FINIS Tip Of The Week: No-Wall Turns


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Welcome to the “FINIS Tip of the Week.” Swimming World will be bringing you a topic that we’ll explore with drills and concepts for you to implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), each tip is meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s tip looks at reasons to use “no-wall turns” with your team to introduce a new way to work on improving your turns.

Doing no-wall turns is exactly what it sounds like: doing turns without a wall. You can set up the parameters of the swim however you want, but a good place to start is using the backstroke flags on each end of the pool as an imaginary wall your swimmers will turn against.

Ideally, swimmers will flip at the flags and have a smooth breakout complete with a streamline and dolphin kicks, as if they are pushing off the wall. This prevents swimmers from pausing on the wall in the middle of their turn, forcing them to be more aware of their body position to get back into their streamline and have a smooth breakout.

Additionally, turning without a wall encourages swimmers to keep their knees tucked close to their chest during their turn and head down into their turn. Your athletes will be much more aware of the resistance uncurling from a turn early can cause when they don’t have a wall, and if you’re doing this with multiple people in a lane they’ll need to be moving efficiently so they don’t create traffic in the lane.

Ultimately, once swimmers go back to turning against a wall they will see how much more efficient they can be around their walls and have a much better sense of their body position and how to use their legs to carry the most speed possible around their walls.

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.