We were asked via our Facebook page what swim drills we do or what swim drills we suggest for our athletes. Because Amy and I grew up swimming, we don't do many swim drills at all. I would actually say that the main time that we do drills are when we swim Masters workouts and the workout has non-free or IM work. If that is the case, we do a fair amount of 1 arm butterfly or breaststroke with dolphin kick.
1 arm butterfly is, by the way, a good freestyle drill. In fact, I think that working on other strokes can enhance your freestyle but mainly because the encourage you to be more comfortable or more aware in the water.
OK, great thanks for nothing Brandon. What drills do you suggest? It sounds weird to just tell you again to know what you are doing, but paying attention is one of the best drills. And, with no video examples here, it's even tougher.
Catch-up freestyle is sometimes a good one. It helps with enabling you to watch or focus on each arm pull. It's not a good one because it can encourage leaving the leading arm out too long. From catch up freestyle transition to one arm freestyle with one hand out front. In this one, focus on reducing the pause/glide/whatever with the stroking arm. Breathe to the stroking side. One arm free with one arm at your side breathing opposite the stroking arm is common, but we find that swimmers focus more on not drowning than swimming.
Fist drill where you swim with a closed fist can also be a good one, but only if you are going to pay attention to your forearm position make sure you use the forearm as a paddle. Then, adding the hands back in and keeping the forearm/hand connection strong can help.
Band only swimming. Take an old bike tube, tie it in a loop and put it around your ankles. Or go spend like $20 on a pair of 'ankle locks' at a swim shop. This forces you to work on body position as well as propulsion from your pulling. You also want to try to reduce fishtailing in the water by keeping your 'core' at least a little bit tight.
Head position. You hear head down, but generally ends up happening is a swimmer tucks their chin and buries their head under water. Keep a neutral head position, just like you are walking looking forward as opposed to looking at your feet or the sky. Maybe even look forward 30 degrees or so.
There you go.