Drills for Correcting Common Errors by Dick Hannula (2008)


[Introduction] It is my pleasure to introduce to you Dick Hannula. Coach Hannula has been an icon in our sport, both at the high school level and the club level for the last 40 years. A past president of ASCA, a member of the ASCA Hall of Fame and I think more important, an ambassador for the professionalism of our sport: the Ben Franklin, if you will, of swimming. He’s someone that exemplifies professionalism, integrity and helpfulness. He is someone that is always out there for you and willing to give to you.

[editor’s note: Refer to Coach Hannula’s hand out at the end of this transcript.]

[Coach Hannula] Thank you Richard.

The handout you received is not intended to be an entire catalog of every stroke drill that is possible to use. It is just a beginning point for any coach. Some of these drills included on that handout are what I would call or consider critical drills: intended for my more advanced competitive groups: my top groups. Some are minor that I hardly ever use. And some are used a lot, especially in the entry levels of competitive swimming. I think you have to take fundamental drills and build on those.

Streamlining: Extended Torpedo Position
One of the big emphases in yesterday’s talk was on streamlining. Streamlining is probably the one major technique that could accomplish more than any other single drill you are ever going to use.

The Olympic videos that Mark Schubert showed were just fantastic on starts and also on turns. The amount of streamlining, the amount of forward thrust, the amount of torpedoing/stretching/streamlining, whatever you want to call it, was fundamental and emphasized.

I always emphasized it. But, I didn’t teach it in the water. I taught it out of the water and I will show you. (You will see a video to show you how I did that) They lie on their back on the deck. It is so darn important to really force those arms in tight. Get the arms behind the ears and force those arms in tight. I try to put my foot into the back to make sure that the back and spine and back of the head are all lined up. Then I have them teach each other. If they don’t teach each other, I don’t think they really pick it up. Then, of course, we do it in the water, and demonstrate it in practice. But I think persistent teaching and coaching is essential. They have got to be consistent through training. When they get tired watch the turns in streamline position: brutal. You have got to be insisting that every turn, even when they are really tired, is 100% correct.

A number of years ago I was going to a clinic and I wanted to get some video clips of some different things. I asked this young lady and she was typical. I asked her to really stand up and streamline and show what it should be. I thought it was just excellent. The back of the head, and the back of the spine are all lined up.

We will go ahead and watch the video clip and pay attention because you will see how they teach each other and how I would teach it on the deck. Here is the deck work. You will see me coming up, putting the heels of my feet just above her elbows. Any one of you can put a lot of pressure on those arms if you turn those heels in. Here are a couple of water practice examples and then some pictures showing swimmers teaching each other.

Going forward, the format will be video of championship swimmers showing favorable techniques, followed by high school swimmers making common mistakes and then views of correcting drills for common mistakes.

Championship Freestyle. You will get a chance to see championship swimmers in various meets and the major goals of the stroke. Then, we will go on into what drills to use to attain what we are looking for.

Here’s Ian Thorpe first. Watch for the length achieved in long axis streamlining and then in the trunk rotation. You should see this from the hips. Maybe it should be driven from the hips in the trunk rotation. It is simultaneous with the shoulders, head and the hips through the trunk. Watch the body position. It will be horizontal on the water. I think the critical thing is the early vertical forearm. It’s the ability to get and make the catch and position it to effectively drive the water straight back. The line of pull should be as direct as possible and the timing of the breathing should be that the head rotates with the trunk. The head doesn’t lead, but the head rotates with the trunk of the body.

Look at the vertical forearm on this swimmer, Alexander Popov, watch for the hand/wrist/elbow entry.

High School Technical Errors:
Now the next thing I am going to show is some video from average high school swimmers. As far as the errors they make, you could say etc, etc, etc. I think what you really notice is that no one is getting an early vertical forearm. The kicks are non-streamlined. You see a lot of dropped elbows.

I think that’s why it’s so important to teach the drills correctly to start with. Then, they are getting into the position where there is very little chance of them actually dropping an elbow. Look at how high their head is: the back of the spine is not lined up. She is not in a horizontal position and she is leading with the elbows. The kick is not streamlined. You could go on and on.

I think you can contrast what championship swimmers are doing against your young kids. When looking at something they are doing, they have a pretty good idea, and maybe, a lot more motivation to work on the drills correctly.

Pretty much the same thing here: head too high. He is not entering hand/wrist/elbow. The whole arm is coming in about the same time. Here is “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.” The hip rotation is not there. Here the head is too high and he is leaning to breathe with the head. The chin should follow the shoulder and trunk as it rotates, but doesn’t

Freestyle Correcting Drills:
1.Hand-wrist-elbow entry
2.Shark fin
3.“Russian” crawl
4.One-arm swims
5.Forearm paddles
6.Han’s Paddles
7.Long axis flutter kick
Okay, the corrective drills: examples that you are going to see. I put down some drills, most of them you are very familiar with. The only thing that I would point out is, “They have got to be done correctly. “

When you see the long axis kicking with one arm forward and one arm back, watch the position of the hand and watch the position of the elbow. I have always used a hand/wrist/elbow entry drills. We do them as walking drills and standing drills. I always thought it is a great reminder.

This is the one arm extended/one arm back. Try to get in a position where the elbows are not dropped. This is the shark fin and it just builds from the other. You have got to make sure you keep that little finger slightly elevated out front.

This is one-arm swimming. Again, like when you first taught it, you have got to work on keeping the arm that is out front in proper position. This example is good because the arm out front is not dropping the elbow.

This one is called Russian crawl. You probably all have done it. You come up slowly and you hesitate at the high point of the elbow and then throw the arm forward. This is pretty much what we were doing.

