Most swim practices and group swim sessions have some drills included in them. And it’s good practice to do some drills to keep your technique and your movement patterns good.

But are you getting the most out of them? Or just going through the motions? And not really thinking about it? Do you cringe internally when they appear in a swim set and wonder why to even bother?

If you want to make some changes to your stroke then you definitely need to do some drills!

Here are some tips to get the most out of them.

  1. Do you know the purpose of the drill? If not ask the coach if you’re in a group session or look it up before you go. And if you don’t know… another drill.
  2. Pick 1 or 2 key thing that you know will help your own stroke.
  3. Focus! On 1 thing! For the entire time you’re doing the drill.
  4. Short sections of a drill done well, are best. Half a length doing it well is better than a whole length where 50% of it is rubbish.
  5. Practice the drill with your 1 focal point. Then swim with the same focal point. Integrating the movement into your swim.
  6. If doing more than 1 drill in a session then make the drills connect to each other, are progressive and reinforce the movement. Eg arm recovery followed by an entry drill works well. A timing drill can by un-done easily by a catch drill.
  7. Think about the movement patterns and positions in the drill and see where they apply to the stroke and where they don’t. A common drill is sculling on the front in flat position with the head up, so not a position we see in swimming and so doesn’t help balance, posture and rotation.
  8. As you move out of the drill section into the main set integrate the focal points and movement throughout the whole session.
  9. Whatever the main set is and however hard or however easy -keep the focal points in mind the whole time.
  10. Integrate and imprint the focal points into you stroke. This is how you will change your stroke and get faster.