Swim Drill Of The Week: Freestyle Rotation Progression

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 progression is a freestyle rotation progression that moves through three different freestyle drills. Take a look at the progression below and see hope it works in the explanation that follows:

4 x 25’s as 6 kick switch

3 x 25’s as 3-6-3

2 x 25’s as Tombstone kicking

1 x 25 as Perfect freestyle

This drill progression begins with 4 x 25’s of 6 kick switch, which forces your athletes to slow down and balance for an extended period of time on each side. When starting this progression, make sure your athletes are focused on rotating from their hips and that they are taking long strokes that drive them forward as they rotate from side to side.

Next up is triple switch, which will have your athletes alternate between 6 kicks on their sides and 3 strokes before switching to the opposite side. This drill is a step closer to swimming normal freestyle so make sure your athletes are still focused on driving their rotation from their hips, not from their shoulders.

The progression ends with tombstone swimming, which mimics normal swimming but exaggerates rotation the most as your athletes hit a kickboard that is between their legs after each stroke. Once that kickboard is taken out your athletes will have a much better sense of how they are using their hips while they are swimming and will be able to cue in to a much more efficient stroke. 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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