This is a hand/wrist/elbow drill done as a standing drill. I always ask for them to talk through every step. Have them say, “ Hand – wrist – elbow,” “Hand – Wrist – Elbow.”. Keep talking/saying it. Then we go to walking drills and then we go from there to swimming drills. Actually you try to get people to talk, “hand – wrist – elbow,” so they keep being very aware that they want to get it in fingers first.

Championship Backstroke: It is almost the same: long axis streamlining, skewered swimming with trunk rotation. We try to visualize a metal rod through the top of the head down through the spine. I used to say a wooden rod, “Don’t break it.”

The whole rotation is right around that rod and it is so important that you keep that, everything, moving forward. Check body position again: stay high in the water, horizontally. I think your line of pull should be as direct as possible and that most of the sweep action that you see is really the hand.

Make a catch. But don’t make a catch that is so deep that it is going to slow the arm stroke down. Make a catch that is deep enough that you make a good firm hold of the water and as you drive that water by, your body is rotating around that skewered position. It is the position of the hand in relationship to the body that is moving a little bit of action. It isn’t because you are trying to bring that up and down. I think you want to try to make that line of pull as direct as possible. Just like you are trying to do in the freestyle.

Your stroke rate is so affected by how deep you make that entry. If you make it too shallow, you don’t have any water, so you have got to learn where that is.
I think that is Lenny Krayzelburg. The line of pull is you try to drive that back and then finish it. Try to push it off so that you can get it out and whip it back up and forward, because the turnover is so critical in backstroke. Here’s some slow motion: looks like little finger entry.
I threw something in there from 1996, Krysztina Egerszegi, I think backstroke technique wise – she was one of the greatest. Note the arm bend to get the power at mid-point or just a little before mid-point.

High School Technical Errors:
I don’t know, it’s almost ‘too bad’ that we show you the high school backstroke technical errors, because just about everything was an error. There was just a lot to be seen that was wrong in their backstroke swimming. Take your pick. You will look at this and you will see what is happening.

There is a girl that gets down, to my thinking, too deep. She can’t handle that. This is anything but streamline. This is also extremely deep. If you get that depth, and then lead with the thumb in your stroke, all you are doing is sliding through the water. And that is what is happening a good share of the time here. I don’t see any trunk rotation here.

I think I worked backstroke and taught backstroke technique about as much as anybody ever has. I had pretty good success with our backstrokers. In fact, two of the three kids that made it on the Olympic team, while they were still in high school, were backstrokers.

Backstroke Correcting drills:
1.One-arm swims
2.Touch down swims
3.Touch and Go
4.Cork-screw swims
5.Assorted Kicking drills
6.Spin out swims

These are one arm swims with one arm at the side. The critical ones, that I think I always use, are touch down swims and I will explain that. You will see it. I always use touch and go and I use corkscrew swims and of course, I use all kinds of assorted kicking drills, but I think 2, 3 and 4 are real critical.

Spin-out swims I use the spin-out drill when there is a problem. I think it is exceptionally good to get people so that they enter correctly. If they are entering inside of 12 o’clock, you use the spin-out drill so they can’t. I used to have a boy that went to the University in his swimming season. He would come back in the summer and his left arm would recover out here and his right arm would cover straight over. I put him on the spin out drills every day for a short time and usually within a week or less he had a balanced stroke again.

Q: Can you explain the spin-out drill?
A: The way I used to tell the kids, “you are sitting in a real small bathtub. Just sit way up so that the back of your head is basically going to be on the water. You are all crunched up and you just sit there in the water and go. You do not necessarily try to move any distance, but you go and then you just – after so many strokes you lengthen out a little bit – lengthen out a little bit and try to keep that speed up.” That is all I do and it seems to work, but you will see them doing it. I talked yesterday about this streamline. We do a lot of crosspool kicking under water. Here is a flutter kick and now it is a butterfly kick. This is a basic drill alternating shoulder rotation, both arms at your side. See the head is stable, but the trunk is rotating adequately.

This is recovery line. Sometimes use it, most of the time don’t.

This is what I think is critical. This is hyper-extended: one arm long/one arm back.

This is “touch and go” with HANS paddles. ®

This is “touch and go” with what I call the gripper®: a little bigger paddle. This is critical to me. I think you really learn to use your legs and get your stroke balanced with this particular drill.
We usually do so many turns and then go really hard to the wall. She was doing quite a few. In other words, we don’t stay with the drill forever once we get it. We go from a drill to full stroke.

This is the corkscrew. You usually take maybe 7 strokes and then switch, or 5 strokes and then switch.

This is pretty fast, but this is spin-out.

This is turning your camera upside down and taking the pictures. That was on purpose. I tried to get it so it looked like you’ve bent over and looked at the swimm
ers under your arm, with your head upside down.
I learned that from Howard Firby, the great coach from Canada & Canadian Dolphin Swim Team, an Olympic coach, etc. But he was a master technician and he taught me back in the 60’s to do that. I was amazed at how much more you could see and how much differently it looked. So it doesn’t look the same as you see here. I threw that in just to emphasize. You ought to take a look.

This is another backstroke kicking drill. I either do it with the hands in the water or hands out of the water to make them kick a little harder. This is the drill that is critical. I think you learn trunk rotation and the path of the arm stroke on this one. I call it the touch down drill. “You touch down to the side, wait for it, touch down to the side, wait for it and touch down to the side.” Again, I think you learn the trunk rotation and the path of the arm stroke. I think there is nothing like it.

Championship butterfly technique: Platform alignment is critical. When I say platform alignment, it is simply, “with your arms out front, the back of the head and the spine are all lined up.”

