Freestyle Drills

When doing drills, the main focus should be breaking the stroke down and perfecting it. Don't rush drills -- good technique is the important factor.


Balance Drill

Catch-up Drill

Fingertip Drill

Fist Drill

Hesitation Drill

Salute Drill

Shark Fin Drill

Stroke & Hold Drill

Zipper Drill


Balance Drill (100's @ :30 rest)

Count strokes per length. Is it the same for left and right arm in the 25's? Work at this drill until it is. This will help balance your stroke and help you maintain a better streamline in the water. Breathing to the opposite side of the stroke will also help you develop a roll and balance when you swim regularly.
Try to take the fewest number of strokes possible on the last 50 by maintaining balance and a streamlined body.

Catch-up Drill

This drill is good for freestyle because it emphasizes a power feeling in the last third of the stroke.

Fingertip Drill

This drill is good for freestyle too because it emphasizes body roll and a high elbow recovery.

Fist Drill

This drill forces you to use your forearms, not your shoulders, when you swim freestyle, and it also helps to train you not to drop your elbows in the recovery.

Add some variations by using the Fist Drill with stroke and glide (normal freestyle except the arm extension is held out there longer than normal, accentuating a glide phase).

Hesitation Freestyle Drill

Normal freestyle allows 2 or 3 kicks per arm-stroke. This drill lengthens the amount of time you spend on each side by increasing the number of kicks per stroke to 10, then to 6. This should enhance the feeling of swimming on your side.

The Salute Drill

This drill emphasizes the timing of the downward hip snap in the opposite side arm pull during freestyle. Use fins if you wish.

Modification: Add the Hesitation Drill -- when you are on your side in the salute position, hold it for a 4 count. Snap the top hip down as above and rotate the body to the opposite side where you again pause for a 4 count in the salute position with the other arm.

Shark Fin Drill

This is similar to the Finger Tip Drill, but with this drill, there is a significant amount of effort made to swim on your side while your arm is in a holding pattern.

Stroke and Hold Drill

This drill encourages you to reach maximum extension and rotation (hip and shoulder) and to get comfortable with that feeling. Good freestylers and backstrokers spend little time on their front or back sides and a lot of time rotating from side to side. For breaststroke and butterfly, the position emphasizes good streamlining and lengthening the stroke.

By concentrating on technique instead of speed and yardage, especially early in the season, your body is able to "remember" the right way to swim and your joints become accustomed to the training stress without tiring.

Zipper Drill

This drill is for freestyle and is meant to force you to stay on your side until the last possible moment. This should increase roll and a high elbow recovery.