To become a proficient swimmer, it is imperative to learn and practice swimming drills for every stroke. The more times you swim a stroke incorrectly, the more difficult it will be to correct in the future. This is why it is so important to learn drills for every stroke and to do them early and often. Here are some swimming drills that will improve your all-around swimming ability, and fine-tune some important specifics of each stroke.
- Freestyle Drills. An important part of swimming freestyle is the arm motion. Two important parts of the arm motion are keeping high elbows and pulling all the way through the water. The finger-tip-drag drill is great for working on keeping your elbows high. To do the fingertip-drag drill, swim regular freestyle except when you bring your arm from your side to up above your head, bend your elbow at a sharp angle and drag your fingertips across the top of the water. Your arm should look like a shark fin coming out of the water. Repeat this with both arms, dragging your fingertips each stroke. Another drill, great for working on your pull, is the explosion pull drill. Again, swim regular freestyle except when your pull gets down by your hip, explode your hand out of the water at your waist hard enough to make an exaggerated splash. This will make your normal pull seem easier over time and increase the effectiveness of your feel in the water.
- Backstroke Drill. The rotation of your shoulders is a very important component of backstroke. A drill you can use to perfect this rotation is the rotate-and-kick drill. Begin this drill by swimming regular backstroke, but after you take the first stroke, and your hand is reaching out over your head, hold it in place. Rotate your body so that one shoulder is pointing directly up at the sky and the other is pointing directly down at the bottom of the pool. Hold this position and kick for four seconds. Rotate to the other side by taking a normal stroke with the other arm, and repeat. This will help your backstroke rotation, while also working on strengthening your kick.
- Breaststroke Drill. One of the most important components of breaststroke is the glide forward. In order to work on this motion, you need to practice the glide-and-hold drill. This drill is similar to the rotate-and-kick backstroke drill in that you will hold your glide for four seconds. Start by swimming regular breaststroke. When you shoot your hands forward and glide, hold your glide for four seconds before you pull back up. It might be difficult to stay steady the first few attempts, but as you work on the glide and strengthen your core it will become easier to remain stable.
- Butterfly Drill. This drill is one of the most fun drills for one of the most difficult strokes. Some people have a hard time fully lifting their arms out of the water while swimming butterfly. This drill will help you understand what it feels like to get your arms all the way out of the water. Its called the dolphin dive because the motion is similar to the way a dolphin swims. First, either stand at the end of the pool or hold onto the side. Push off the wall and do a butterfly arm motion. when your hands hit the water, drive your body all the way down to the bottom of the pool. When your hands touch the bottom, bring your feet to the pool floor and push your way back up to the top. When you reach the surface, make another butterfly arm motion and repeat. The force of pushing off the bottom of the pool should give you enough velocity to get your arms all the way out of the water.