You could break that alignment by unhinging your head just a little bit. If your chin is too far forward or you have got the head raised too high, you have unhinged. It is no longer hinged. The head must be hinged to this line through the back of his spine. I think it is as simple as that. It is one of the key things to teach and it is so easy to teach. The other one is when they drop their chin a little bit towards the chest. It could be slightly or it could be too much, but anything is wrong. So again, you can become unhinged this way and not get the distance on the stroke that you should be getting, and there are two points of that.

Breathing is the other place where you have to be in a so-called platform. Breathe with the head hinged and the eye position changes. It should be down and forward, looking down on the water, slightly forward. That is going to vary with individuals in the exact point, but that is where you are looking. Your head is hinged because at this point your head and the back of the spine are lined up again. It’s important because if it becomes unhinged, you come too high or you keep it down in the wrong spot. Hopefully, on the drills, you will see that.

As I watched the Olympic videos the other day, those people do manage to keep their position: their platform position, both in up front and keep it unhinged on the breathing. Whether I am effective or not, I just try to get them to reach long. I tell them to throw their arms as far out in front as they can. And I teach them to breathe late in the arm stroke to get in the habit of taking that late.

Anchor the elbows on the catch, fingertips down. It is so critical, again, that you make an adequate catch.

I believe in front end butterfly and karate exit. Swimmers get better and better at getting back, but the younger they are, I think the more you have to emphasize the front end quadrant. Keep everything out in front, as much as possible. Howard Firby said, “ Karate chop, karate chop”, just when the butterfly first got to be legal. You know, we didn’t know what we were doing. When I started coaching there was no butterfly. There was “butterfly breaststroke,” but there was no butterfly. And we started watching pictures of fish and dolphins swimming. Everybody was doing something that was so huge and big in the leg. It was a little bit too much, but he used that business.

I always say, “hands away, karate chop, hands away, hands away” so you can fly forward. It is called the butterfly so you can fly forward. If you get trapped back in here, if you get down there too far, you are not going to be able to fly forward. You are not going to really throw that thing out. Now, the more efficient you get, the stronger you get, the further back you can get. But you still don’t get away from hands away or a karate exit.

High School butterfly: It’s kind of a crime to go to these. But among the high school butterflyers that I have, just about everybody misses on something. So I guess it just emphasizes how much teaching we really have to do. And hopefully, all of your swimmers look much better. I have to be honest with you. All of my swimmers look much better, but these are not my swimmers. These are swimmers I got together for the video.

I have to make one more comment. I have a son, my second son, who, when he was about 13 or 14, would swim butterfly. He couldn’t get his head out back in here. He would always get his head out up in here, and he would recover with his head up going forward. It was just a brutal butterfly. We just went through drills and drills and drills and worked on it. It got a little stronger and he got a little more proficient. But he did learn to do it and actually became a national champion in the 400 meter individual medley, so he had to have a great butterfly. And he got so he could do a pretty good 200 butterfly.

So much depends on people not giving up early, being able to look at their stroke and know exactly what it needs to look like. And then, what drills are going to help and some of these drills we are going to be showing you do help.

Look at how the head was unhinged right from the start. I don’t know if you noticed it, but that is an unhinged head. Of course, the kick is not continuous and to my way of thinking too big. This is leading with the elbows, hands are sliding, head was way low, way unhinged. With the breathing there, the head is completely unhinged.

Butterfly Corrective drills:
1.Butterfly kicking drills
2.Standing/walking/swimming butterfly
3.One-arm butterfly
4.1-1-1 butterfly
5.1-1-1, 1-1-2, etc…
6.“Biondi” butterfly
7.Tennis ball butterfly
8.Han’s paddles butterfly
Plus all of the butterfly kicking drills you could do. You can’t do too many.

Q: Just tell me your teaching points for the butterfly. What you would tell the swimmer how to swim the fly?

A: Are we talking about starting points, a low level or beginning type? The first thing that I would do, is get them kicking. Well, first thing you’ve got to do is get torpedo-streamline push-offs, because that is the butterfly position. That is basically the position they want to get back to, every time. I would teach that. I would teach every kicking drill I could throw together and you will see some of them in a moment. And then, I would do something that Howard Firby did. It’s to teach “one stroke at a time.”

Once they learned that push-off position, I would have them push off, take one stroke and return to the push-off position and nothing more. Try to make sure they got back to the position that they started from: that streamline position, the platform position. I also used to say, “ It can’t be noisy. I don’t want to hear it.” This is when I worked with a lower group. I would turn my back to them and say, “If I can hear anybody, if I can hear this thing, then I have something that I am going to do.” (i.e. push-ups) But if it was a clean splash, it was amazing. It is amazing how nice that sounds when it is done right. But, if you are coming in and hitting it hard, it makes a noise that you don’t want to have.
Then I go from there to two strokes, then to three strokes and then I go to one-arm swimming.

I really believe in one-arm swimming with side breathing. If you stroke with the right arm, you breathe like you do in the crawl. You breathe when the shoulder rotates. That is where it should be and then come forward. And if he goes to the left side, you are breathing where it should be. But if you start out with butterfly, most of the kids will end up trying to climb out of the water on the stroke. So we go from one right arm, one left arm to one butterfly stroke. I would continue that until they got it. Then it goes one right arm, one left arm, two butterfly strokes. Then, one right arm, one left arm, three strokes. Next, go to 5, 6, 7 strokes, 8 strokes, whatever they can handle. Then pretty soon, they are swimming butterfly. I used a lot of kicking drills too, and you will see some of them here in just a second.

