florida head coach Todd Dagenais teaches you how to hit a float serve, standing topspin serve, jump float serve and jump topspin serve.
Drill Summary: The first kind of serve is the float serve. For the float serve, the player stands and contacts the ball at the midline with a very firm hand. Ideally, the float serve is about 35 mph. For the standing topspin serve, the ball should travel at about 40-45 mph. To create topspin, use a very loose hand, hit underneath the ball and roll over and through. For both jump serves, hit the ball the same as you would on the ground, but step left-right-left and jump into it.
One of the keys to a quality backstroke is the propulsion swimmers get from their kick. Four time Ivy League Coach of the Year Matt Kredich helps swimmers get a feel for the water with this kicking drill that uses different angles in the water to develop peak propulsion.
Drill Summary: In this backstroke drill, the swimmer pushes off the wall and puts their arms at their hips. From that position, the swimmer rotates their body to the left while maintaining their kick and holds that position for a couple seconds before returning to the neutral position. Then, the swimmer does the same thing to the right. Keep alternating sides for the length of the pool, remembering to stop briefly at the neutral position between switching sides. This drill increases propulsion from the swimmer’s toes and allows them to work on creating balance with their feet.