3 Swim Drills To Improve Your Front Crawl Technique | Swim Faster Freestyle In your Next Triathlon

3 Swim Drills To Improve Your Front Crawl Technique | Swim Faster Freestyle In your Next Triathlon

– Swimming is a highly technical sport and getting the hang of that technique is no easy task, but then swimming with the wrong technique could mean that you’re swimming inefficiently, on other words, making it a lot harder then it should be. – Yeah, the best way to
improve your technique is to work on drills. Now these drills mostly overemphasize or focus on a specific
area, so that you can then hone in the perfect technique. – Yeah, and it doesn’t
matter how good you are, whether you’re one of the best swimmers or best triathletes you’ll be
doing drills in every session so we’ve picked out
and we’ll be explaining our three favorite drills. (upbeat dance music) So the first drill we’re gonna look at is the scull, it’s a
popular one amongst swimmers and triathletes no matter their level. Now it really helps to improve
that feel for the water at different stages through the stroke, and that purchase of the water. Now what I mean by that is the feeling that you can apply force with confidence whilst you’re swimming. So the scull that we’re
gonna be focusing on today is the front scull, so it’s when your hand first enters the water
and you’re applying force that a lot of swimmers and
triathletes trip up on. So when our hand enters the water it’s important that we’re
applying pressure the right way. If not well we begin to
sink, and because we’re not applying any force then
we begin to slow down. So we’re essentially
swimming in this sort of stop start motion, which is a
pretty hard way of doing it. So I want you to grab a pool buoy, we’re going to isolate
the use of our arms. So the pool buoy will just
help to keep the legs afloat without panicking that they’re sinking. We’re going to lie face down in the water and to begin with we’re going to start with our eyes out of the water and arms outstretched
so your hands are inline with your shoulders. Try to keep your arms relatively straight but not fully locked out,
you want to be prepared to apply a force through them. Now sweep your hands outwards, around 30 centimeters
or so, it’s important you don’t go too wide, and that you push the water outwards too. Then turn the hands so your
palms are facing more inwards and scull back towards the starting point. Now I like to imagine
this as if you’ve got a pile of sand in front of you, you want to split that pile of sand, and then bring that pile
of sand back together in the middle. Now it’s important that
you don’t flex your elbows too much at this point, this is the point that a lot of people try
to do a breaststroke stroke to propel themselves forward. Don’t do that, and also make sure that your elbows aren’t
dropping down too much. If they are below your
hands then you’re not really applying pressure on the water. Repeat this over and over,
keeping it controlled and steady. If you do need to flutter
the legs to maintain a little leg flotation or
for a slight propulsion that is fine, but try
to keep it to a minimum, don’t expect to move anywhere
fast with this drill, but if you do struggle to move anywhere, try pitching the hands ever so slightly. (fast whooshing) – Okay now for one of the old
favorites, the doggy paddle. Now it’s actually a progression
from the front scull that we’ve just covered and
it might sound slightly daft as a drill but it’s
actually really valuable. In theory the doggy paddle
is basically putting together the catch and the pull in a
very slow and controlled manner. But if you want, you can put fins on to make it a little bit easier, just anything to make
sure that you’re nailing the actual stroke part
of the doggy paddle. So you want to start on your front, with your eyes just above
the surface of the water. We’re basically going to
perform the front crawl stroke but without the recovery phase. So pull through, all the
way to the back of the hip and now slide your hand
back underneath the water as close as possible to reduce the drag and then start again. The main focus point here is that fact that you’re pressing down
at the front of the stroke because that helps you get that lift, and it’s where the high elbow comes in, you might have heard people talk about. I like to imagine you’re putting a hand over the top of the
barrel, and at no point should your elbow drop below your wrist. This drill is just a great
way of slowing it down and really making sure you
perfect that part of the stroke. So it’s also important
to keep your head still when you’re doing doggy paddle. It doesn’t matter if your heads up, some people prefer to put
their head in the water, just whatever you do
make sure it stays still so it keeps your stroke really straight. Then you can track your arm going directly underneath your body. When we’re talking about the arm you want to have your elbow at about 90 to 120 degrees of an angle, because that’s where it’s strongest and it will keep nice and
straight as it goes through. And then make sure you
finish off the full pull. Some people are taught doggy paddle that’s just in front of you like this, but this stroke is about replicating the full swim stroke,
so once you get to here you need to make sure you finish your pull with that push bit and go
right down to your hip. Once you’ve finished the final extension from there to recover you’re
just gonna bring your hand close to your body, back
up through to the top to take your next stroke. When you’re ready you
can progress this further by adding in rotation
which rotation of the hips and the shoulders, so for example, if you’re going in with your right hand you’ll be rotating away on the left side, and then as you pull
underneath you start to rotate back towards the center line and then the final phase of the stroke
you’ll already be rotating to the right hand side
as you get ready to pull with the left, this just
adds that extra bit of power that you can really
put through the stroke. And as with the scull
drill you can progress this to longer distances and then
go straight into a swim off and when you’re feeling
ready, take your fins away so you’re replicating more
of that normal stroke. (fast whooshing) – And on the subject of rotation, this next drill is great
for perfecting that, it is three swim, six kick. So when we don’t rotate and we’re swimming quite flat in the water we’re pretty much just hammering a couple of muscle groups, our pecs and our biceps. Now that works to a degree,
but we’re essentially just muscling our way through the water. So the idea behind rotation
is that we’re utilizing far more muscle groups,
particularly into our backs. This just helps to make us
more stable in the water, it makes our stroke more fluid and by rotating we’re also
reducing our surface area in the water. Three swim, six kick is as
it says on the tin really, it’s three full strokes
followed by six kicks. But the main focus is on
the rotation involved, and by breaking the stroke down like this it allows us time to think about it and reset between each cycle. So start by swimming
normally for three strokes and then on the third stroke,
rather than pulling through you should stop with your
arm extended in front of you. Focus on pushing the
shoulder of that arm forward almost to touch your
chin, at the same time as rotating your hips to help that motion. At the same time it’s the really important take away from this, hips and shoulders should always move in sync,
neither should lead the other. Now that you’re on your side
you should start kicking roughly for six kicks,
granted that’s quite hard to calculate, so two to
three seconds will do. Whilst you do this you may
keep your head in the water and looking ahead, or to begin with, you can rest your head on it’s side with your mouth out of the water. Whilst you’re kicking on
your side this is the time to start resetting yourself
and really thinking about your next three strokes
and nailing that rotation. You can think about resetting that core, activating it, so that
everything moves together. Then as you end the six
kicks, begin the pull and begin to rotate the
shoulders back around, all whilst rotating your hips. When your hand pushes
and finishes the stroke past your hips I often use
the cue to rotate the hips and shoulders, almost as
if the hand is pushing the hips out of the way. And this is another drill
that can be performed with fins, just to make
it easier for yourself, and start off with something short like 15 to 25 meters of the drill and then swim off for 10 to 15 meters just to really reinforce
that good technique. Right well that is just three drills there and a lot of information
so it’s really important to break a drill down and
if you are still struggling do feel free to send us a question in the comment section below. – Yeah I think the key point
is, it’s all about patience and it’s not about speed
when it comes to the drills. – Absolutely.
– Well if you’ve enjoyed this and you want to make sure you get all of our videos hit
the globe to subscribe, and if you like the look of these t-shirts and you want to get your hands on one then click on the link for the shop. – Yeah, and if you’d like to see our top five skills to master for swimming just click down here. – And if you want to see a video we made looking specifically at the
catch part of the stroke that’s just here.