Q: I want to know about the tennis ball drill.
A: The tennis ball is used to emphasize the platform position, both in butterfly and breaststroke. Put a tennis ball under the chin. When you breathe, you are going to have to use power of the breaststroke arm stroke to get up in the breaststroke. You can’t break the head alignment or you lose the tennis ball. That’s the whole idea of it.
The same applies in the butterfly. If you try to look down the pool when you come into here, you break the alignment. You’re not supposed to see what’s happening at the other end of the pool or in the bleachers. You are supposed to be focusing right on that water position and keeping the head alignment and one of the ways to do that is to learn to do it with a tennis ball. Kids like doing it. But, you could waste a lot of time if they keep chasing tennis balls. Occasionally you come around to doing something like that.

The Biondi butterfly:
I’m not sure if it’s the Biondi or Mary T. to be honest with you because I heard it both ways. But it’s just the business of coming through the pull or stroke to get that feeling of karate finish through the arms, exiting in a fly away or karate action. The arms come out of the water but stop and then return underwater for the recovery out front for another repeat of the drill.

I’ve got to mention Hans ® paddles. I believe in using fins and paddles an awful lot, in all the drills and in the swimming. In the butterfly, the HANS® paddles are just about the right size. They are hand size with the holes. I always found that people got into the stroke better by using a lot of drills and paddles.

The one-arm drills and the build stroke: once they get it, you can begin to use paddles. This is just a streamline kick under water. We also do it on the back and do it on the side, rotated. You’ve got to do it in every position.

This where the thumbs are locked behind the back, like this and you try to keep the chin up on the water, not down in the water, but up on the water. The idea there is because the chin is up on the water, not down, it forces you to really fire the kick. You can’t do it if you don’t do that.
Now it is being done with fins. I think you have to do a lot of this stuff with fins and monofins. This is just a walking drill, a basic drill. This is a teaching drill.

Here is a one-arm swimming, breathing left, left. This one arm left/one arm right/full stroke, one arm left/one arm right/full stroke, and she was breathing left and right. This is building the number of strokes. She was building up to two and three strokes.

Now that is Biondi or Mary T butterfly drill. The Biondi or Mary T drill is an underwater fly pull through the arms, exiting in a fly away or karate action. The arms come out of the water but stop and then return underwater for the recovery out front for another repeat of the drill.

Here is a tennis ball. They didn’t lose them.

That is with hand paddles – she breathed too early there.

Championship BreaststrokeTechnique:
Platform position start and finish, you all know what that is. I showed this with drawings yesterday.

Build the arm speeds through the stroke.
The out sweep just gets everything set, about 90% speed. In sweep, I want 120% speed. It’s more than that. You have got to put a lot of power on that in sweep and the lunge. Lunge forward: You really put it on there. Get 150% effort at least. They say, “rocket speed on the lunge.” Breathe late on the rotation and the in-sweep.

What I used to try and get from my kids, when they were swimming away from me: “I didn’t want to see any water on the back of their arms.” If I got to see any water on the back of their arms, they are not getting up on that water for the lunge, and there has to be a lot of work done.

I got a couple of drills that you might use on that type of thing.

Remain hinged with a fixed high position on the in sweep with arms close to the surface on the lunge. They should not be driving from a depth. They should be up where it is free and easy and fly forward.
Here’s eyes down on the thrust forward, platform position, back of the head, it looks like that back of the head might be a little high.

High School Breaststroke
Some of this High School breaststroke video is not too good. In this slow motion, he is breaking the hinged head for sure. There is a head that’s way too high and drawing with the elbows rather than really using the forearms on the sweep. On the in sweep there is very little power being generated, kicking so late it isn’t funny. Look at the head position there. There is no platform there and the recovery of the legs is the same speed as the drive, and the legs never follow through and come together.

Breaststroke Correcting Drills:
1.Assorted kicking drills
1.Hand back
2.Pull buoy
3.Slide lunge
4.Wall kick
2.Breaststroke with flutter kick
3.Breaststroke with butterfly kick
4.Breaststroke with butterfly kick and fins
5.Wipe-the-bowl drill
6.Gripper pulling with butterfly kick
7.Head-to-Rope drill
The kicking drills:
One of them, that you will see, is with the hands back. It’s just like the “firing the kick” drill. The thumbs are locked and the fingers are pointed back. When you recover, your whole deal is to recover with the heels coming right straight up to the fingertips, then sweeping and kicking. It gives you the proper range of motion. You learn to recover directly behind the butt instead of an outward sweep of the legs.

Leg recovery should be in here and then the drive. Hands back does a pretty darn good job of doing that, especially if you keep the head up. You must know, when we get to the actual stroke that you are not swimming with the head up. For this drill though, you will get to fire that up and it works pretty good.

The Pull Buoy: That is for those people who get their knees going out every time. You want to keep your knees in tight.

The slide lunge:
I used to use that with some awfully good breaststrokers; one was a national champion. You lock the thumbs, slide to the head, and lunge, kick and lunge, slide, kick and lunge. I always use that early on with my breaststrokers and championship breaststrokers whenever they are in a slump. If their timing was a little bit off because they could really pick up the timing again in driving the leg kick and the lunge and it seemed to work real well.

The wall kick:
This is one I got from a Japanese coach who came in and did an internship with me one year. He had them kick with their fingertips on the base of the wall, where you would grab the gutter. You put your hands out, palms straight against the wall, arms straight. It wasn’t a bad kick because they really learned to fire, fire, fire. For some reason you couldn’t stay on the wall unless you really fired off. He would stand there and have them “fire, fire, fire, fire.” I thought it wasn’t bad. There was a value to it.

The stroke:
Some of what you will see is breaststroke with butterfly-flutter kick and then with butterfly kick.

Flutter kick is great because it really speeds up the arm stroke.

Butterfly kick helps to speed up the arm stroke.

