Swim Drill Of The Week: Bungee Cord Breakouts

Welcome to the “Swim Drill of the Week”. Swimming World will be bringing you a drill, concept, or tip that you can 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), Drill Of The Week excerpts are meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s drill is Bungee Cord Breakouts, which is a sprint drill that focuses on having the most efficient and clean breakout possible. This drill requires a bungee cord that can be stretched the opposite end of the pool and should be done with a partner.

For this drill, the swimmer will stay in the water with the bungee cord attached and their partner will walk down (slowly!) to the opposite side of the pool. There will be a lot of resistance on the cord, so make sure everyone is aware to move down to the other side patiently so they don’t lose hold of the cord.

Once the partner is lined up with the swimmer on the opposite end of the pool, the swimmer will push off and the partner will start reeling the cord in as fast and consistently as possible. This drill will get your swimmers up to a very high speed, but that is the point. The swimmer in the water will be moving faster than they ever have and will consequently feel any resistance in their breakout that much more.

Thinking about kicks, kick transitions, and the breakout stroke are all important in this drill. You can also add fins to the swimmer in the water to get them going even faster and really thinking about how they are using their legs to breakout to the surface. Use this drill with non-aided sprints, either from a push or the blocks, to get your athletes to translate their new found awareness of their breakouts into the sprinting. Happy swimming!

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.

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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