Swim Drills: The Key to Efficiency

In the sculling drill, both arms move back and forth in front of you, helping to develop your feel for the water.

Now is the time to focus on technique to develop a more efficient swim stroke. Below is a list of drills to incorporate into your swim sessions.

These drills, which focus on pull, recovery and feel for the water, can be part of your warm-up or cooldown and if done consistently, definitely make a difference.

Single arm: Keep one arm in front while you stroke with the other. Think about reaching over a barrel with a bent elbow in the beginning to initiate a powerful pull.

Fist: Swim with your fingers closed into a fist. This drill helps promote elbow bending in the beginning of the pull.

Catch-up: This is an alternating single-arm drill. Wait for your hand to meet the other in front before pulling (touch and go) with the other arm. This drill works on your pull and rotation.

Finger-tip drag: On your recovery, drag you finger tips lightly across the water before entering for the next pull. This works on high elbow during the recovery.

Scull: On your stomach, with arms stretched out, place your palms together and thumbs up. Rotate hands so that thumbs are down (with hands apart) and move your palms outward while pushing water out just past shoulder width. Rotate hands to thumbs up and push water back in (almost a figure 8.) Feeling the water pressure with your hands and arms should move you forward in the pool. Keep your face in the water during the drill, raising your head to breathe while kicking.

Next: Kicking Drills to Improve Body Position and Rotation

Find and register for swimming events near you.


Karen Buxton coaches triathletes, duathletes, cyclists and runners and can be reached at CoachBuxton.com.

Related Articles:

      • Sculling: The Forgotten Drill

      • Structure Drills Into a Beginner's Training Plan

      • More Drills and Technique Tips

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