Breaststroke with butterfly kick and fins. I think all of these are good, but with a monofin or fins with a butterfly kick, I think it is critical. I think that is one way you really get a feeling of getting up high on the water with your arms dry and then taking a lunge forward.

“Wipe the bowl” drill was one I saw a long time ago. Just stand in deep water and speed up the arms though here. It’s a drill to get the in-sweep really strong.

I think that #6 is real good. It is a big paddle pulling with a butterfly kick and especially when you do it with fins or monofins because it really helps you get that feeling of getting up high.

#7 Heads to ropes drill: I used to use. I haven’t used it for quite some time, but I am not really doing everything I once did.
I stretched a rope from the starting block at one end to the starting block at the other end, tied it down tight. I had the breaststrokers swim under that rope and try to hit and bounce the rope every time with their head. The rope should be bouncing. The whole idea was to get them strong on the in-sweep, to get them powerful and get some lift on the in-sweep. It worked pretty darn well. You can do that with paddles too.

Q: On the breaststroke with the fly kick, do you prefer one kick per stroke or can you do two kicks?
A: Yeah. I am talking about the breaststroke with a fly kick. You can do two kicks on that. That will be fine.

Q: Do you emphasize a 6 beat kick for freestyle?
A:I try to do it kicking with 6 beat continuous kick and basically it turns out to be a 6 beat kick. I just have a hard time getting drills. 4 beat – 2 beat – even with 2 beat you have got to kick sometime. You have got to kick into the finish. You have got to kick out of the walls so I like all those streamline drills and under water kicking drills. Under water kicking drills do a lot to keep them on a continuous kick, too. Go across the pool, just don’t drown anybody.

Q: Coach, what do you like to see on butterfly?
A: Just basically what I said. I like to see them really long out front. I like to make sure they are on the platform. And when they take their stroke in here and breathe, I want to see them in a position where they do not break the hinge at all. They are looking in here. The other thing is a continuous kick just like you said. Front quadrant: don’t try to get behind you so far you can’t get out. You have got to have something that allows you to exit with a fly away or a karate chop.

Q: I have a really hard time stopping my swimmers from over-reaching on the freestyle where they do the wiggle – what jewels do you have to reach beyond their shoulder?
A: Right from the start with that side-kicking drill. They have got to learn to do that with the little finger slightly up so the elbow stays up in here. They can’t cross-over on that and then if you do shark fin or if you do that one where you hesitate and then go, you keep coming back to that point. Now, you have got to have rotation drills to allow you to do that and probably you are going to find those kids that do that. I will bet you a dollar. I would think that they are not doing this so you can do a lot of rotation drills kicking too, on your stomach, on your back, on your stomach.

Q: I have a backstroker who, despite everything I have done trying to get her to stop bobbing, every time she does a stroke, huge bob.
A: Yeah, I know what you mean. You know the big thing? It is trunk rotation again.

by Dick Hannula

A. Progression Drills – Kicking
1. Kick at the pool edge.
2. Front flutter kick, arms extended, face in the water.
3. Front flutter kick, kickboard, face out of the water.
4. Front flutter kick, one arm extended, one arm at the side, trunk rotated from the hips through the shoulders up to 45 degrees. 12 kicks right side, 12 kicks left side, continue to alternate. Repeat this drill at 10 kicks on each side, then 8 kicks, then 6 kicks on each side, and finally 3 kicks on each side.
5. Front flutter kick, arms extended forward head up.
6. Front flutter kick, arms at the side, head up.
7. Front flutter kick, arms extended in the torpedo position, underwater.
8. Front flutter kick, arms crossed holding the elbows, underwater rotating, from the hips through the trunk, side to side.
9. Vertical kicking drills, deep water.
10. Using short fins on any of the above drills.

B Techniques to emphasize:
1. Kick continuously.
2. Kick with legs long and with flexible knees and ankles.
3. Kick within the general body depth range.
4. Kick from the hips.

