I mentioned last week that my swimming feels off, ever since I took the week out of the pool with the escaped inmate (by the way we captured him, not sure I ever mentioned that). I decided to try to sneak some more workouts in and focus on stroke drills. I have read other blogs lately looking for stroke drills so I thought I would share. About half of these I already do so I was happy, some are new and I look forward to trying them. I stole them from http://www.mvm.org/workouts-drills.php .
Swimming with hands completely in a fist. No "karate-chop" hands allowed! Concentrate on body position, using your forearm in the catch and optimum elbow bend through the stroke. When you return to swimming with an open palm, your hands will feel as large as kickboards! Have fun and think Distance Per Stroke!
Kicking without a kickboard will allow you to perform your kick in the same body position of the stroke. Kicking with a kickboard will allow you to get to know your lane mates.
For freestyle, kick on your side with your bottom arm (the one closer to the bottom of the pool) extended straight out of your shoulder line before your head. Keep your palm facing down and your extended hand about 8 inches under water. The top arm (the one on the surface of the water) should be relaxed at your side with your had on your hip and out of the water. Maintain a head position as though you were swimming freestyle, with your head in line with your spine. Press your arm pit toward the pool bottom to get your hip at the surface of the water. Your extended arm should feel weightless.
While swimming 50's repeats, calculate your "score" for each 50 by counting your strokes in both directions (one arm equals one stroke) and adding it to your time. For example: If you swim 50 freestyle with 20 strokes per 25 in a time of :40, you would have a score of 80 (20 + 20 + 40). Descend your score by taking less strokes and/or completing the 50 in less seconds with each successive 50.
When swimming Full Catchup freestyle, pull with one arm at a time and touch your hands in a streamlined position out front between each alternating arm stroke. Keep your extended hands about 8 inches under the surface of the water for improved body position. Concentrate on swimming in the front quadrant and keep a long, streamlined body line.
You can progress to simply exchanging hands in the "passing zone" extended in front. We call this the "Ear Catch-Up" Drill, wherein you begin your pull as your opposite arm passes by your ear near the completion of the recovery.
Fingertip Drag Drill
This drill is swimming normal Freestyle while dragging your fingertips along the surface of the water on the recovery. Focus on a high elbow recovery, which ensures proper hand and elbow position at your hand entry. You should also check your body position during this drill, focusing on good side-to-side rotation
This is the same as the 6-Count Drill above, but you take three strokes as you switch from side to side. Focus on long strokes and quick hips in these three strokes, completely rotating from one side to the other. Maintain great body position while kicking on your side!
Single Arm (R, L) Drill
Preferred: With the opposite (nonworking arm) at your side. Breathe to the side of the nonworking arm. The secret to success with this drill is to complete your breath before stroking. Concentrate on the catch, initiating body rotation with the core body muscles. Take this drill slowly: technique is more important than speed.
Single Arm freestyle with opposite arm at your side (see description above), executing 2 right arms and then 2 left arms. This takes some practice, but may very well become your favorite freestyle drill once you master it. Focus on rhythm and timing from the hips. Remember to take your breath with an arm extended out front (on the opposite side of the extended arm). If you swim this drill easily and well, your technique is close to perfect.
Open Water Swimming Drills
Sighting Drill: Swim normal freestyle. On every 5th stroke, raise your head straight forward and "sight" on an object off in the distance. You can place a target object or sight something already in place, i.e.: a tree. After sighting the object, lower your head back into normal position. Practice maintaining a balanced stroke rhythm and rotation while clearly seeing the target object.
Blind Swimming: Swim normal freestyle with your eyes completely closed. On every 5th stroke, raise your head straight forward and "sight" on an object off in the distance (above). Make sure you are maintaining a straight path down the pool. You can do this drill swimming side-by-side with your lane mates to reinforce swimming in a straight path.