Archives for posts with tag: Drill

This week is the final week of longer, mainly aerobic-paced sets before we start introducing some faster paced swimming  as we start to build towards the racing season.  So, after the technique on different strokes we’ve been doing, I want to move back to front crawl so this week I’d like you all to think about using your forearms and the back-half of your underwater pull.

To do this we will do a couple of different drills.  The first is front crawl with fists – which is exactly what it says – front crawl swum with your fists closed.  This will be done as part of a golf stroke set so you see the effect of clenching your fists on your stroke count, measured as part of your golf stroke.  The important thing here is make sure you focus on the propulsion you get from your forearms underwater rather than just relying on your hands.  Try and keep your stroke count with fists as close as possible to your normal stroke count by using your forearms as much as possible.

The second drill, which we have done before, is reverse catch-up.  This is the opposite of normal catch-up front crawl where your arms catch each other up but with both arms by your sides rather than out in front.  This is a great drill to help you focus on keeping the length at the end of each pull rather than at the front.  It also has the added benefit of really helping you think about shoulder rotation.  For a good video demonstrating it see the following:

After the drills we will follow-up with a long set of aerobic-paced 100s, with short rest, and a few IMs thrown in to keep it interesting.

See you Saturday!


I want to continue the focus on efficiency this week by doing something slightly different – Butterfly!  The idea here is that we all find Butterfly the hardest stroke of all to do, and the most tiring.  Therefore, by putting some Butterfly into the middle of a long front-crawl set we will all need to focus on being as efficient and relaxed as possible when the swimming front crawl reps to make sure we have enough energy to do the Butterfly sections.

As before, try and keep the efficiency by relaxing and keeping your stroke count low.  Do this by making sure each underwater pull takes you as far as possible by pushing with your hands, and keeping your hands ahead of your elbows, just like you are swimming over a submerged barrel that you must push yourselves past.

To make the Butterfly sections easier please re-read the post I put on Butterfly technique for this a few weeks ago.  Also, we will do some more Butterfly technique before the main set to give you chance to practise and we will do some single-arm Fly drills and extra Fly kick (also called dive Fly) drills to make it easier.  These drills are very good for learning Fly, and also should be a lot less tiring, so if you can’t manage the full distances for Fly in the main set then please drop back to Fly drills.  See the following video for a demo of the Fly drills we will be doing:

See you Saturday!


During this week’s session I would like everyone to focus on swimming efficiently.  To help with this we will all be doing a set of 50s golf stroke.  Golf stroke, as most of you will remember, is when you count your strokes for 50 and add it to the time it takes you to swim each 50.  So if you take 45 strokes per 50 and 45 seconds per 50 then your golf stroke is 90.  The thing I really like about golf stroke is that your golf stroke is a pretty good measure of your stroke efficiency and you can use it to test out how changes to your stroke affect your efficiency.  The first 50 we will do in the session will be for you to swim a normal steady-pace 50 to remind you of your usual “golf stroke”.  Then we will do some different drills for you to test the effect of the different drills on your golf stroke.

One of the drills we will be doing is quick catch.  I know many of you find it hard to “get it” with this one but it is one of my favourites as I think it can really help you focus on a strong catch with your hand.  This helps you reduce the likelihood of slipping water by dropping your elbows and reduces the tendency to over-reach for the catch and cause snaking with your hips.  If you do this correctly you should feel a surge of power as you lock onto the water at the start of the stroke.  If you don’t feel this, try slowing down the catch and feel for it more with a slight sculling motion.  It is more important to get a strong catch than a quick catch – but many people achieve this by thinking about getting a “quick” catch.  For those of you that need a reminder of this drill please watch again the Dave Scott video I have sent round before:

The main set this week will be quite a long set of 100s with a fairly short rest.  I will also aim to disrupt your rhythm a bit by throwing in a few IMs for fun.  When doing this set, and any long main set we do, please do try and aim to relax as much as possible by swimming efficiently.  Often it can feel stressful when you are trying to “make the turn-round” and you then tense up, swim less efficiently and swim slower over the set.  Instead, try to keep as relaxed as possible and focus on keeping your stroke relaxed and efficient.  Don’t worry about not having much rest – if you are swimming efficiently and relaxed you won’t need it!

See you all Saturday,


We are again going to be focusing on the catch for the technique part of the session on Saturday and doing some drills for this. We will be doing the “quick catch” drill again, amongst others, so check out the video again to remind yourself:

It is the section from 1:01-1:45 that is most important and watch the nice high elbow of the swimmer at the catch.

If you want to watch a good underwater video of Ian Thorpe and his great high-elbow catch, check out:

I’m looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday swimming like Ian Thorpe!

Check out this video for a demonstration of some drills I will be setting at some upcoming Saturday sessions:

The two I want to focus on are the “quick catch” and “high swingers” drills.

Quick catch is a great drill I have used in sessions in the past and having done it myself think is a good one for working on the high elbow position for the catch at the start of the stroke.

“High Swingers” is a horrible name so I call it “Straight Arm Recovery” which I think is a bit more descriptive and a lot less naff. This is a great drill for working on shoulder roll and I have also found it very useful to cure a fault I see with many triathletes – over-reaching. Over-reaching at the front of your stroke puts you in a weak position for the catch and also can cause snaking as you reach too far forwards and kick your hips out of from their streamlined position. This drill stops that by bringing your arm straight over – with a good rotation – and ready for a strong catch.

Check out the video and get ready to try these drills if you haven’t already!

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