B. Progression – Arms and Coordination
1. Hand, wrist, elbow drill. Stand in waist deep water, shallow end. Stroke arms entering with the finger tips, hand,, wrist, then elbow.
2. Hand, wrist, elbow drill in front of a full length mirror.
3. Hand, wrist, elbow drill walking with the head up.
4. Hand, wrist, elbow drill walk and then swim.
5. Bobbing – standing and/or at pool edge – breathing drill.
6. Standing, shallow pool, side breathing with trunk rotation.
7. Hand, wrist, elbow drill. Standing with breathing.
8. Hand, wrist, elbow drill. Walking with breathing.
9. Hand, wrist, elbow drill. Walk and proceed to swim with breathing.
10. Stretch body swims. Streamlined body, no breathing.
11. One arm swims with one arm extended. No breathing.
12. One arm swims, one arm extended with breathing. Breathe to the stroking arm side.
13. Shark fin position, 6 kicks, 3 full strokes, shark fin position other side repeating.
14. Stretch up or catch up crawl.
15. Heads up crawl or water polo crawl.
16. Kicking with one arm extended and one arm at the side, 12-12 and then 5 consecutive fast strokes and repeat.
17. Scooter drill on kickboard. One arm swimming, head up.
18. Bilateral breathing swimming.
19. Rolling human stroke or dog paddle.
20. Pop – pop drill. Breathe every arm stroke. Breathe left, then right on each arm stroke and fast tempo.
21. One arm swims with one arm trailing at the side. Breathe to the side of the arm at the side.
22. Crawl stroke with one leg bent at the knee and out of the water.
23. Crawl stroke with one leg bent at the knee and out of the water, head up.
24. Swim the rope drill.
25. Any of the above drills with closed fist.
26. Any of the above drills with Han’s Paddles, Groovers, or Grippers.
27. Chicken wing drill. Progress from ¼ chicken wing to ½ wing, to full stroke.
28. One arm swims with the trailing arm’s shoulder keeping contact with the wall while stroking.
29. Reversing Han’s Paddles so that the paddle is more on the finger tips and beyond. All of the hand, wrist, elbow drills listed.
30. Hand entry, withdraw back to hip, re-enter, 3 full strokes, repeat on opposite arm.
31. Swim with forearm paddles with a hand grip. The “Reese” paddle.
32. “7-3-7” crawl. One arm extended, one arm at the side, kick 7 kicks on one side, then swim 3 strokes of crawl, and then 7 kicks on the other side with continued repetition.
33. “Russian Crawl”. One arm swims, with one arm extended forward, done in slow motion on the recovering arm, emphasizing high elbow, until it reaches the high point at the shoulder level where it holds that position for several seconds. Then drive that arm forward into the hand, wrist, elbow entry and alternate arms.
D. Techniques to emphasize in the arms and coordination.
1. Elbows up on the recovery and the catch position. Allow for straight arm, or
rounded arm recovery where warranted.
2. Initiate the recovery of the arms as the hips rotate to their maximum point.
3. Finger tips, hand, wrist, and elbow enter the water in that order.
4. Rotate from the hips through the trunk and head.
5. Arms fall downward into the entry once passed the shoulders in the recovery.
6. Let the chin rotate with the trunk to breathe.
7. Inhale through the mouth, exhale through the mouth or mouth and nose.
8. Breathe with one goggle only above the water surface.
9. Sight the one goggle at 10 a.m. for left side breathing, and 2 p.m. for right
side breathing.
10. Fingers pointed down and elbow up at the catch position (early vertical
11. Strive for a direct line of pull through the stroking arm. Avoid or minimize
any sweeps of the arm strokes.
12. Visualize “pressure points” about one hand width below the arm pit and
slightly forward of the center point. Pressing down on this point will help
to keep the legs and hips high in the water through the trunk rotation.
13. Use “skewered” swimming and trunk rotation. Stay in line on a skewer as
the trunk and head rotate.
E. Application or major uses.
1. Alignment: Kick drills 2, 4, and 7. Arm drills 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 24, 30, 32 and 33.
2. Trunk rotation: Kick drills 4 and 8. Arm drills 6, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 32 and 33.
3. Catch position and early vertical forearm: Arm drills 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 24, 25, 29, and 31.
4. Breathing: Arm drills 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 18, and 32.
5. Power: Kick drills 3, 5, 6 and 9. Arm drills 15, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23, and 31.
6. Direct line of pull: Arm drills 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 19, 21, 24, 29, 30, and 31.
7. High elbow recovery: Arm drills 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 13, 15, 17, 27, 28, 31 and 33.


A. Progression Drills – Kicking
1. Back flutter kick sitting at the side of the pool, water level.
2. Back flutter kick, arms at the side.
3. Back flutter kick, one arm extended and the other at the side. Trunk rotated through the shoulders up to 45 degrees. 12 kicks right side, then 12 kicks left side, continue to alternate. Repeat this drill at 10 kicks on each side, then 8 kicks, then 6 kicks, and finally 3 kicks on each side.
4. Back flutter kick with both arms extended.
5. Back flutter kick with both arms extended with the hands off the water.
6. Back flutter kick with both arms extended and underwater.
7. Back flutter kick, arms crossed at the elbows, rotating from the hips through the trunk, side to side.
8. Back flutter kick using any of the above drills with short fins.
9. Using the butterfly dolphin kicking drills to increase the dolphin kicking speed off of all walls.

B. Techniques to emphasize
1. Kick with flexible ankles (kicking a loose shoe off the feet).
2. Streamlined kick.
3. Kick continuously.
4. Kick with a fast kick through the body depth range.
5. Kick water away with the feet.
6. Kick from the hips with the knees remaining in the water through the flexing of the knee.

C. Progressions – Arms and Coordination
1. One arm swim, rolling the hips through the trunk and shoulder of the non stroking arm on the entry of the stroking arm.
2. One arm swim as in #1, rolling the hips through the trunk and shoulder of the non stroking arm to a ¼ arm recovery on the entry of the stroking arm.
3. One arm swim as in #2 and recovering the non stroking arm to a ½ arm recovery on the entry of the stroking arm.
4. One arm swims as in #1, 2, and 3, changing sides and the stroking arm.
5. One arm swims as in #1, 2, 3, and 4 to full recovery and complete backstroke swimming.
6. Swims #1 through 5 in front of a full body length mirror beyond the end of the lane.
7. Variations of one arm swimming drills. Examples 3-3; 2-2; and then regular full stroke, and 3-1; 2-1; 1-2; 1-3; then regular full stroke.
8. One arm swims carrying the non stroking arm at 90 degrees, directly over the shoulder.
9. Alternating one arm swims to a completion of each arm prior to the recovery of the non stroking arm. “Touch Down” to the side before each successive one arm stroke.
10. Simultaneous double arm recovery backstroke swims.
11. “Touch and Go” drill. Recover to 90 degrees, directly over the shoulders, and hold that position until the stroking arm recovers to touch that arm, then alternate the arm stroking and the arm held in the over water position.
12. “Spin Out” swims. Sit up as in an undersized bath tub and stroke the arms as fast as possible.
13. Swim backstroke balancing a small coin purse on the forehead.
14. Swim backstroke, hesitating at 90 degrees just long enough to rotate the hand for a little finger entry.
15. Swim the rope on one arm for a length and then the other arm on the return.
16. Swim any of the drills with short fins.
17. Swim any of the drills with closed fists.
18. Swim any of the drills with Han’s Paddles, Groovers, and/or Grippers.
19. Pull backstroke wearing bands around the ankles and without floatation devices.
20. Kicking with one arm extended and one arm at the side, 12-12 and then 5 consecutive fast full strokes of backstroke, and repeat.
21. “Corkscrew” swimming 7 strokes backstroke, then rotating to 7 strokes of crawl, repeating the sequence. This can also be done 5-5, and 3-3.

