Whether you are just starting out in your swimming career or a seasoned veteran, one thing will never change: a solid freestyle technique is critical. Performing freestyle drills is a great way to keep your technique in order as well as break up the monotony of the everyday in the pool. The following three techniques are great ways to continue to perfect your freestyle technique.
One Arm Swimming
Swimming with one arm is extremely helpful in developing your form. You can do this drill with butterfly and backstroke as well. Healthy Living suggests that you swim 25 yards with your right arm only, keeping your left arm extended in front of you and breathing on your right side. Then swim 25 yards with your left arm only. Swim 50 yards normally, focusing on maintaining the good technique you practiced with the one-arm swimming.
Closed Fist Freestyle
This drill is pretty self-explanatory. Simply ball up your hands, removing the surface area that your out-stretched fingers would usually provide for your pull, and swim freestyle as you normally would. By swimming with closed fists, it reinforces the notion that when you are pulling that you should be also using your forearms, and not just your hands! This added emphasis on the surface area of the forearm also pushes you towards a higher elbow recovery. Your Swim Book says that while your stroke count per length will go down a little bit, and once you unclench those hands you will get a little jolt of power, your hands now feeling like over-sized swim paddles.
Freestyle with Fly Kick
Stack.com explains that a very common swimming technique error is overgliding, or overreaching your arms. This drill is designed to combat that. How is it done? Perform one fly kick as your hand enters the water. Doing one kick per stroke forces you to elevate your stroke rate and cut down on the glide. You should imagine your arms like a kayak paddle—balanced and smooth as they turn over. Start by doing 25 yards or meters at a time and slowly build up over time.
Often times, simply being mindful of your freestyle technique improves it. However, everyone needs to be brought back to the basics through drills. Whether you do a closed-fist freestyle or a freestyle with a fly kick, your form will improve with continued practice in these drills.