If you are a swimmer in need of fine-tuning each of your strokes, then learning some advanced swim drills will expedite the process. Improving your swimming technique is impossible unless you use drills to develop good habits that will stick with you over time. It is crucial to develop proper muscle memory so you can avoid locking in bad habits. Here are some advanced swimming drills that will help improve your swimming technique.
- Freestyle drill. There are two problems that even advanced swimmers experience when they swim freestyle: keeping your body straight and maximizing efficiency with your reach. The catch-up drill simultaneously works on both of these problems at the same time. To do the catch-up drill, start by swimming regular freestyle. When you take your first stroke, reach your arm all the way out in front of your body. Hold your hand fully extended above your head while the other hand pulls down and comes back up to meet your other hand. When the hand performing the pull comes back above your head and “catches up” to the hand that has remained above your head, take a stroke with the other arm. Repeat this pattern and you are on your way to a straighter posture and a more effective reach. Remember, you will always have one hand fully extended above your head.
- Backstroke drill. While swimming backstroke, there is a particular way your hand should exit and enter the water. Your thumb should exit the water first when your hand is down by your hip. Your pinky should then enter the water when your hand reaches is above your head. To work on this rotation of the wrist, the wrist-turn drill will help the rotation become second nature. Start by swimming regular backstroke. When your hand exits the water thumb up, stop your stroke when your finger tips are pointing directly at the sky. While your hand is stopped, turn your hand as if your pinky is about to enter the water, then rotate it back so the thumb would enter the water, then rotate one last time so the pinky would enter first. Next, actually enter the water with your pinky. This is a total of three turns of the wrist before you place your hand back in the water. This will work on the rotation of the wrist and help you maintain a strong kick while your arms are idle.
- Butterfly drill. Because it demands tremendous upper body strength, butterfly is the most difficult stroke to swim for a long duration of time. To work on butterfly arms without swimming the full stroke, you can use the one-armed butterfly drill. Start by pushing off the wall with a streamline and dolphin kick. When you reach the surface, take a regular butterfly stroke except only perform the stroke with one arm. While one arm takes a butterfly stroke by itself, the other should be extended directly out in front of your body similar to a freestyle reach. Use the same rhythm as regular butterfly, but instead of using both arms at the same time, simply alternate from your right to left arms.