D. Techniques to emphasize in the arms and coordination.
1. Use a straight arm or “rifle barrel” recovery.
2. Enter the hand at the little finger side.
3. Anchor the hand and arm in the catch position and rotate the body past the anchored arm.
4. Rotate from the hips through the trunk and shoulders.
5. The head remains in a steady fixed position.
6. The head is back on the water with eyes directed straight up or nearly to that point.
7. Enter deep enough to anchor the arm on the line of the pull.
8. Strive for a direct line of pull through the arm stroke. Avoid or minimize any sweep of the arm stroke.
9. Use “skewered” swimming and trunk rotation. Stay in line on a skewer as the trunk rotates.
10. Exit the arm thumb first with good momentum into the recovery.
11. Enter at near the12:00 o’clock position.
12. Strive for continuous arm motion and an accelerating hand movement in the arm stroke with the tip of the elbow pointed down.
13. The arm “falls in” to the water on entry as opposed to placing.
14. The arm bends through the mid-section of the arm stroke.
15. Visualize “pressure points” about one hand width below the arm pit and slightly behind the center point. Pressing down at this point will help to keep the legs and hips high in the water through the trunk rotation.

E. Application or major uses.
1. Alignment: Kick drills 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9. Arm drills 7, 11, 13, 14, and 20.
2. Trunk rotation: Kick drills 3, and 7. Arm drills 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 15, 20, and 21.
3. Catch position: Arm drills 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17, 18, 19, and 21.
4. Power: Kick drills 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9. Arm drills 8, 11, 12, 18, 19, and 20.
5. Direct line of pull: Arm drills 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 10, 11, 15, 18, and 19.


A. Progression Drills – Kicking
1. Flutter kick on a kickboard.
2. One leg flutter kick on a kickboard.
3. Simultaneous or both legs at the same time butterfly kick on a kickboard.
4. Alternate flutter kick and butterfly kick on a kickboard.
5. Extended arms torpedo kick underwater.
a. On the stomach.
b. On both sides
c. On the back
6. Extended arms torpedo kick on the surface in all positions of #5.
7. Rotating extended arms torpedo kick underwater with a set # of kicks on the stomach, then side, then back.
8. Arms crossed at the elbows, butterfly kick on the surface, underwater, and in all positions.
9. Arms at the sides of the body, butterfly kick on the surface, underwater, and in all positions.
10. Butterfly kicking with the hands locked at the thumbs and on the back of the hips with the head up out of the water.
11. Vertical butterfly kick in deep water with arms extended overhead, or holding a weight out of the water.
12. Butterfly kick off the bottom of the pool through the surface to the backstroke flags in deep water.
13. Using short fins and mono fins in any or all of the listed drills.

B. Techniques to emphasize
1. Maintain a continuous kick.
2. Bend the legs slightly on the up kick, straighten and extend the legs on the down kick.
3. Kick from the hips.
4. Hips lift on the down kick.
5. Emphasize a bam – pow rhythm with more emphasis on the pow to enable the arms exit into the recovery.
6. The power kick is from the hips through the legs. The upper body has a dolphin movement but is minimal compared to the hips through the feet.
7. To increase the speed of the kick, increase the frequency and decrease the size of the kick. The result should be a more narrow and very fast kick.
8. The back of the head and the spine are lined up in a “platform” position in the torpedo streamlined kicking position.

C. Progressions Arms and Coordination
1. One arm butterfly standing in waist deep water.
2. Full butterfly arm strokes standing in waist deep water utilizing a full length mirror when available..
3. Walking butterfly stroke in shallow water.
4. Walking butterfly progressing to butterfly swimming.
5. Push off the wall in streamlined torpedo position slightly underwater.
6. Push off the wall streamlined and then add one butterfly stroke and return to the streamlined position and hold.
7. Push off the wall streamlined and then add two or more butterfly strokes and return to the streamlined position.
8. Standing butterfly drill in shallow water with breathing.
9. Walking butterfly in shallow water with breathing.
10. Walking butterfly and progress to butterfly swimming with breathing.
11. One arm butterfly with one arm extended forward with no breathing.
12. One arm butterfly with one arm extended, breathing to the side of the stroking arm.
13. One arm butterfly with one arm extended, breathe forward.
14. One arm swims, breathe to the side of the stroking arm for one stroke, then stroke with the opposite arm, breathing to that stroking arm side, and then taking one full stroke butterfly, breathing forward.
15. One arm swims combining with full stroke butterfly with breathing. Examples 3 – 3 – 3, and building 1 – 1 – 1 to 1 – 1 – 2, to 3, 4, and up on the full butterfly strokes.
16. Four kick (or more) butterfly swimming.
17. Kick 15 meters underwater followed by 3 to 5 fast butterfly strokes and then one arm butterfly drills for 50’s.
18. Kick 15 meters underwater followed by 2 butterfly strokes, then underwater streamline a short distance, then 3 butterfly strokes, repeating until at least 4 butterfly strokes are accomplished.
19. Alternate 25 pulling butterfly, then 25 pulling breast stroke.
20. Biondi drill: Full butterfly stroke with the exit throw of the arms but recover underwater.
21. Biondi drill alternating with an increasing number of full strokes.
22. Use short fins or monofins on any of the drills.
23. Use Han’s Paddles on any of the drills.

