There is certainly a whole range of drills for freestyle sprinters, but the 3 drills referred to in this article should be included in any sprint swimmer’s training plan.
The first thing to pay attention to is how your body is balanced during the propulsion phase and arm recovery. As we have already seen, your shoulders should rotate through approximately 30°/40° on both sides. This drill is useful for controlling your leg kick, which should remain constant throughout the entire drill to allow make the arm recovery phase easier.
Swimming freestyle, initially perform this drill with your stationery arm extended in front of your head and then, when you have learnt the proper position, you can extend your arm along your body.
Learn to count the number of strokes you make every 25 m, this will allow you to correct any unnecessary movements and work more effectively on your forward propulsion and on reducing any resistance due to incorrect movements.
When performing this drill we often use either fins or (later in the season) a water parachutes or T-shirt to turn this into a strength training drill in the water.
This drill is an excellent means of improving a swimmer’s proprioception and arm stroke sensitivity, training the mind to feel the water not just with the hands but also the forearms. Good swimmers swim with their hands, great swimmers swim with their hands and forearms, elite swimmers swim with their hands, forearms and shoulders!
Perform this drill holding tennis balls in your hands, alternating 25 m slow focusing on how you catch the water with your hands and forearms (and….. shoulders!) with 25 m of extremely fast sprints. The sprints will initially be 15 m and then 25 m. Focus on both the catch phase and also speed of movement.
For this drill too, once the season is underway we use either a parachute or T-shirt to create a slowing-down effect. This makes it possible to focus more on strength in the water.
Your head should be held high with your hands at shoulder width or slightly wider, your elbows higher than your wrists and your wrists higher than your fingers. This means you will have to learn how to check your hand position before beginning the drill.
If it helps, get somebody to film you and compare your initial position and position after making the necessary corrections, focusing on all the details. You will notice a huge difference!
This is an excellent drill for both butterfly and freestyle swimmers. Once again we suggest performing 25 m sets, the best distance for focusing on technique.
We hope these drills will help you become a better swimmer!