By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Eight-time NCAA Coach of the Year and head coach of SwimMAC Carolina, David Marsh, says the backstroke start is an athletic event, not a natural one. Because of this, Coach Marsh has developed a progression of drills that will improve your swimmers’ athleticism so they can explode off the wall.
Drill Summary: There are multiple drills in this video. The first drill is the Butt Plop, in which the swimmer starts with their toes over the edge of the gutter (Coach Marsh encourages this so athletes can practice with more security) and jumps back far and high before landing on their butt. As they hit the water, their legs should straight and point. The next drill is the Push Off Drill, where swimmers work on pushing backwards before they engage their legs to jump. Finally, the High Jump drill works on jumping as high and as far as possible, with swimmers landing on the feet. You can also use a soft noodle to challenge swimmers to jump a certain distance in this drill.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Monday, February 1, 2016
David Marsh, head coach at SwimMAC Carolina and eight time NCAA Coach of the Year, goes over the “Single Arm Drill.” This is a great drill for timing and mimicking the stroke well with one arm, making it perfect for beginning to advanced swimmers as a warm-up exercise or rhythmic training method.
Single Arm Drill
Drill Summary: This drill can be done with the opposite arm at the side or out in front. Using a snorkel is optional (if you use one, try to work on keeping a long neck line). For the arm on the side version, begin with the arm down and focus on using a big catch and long stroke for the length of the pool. Use two kicks per arm cycle. Having the opposite arm on the side will emphasize hip movement and cause swimmers to move in a more wave-like pattern. Next, progress to the arm in front version.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Thursday, October 1, 2015
David Marsh, eight time NCAA Coach of the Year and head coach of SwimMAC Carolina, presents the techniques he teaches his swimmers for executing the backstroke turn. Coach Marsh emphasizes the ability to control speed heading into the turn and being comfortable swimming on your side.
Drill Summary: There are two drills in this video.
12 Kick, 12 Kick Series: Swimmers kick on their back for 12 kicks, then rotate over and kick on their stomach for 12 kicks. After that, they flip over right where they are in the water.
Plant Pause: Swimmers stay in the same column of water while turning and flip against the wall, pause for a second, then push off and glide.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Saturday, August 1, 2015
A training tool you may not have much experience with that can help your swimmers learn to swim on the top of the water is a stretch cord. In this clip, eight time NCAA Coach of the Year, David Marsh, shows you a series of drills using a stretch cord aimed at training the freestyle.
Drill Summary: There are a variety of ways you can use a stretch cord to improve a swimmer’s freestyle. One way is for resistance, which can be achieved by slowly letting a swimmer away from you by providing slack at a slow pace, which will help them add power to their stroke. Another method is to use the stretch cord to pull them toward you, which will teach them to glide on the top of the water and keep their body as flat and narrow as possible.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, March 1, 2015
Eight time NCAA Coach of the Year David Marsh knows a thing or two about winning championships. In this drill, you’ll learn the technique coach Marsh teaches his swimmers to use when they enter the water on a start. Using the proper form and entry angle will allow athletes to maintain as much momentum as possible into their races.
Water Entering Technique
Drill Summary: When entering the water, coach Marsh stresses the importance of holding a solid, rigid body. Keeping the body as narrow as possible is important, and shaping the body in the “banana” position can help swimmers go into the water flawlessly.