D. Technique tips to emphasize in the arms and coordination.
1. Build the stroke from the aligned or platform landing zone.
2. The body remains aligned with the head in a hinged position to the spine.
3. The arms enter on two narrow planes just inside the shoulder line.
4. Arms are thrown long to the other end of the pool.
5. Platform position for alignment on entry.
6. Breathe late on the completion of the arms’ stroke and start of the recovery..
7. Breathe with the head hinged and eyes looking forward slightly and downward toward the water surface.
8. One arm butterfly drills with side breathing aid in assisting the timing of the breath to the arm stroke.
9. The arms come towards the midline underwater.
10. Anchor the elbows with the finger tips pointed down and the body should be pushed past the anchored hands and forearm.
11. Hands away or “karate”” exit to enable a solid front end butterfly.
12. Front end butterfly. This is a strong and long front end to the stroke with the exit of the arm stroke into recovery short of a full backward extension of the arm stroke. Keep the stroke “flying” forward.

E. Application or major uses
1. Alignment – Kick drills 5, 6, 7, arm drills 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 15, and 16.
2. Catch position – Arm drills 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, and 10.
3. Power – Kick drills 10, 11, 12, and 13, arm drills 17, 18, 19, 22, and 23.
4. Line of pull – Arm drills 2, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14, and 15.
5. Timing – Arm drills 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21.


A. Progression Drills – Kicking
1. On deck lying prone, move legs manually and on own..
2. On side of the pool move legs manually and on own.
3. Kick on kickboard face in the water.
4. Kick in torpedo position– arms extended with face in the water.
5. Kick on kickboard face out of the water.
6. “Launching” drill in kick # 4 & 5. (Braced and holding the swimmer’s feet with straight arms launch the swimmer as the kick is made)
7. Kick with arms extended with face in the water and add breathing.
8. Kick with arms extended with head out of the water.
9. Kick with arms locked at the thumbs behind the back, head out of water.
10. Vertical kick in deep water holding weights out of the water.
11. Kick on the back with arms extended.
12. Kick underwater prone with arms extended.
13. Alternating egg beater kick.
14. Slide – lunge with kick, arms extended with locked thumbs. Slide to the top of the head then lunge and kick.
15. Kick with pull buoy between the thighs.
16. On the wall kick, hands off the gutter, fingers down and palms facing the wall.

B. Techniques to emphasize
1. Knees bend and recover feet towards the buttocks (not outward) with the knees behind the butt as much as possible.
2. Toes turn outward and pick up water on the bottom of the feet through the kick.
3. Kick at high speed and faster than the recovery of the feet.
4. Accelerate through the kick.
5. Soles of the feet facing each other at the completion of the kick.
6. Stretch and streamline on the finish of the kick.
7. Lift the back of the legs on the finish of the kick.
8. The kick recovery starts in the heels of the feet.
9. Keep the knees and feet within the range of the armpits.

C. Progressions – Arms and coordination
1. Standing drill, waist deep water, arms only.
2. Standing drills, waist deep water, arms only in front of mirror.
3. Walking drill, arms only, then swimming arms only.
4. Inner tube pulling – auto size inner tube worn under the arm pits.
5. Pulling with a pull buoy.
6. Pulling with the legs dragging.
7. Pulling with a flutter kick.
8. Pulling with a dolphin kick.
9. Breast stroke gradually increasing the size of the arm stroke.
10. One arm breast stroke, one arm extended.
11. One arm breast stroke, one arm back at the side.
12. Pull with a dolphin kick and a mono-fin or short fins.
13. Swim under a rope extended and supported over the lane by 24 to 30 inches.
14. Swim between lane lines cross pool.
15. Swim with a tennis ball tucked under the chin.
16. “Wipe the Bowl” vertical arm action in deep water. (Use arms only and press outward to the sides of an imaginary large bowl wiping the sides of the bowl)
17. Swim breast stroke alternating a varying number of butterfly and breast stroke kicks.
18. Alternate the number of kicks, arms only, and full stroke on the surface and underwater.
19. Swim some full strokes within any of the drills at very fast turnover for 3 to 5 strokes.
20. Use Han’s Paddles, Groovers, or Grippers with any of the drills.

D. Techniques to emphasize in the arms and coordination.
1. Hold water in the hands, forearms and the feet.
2. Scull out, scull in.
3. Breathe late on the rotation and in sweep of the arms.
4. Start the out sweep with the palms turned out and face down.
5. The elbows remain anchored and keep them close to the surface.
6. Keep the wrists set.
7. Keep the elbows high on the in sweep.
8. Stay hinged through the head and spine with the eye position fixed during the in sweep and breathing.
9. Keep the arms high and close to the water surface through the lunge forward.
10. The lunge starts in the hands and is a very fast action with a fast kick.
11. Lunge forward with the fingertips, elbows, and shoulders. Get everything out front at the same time.
12. Kick through the lunge of the arms.
13. Reach a “platform” position with eyes facing down and the back of the head and spine lined up in a platform.
14. The elbows must come inside the shoulders and line up behind the hands for the lunge.
15. Build speed through the stroke – out sweep @ 90%, in sweep @ 120%, and the lunge at 150%.

E Application of major uses.
1. Alignment – Kick drills 3, 4, 7, 11, 12, and 14. Arm drills 10, 14, 15, 17,
and 18.
2. Catch position – Arm drills 1 through 9, 12, 16, 18, and 20.
3. Power – Kick drills 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 16. Arm drills 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, 17,
18, 19, and 20.
4. Line out, in, and/or lunge – Arm drills 1 through 8, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18,
and 20.
5. Timing – Kick drills 6, 7, and 14. Arm drills 3, 9, 12, 14, and 16 through 20.

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