26 thoughts on “3 Swim Drills To Improve Your Front Crawl Technique | Swim Faster Freestyle In your Next Triathlon

  1. Thank you for the video I learned a lot im in my 30s and i know how to swim but I'm still learning how I fill slow and like I'm fighting the water I hope you all don't mind I have been adding your videos on swimming and running to a playlist called tri tri again if you know any other videos that would be helpful please let me know

  2. It seems really hard to count it all down, so counting few seconds is a good idea. In this regards it will be really useful if you had a non-slo-mo video of each drill. This way we can get better idea of the rhythm.

  3. Love me some sculls! 3-6 is good too, but I typically need small fins. Doggy paddle is my nemesis. But at least it’s better than my frog leg kick, where I quite literally move backwards. 🤔

  4. Heather does an S shaped pull back, but Marks pull is straighter. Do you think straight or S-shaped is better?

  5. Heather, I can't help but thinking you're losing the catch…..
    There are two schools of thought but the straighter arm with a high elbow is the swim smooth/British triathlon method….I come from a swimming background and this was discussed in my coaching course. In my swimming I have been concerned about shoulder rotation and doing an s style…. having now changed my stroke to hip rotation and a straighter arm pull (less loss of the water) I have not lost any speed but I feel more efficient and less muscle strength seems to be needed.
    It's much easier to teach the catch and pull in a straight line…. however don't be tempted to change a fast swimmer who does the S shape because they may lose speed!
    People who copy the S stroke when they haven't mastered the catch may finding themselves losing that force on their hands way before getting to their hips. Get them them think about pulling a rope. Doggy paddle drill helps with this.

  6. I do those three drills every time I swim it is part of my warm for the pass 12 months, but are frustrated that I am not making much or any improvement in my pace.

  7. Great video, great content 👍
    Would be very interesting to hear a bit about your improvals since u started swimming. How often are u training/week and which kind of drills/ distances are u training etc :)?
    I am currently stuck at a pace of 1:45/ 100 m up to a 1.5 km swim – do u have any tips on how to consistently improve ?

  8. this is really helpful for me when i do my swimming on saturday i do front crawl and i rarely kick my my legs and i need to improve on my arms.

  9. I'm 62 years old and do sprints of 100 yards for 1 hour! I can do an underwater dolphin kick 1 lane with 1 breath and Kickin only one breath 1 lane I find after swimming 45 years the sprinting is more fun and more muscle!

  10. Thank you Heather and Mark. Appreciate the new drills to help me on my journey to become a better swimmer.

  11. I'm starting a swimming class, thanks for the tips have been helping a lot , I'm learning 😃😃😃😃😃

  12. Hooray Heather & Mark! Your videos on swimming technique have been a great help since I first started watching them a couple of months ago. I did convert 30 cm (the width of the scull) to imperial. Here in USA we'd call it a foot (30 1/2 cm).

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