By now, your balance in swimming should have improved a great deal.
By doing the swimming drills in the previous two posts, you’re comfortable being on your side.
You can get further over on your side…both your right and left and you can stay there longer.
Here are the next steps in the swimming drill progression totake your swiming balance to the next level.
Swimming Balance Drill #1: Three Touch Drill
For this drill, you’ll start off stationary. After you’ve got the hang of it, then you can add a kick and a pull and perform 25’s.
Begin by balancing on your left side. Bottom arm extended, top arm resting on your ribs. Your top hand will be somewhere by your hips. (Unless you have super long arms and then it might be by your knees.)
You’re going to need a big breath on this one because your face will be in the water a while.
Make sure that your face is in the water; head down, eyes looking towards the bottom.
Bring your top arm over the top in an easy recovery. While staying on your side, reach as far as possible in front towards the bottom hand.
Touch the water. That’s the first touch.
As soon as you touch the water, bring the hand and arm back to your hip and touch your hip.
That’s the second touch.
Now, once again bring that arm forward as far as you can and touch the water.
By now, you’re going to need a breath. So stop, stand up and take a breath. Then repeat.
Let’s dive into some of the more specific points of this drill.
- The recovery is slow and relaxed. I tell my swimmers to take three seconds to go in one direction. That makes the drill about a 10 second drill.
- It doesn’t matter if you do a high/bent elbow recovery, a straight arm or a semi-straight arm recovery. Just make sure your shoulder, arm and hand are relaxed.
- If you sweep the arm out wide, the arm will pull you down to your stomach. The closer you keep it in line with your side (sagittal plane) the easier the drill is.
- You may notice that when your hand is in front and touching the water that it bring your hips up. This is due to the fulcrom effect. If you notice this, congratulations! You’re doing great.
Now, we are going to add one very critical action to the drill.
You’re going to add your breath. The sequence goes like this:
- Balance on your side,
- Turn your head to the side, take a breath.
- Face in the water
- Three touch drill
Now, if you want to continue the drill stationary, you’ll have to add a fourth touch so that your recovery arm ends up on your hip.
So simple cues would be:
- Face in
- Four touches
It is very important that you get your face back down into the water, and be looking down when you do the three point touches.
This drill really teaches you to balance on your side and to control your body from the core.
Do it slow and relaxed. Be sure to practice it on both sides.
When you’re ready lets go the next drill which is…
Three Touch Catch-up Drill for Swimming
You’re going to begin this drill exactly the same.
This time, after your third touch, begin to pull with the arm that had been extended.
So if you’re on your left side, your right arm will 1. Touch the water, 2. Touch your hip, 3. Touch the water.
Then 4. Pull with the left arm.
Now you will end up on your right side.
And obviously, repeat the drill for 25 yards.
Remember the main focus on this drill is to improve your balance in swimming on both sides.
The biggest error I see swimmers make is they keep their face out of the water.
I want you to learn to have your face in the water before you start your recovery.
This drill, once mastered, can be a great drill for focusing on the Catch, Front Quadrant Swimming, and the use of the hips for power.
I hope you’ll add it to your repertoire of swimming drills.
As always, let me know what you think and feel free to ask for more information.