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: Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Chloe Sutton, three-time USA Swimming National Champion, presents a great drill to help teach the correct form for the recovery on the freestyle stroke. The “Shark Fin Drill” will teach swimmers to lead with their elbow as they pull their trail arm out of the water for their next stroke.
Shark Fin Drill
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off from the wall and get into their freestyle stroke. Imagine that the water is ice, and focus on “breaking the ice” with the trail elbow on the recovery. Once the elbow is up out of the water, pause there for a second in the stroke. Do this with every stroke for the length of the pool. Make sure to keep the kick going strong to keep the body in a straight line during this drill.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2015
University of Louisville head coach, Arthur Albiero, incorporates the “Straight Arm Drill” into his swimmers’ training regimens to ensure they eliminate excess drag in the freestyle stroke. As an added dimension, coach Albiero has swimmers use a sponge as well to force them to use more power.
Straight Arm Drill / Sponge Drill
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off the wall and work on keeping their arms straight. Swimmers start off slowly and increase speed as they approach the opposite wall, focusing on swimming in a straight line for maximum efficiency. For the “Sponge Drill”, you’ll need to tie a sponge so it trails behind the swimmer as they execute their stroke.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Friday, May 1, 2015
If swimmers want to develop an efficient freestyle stroke, they need to learn to get their elbows high into the air and glide on the side of their bodies in the water. American record breaker Josh Davis uses the “Thumb Drag” or “Zipper” drill to teach these concepts to swimmers of all ages.
Thumb Drag or Zipper Drill
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off the wall and swim the length of the pool using a freestyle stroke. The key to this drill is dragging the thumb of each hand up the side of the body until it touches the arm pit on every stroke. This will ensure swimmers get their elbows pointing up and help them develop a rhythm in the water.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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.
Head Up and Head Down Swim with Weight Belt
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.