DRILLS with a Purpose

©Bill Moorcroft Swimming


Introduction to DRILLS

Swimming Drills – Common to ALL STROKES


Distance Per Stroke (DPS) – Swimming all strokes getting maximum distance per stroke.

With free and back, emphasize a long body line, hip and shoulder rotation, minimizing resistance. With breast and fly, keep the body line long in the front of your stroke. Steady the rhythm, and swim in the front quadrant of all strokes.

FIST SWIMMING – Swimming with hands completely in a fist. No “karate-chop” hands allowed!

Concentrate on body position, using your forearm in the catch and optimum elbow bend through the stroke. When you return to swimming with an open palm, your hands will feel as large as kickboards! Have fun and think Distance Per Stroke!

SCULLING – Sculling is performed by sweeping your hands through the water, holding your elbows still.

Your hands are acting like propeller blades, and subtle changes in hand pitch and speed will change your body position and speed. There is no recovery motion. When you are treading water, you are sculling your hands through the water to hold yourself up and counteract gravity. To propel yourself down the pool, simply change your hand and forearm angle to be perpendicular to the pool bottom and parallel with the pool walls. Keep your elbows high at the surface of the water, and sweep your hands underneath (this is known as the “windshield wiper” drill). Note that your swimming strokes are a combination of sculling motions that allow you to hold the water as your large body core muscles act as the engine.


Kicking without a kickboard will allow you to perform your kick in the same body position of the stroke. Kicking with a kickboard will allow you to get to know your lane mates.

Freestyle kicking: Kick on your side with your bottom arm (the one closer to the bottom of the pool) extended straight out of your shoulder line before your head. Keep your palm facing down and your extended hand about 20cm under water. The top arm (on the surface of the water) should be relaxed at your side with your hand on your hip and out of the water. Maintain a head position as though you were swimming freestyle, with your head in line with your spine. Press your arm pit toward the pool bottom to get your hip at the surface of the water. Your extended arm should feel weightless.

Backstroke kicking: Kick on your side as described above with your head facing up in the position for backstroke. You may also kick in a streamlined position with both hands over your head.

Breaststroke kicking: Kick only with a soft kickboard that will allow you to maintain a good body position for breaststroke. Without a board, keep your hands extended, at your side. Try to maintain the same “dolphining” undulation when you kick as you should have when swimming the full stroke. You may also do breaststroke kick on your back.

Butterfly kicking: Go for it either on your side, on your back, or in butterfly position. Kick from the hips and torso. This is a great “AB” workout.



While swimming 50’s repeats, calculate your “score” for each 50 by counting your strokes in both directions (one arm equals one stroke) and adding it to your time. For example: If you swim 50 freestyle with 20 strokes per 25 in a time of 0:40, you would have a score of 80 (20 + 20 + 40). Descend your score by taking less strokes and/or completing the 50 in less seconds with each successive 50.


FREESTYLE and Backstroke Overview

Freestyle and backstroke are referred to the long-axis strokes, as you are rotating on the long-axis of your body (head-to-toe) while swimming. Hence, many of the same drills can be used for both strokes and/or combined into one drill. Backstrokers, IM’ers, and all “novelty stroke” specialists are encouraged to mix backstroke into freestyle sets. Backstroke and freestyle mix sets can make great low heart rate aerobic training sets.

LONG-AXIS COMBO DRILL – This drill allows you to feel the similar rotation of backstroke and freestyle. Alternate four strokes of backstroke with three strokes of freestyle. Drive the rotation of your stroke with your hips. Keep a light easy rhythm: don’t muscle the water.

4/6/8-COUNT DRILL – This can be done for both Freestyle and Backstroke.

Kick on your side for a count of 4, 6 or 8 kicks (or counts). Take one full arm stroke to rotate to your other side for another 4, 6, or 8 kicks, and continue through the swim. While on your side, focus on correct body position. When executing the switch, begin by lifting the elbow of the arm on the water surface (top arm) and recovering it over the line of your body. The extended arm (bottom arm) stays extended to maintain a streamlined body position, until the elbow of the recovery arm has passed over your head. Then execute a quick switch to your opposite side. Use core body muscles to rotate, while maintaining a hold of the water with your bottom arm.


Breaststroke and Butterfly Overview

Breaststroke and butterfly, the short axis strokes, are called such because you are rotating on the short axis of your body. Like free and back, the core of the body is the engine. Your arms and legs serve the dual purpose of acting as extensions to apply the force and lengthen your body as it passes through the water.

Short-Axis Combo Drill – Allows you to feel the “short-axis” rhythm that is similar between breast and fly. Alternate three strokes butterfly with three strokes breaststroke. Concentrate on “landing in front”, and exaggerate the press in front that allows the hips to rise. Keep the “dolphining” undulation pace constant.


FS – 3-3-3: Three strokes left, Three stokes right, Three swim both arms. Allows for concentration on path of single-arm and carry-over to full stroke.
FS – Catch-up Basic: With one arm extended out front, give an explosive pull with the other arm (continue body roll and flutter kicking as in regular Freestyle) and recover to the streamlined position. Give a two count. Breathe every stroke, thus accentuating body roll. Develop both arm pulls equally.
FS – Catch-up Head Touch: Same as basic, but touching your head with each stroke, thus keeping the elbows high. Accelerate through the pull. Develop both arm pulls and keep recovering elbow high; heightens awareness of where the hand enters the water.
FS – Catch-up Thumb Touch: When swimming Full Catch-up freestyle, Pull with one arm at a time and touch your thumbs in a streamlined position out front between each alternating arm stroke. Keep your extended hands about 20cm under the surface of the water for improved body position. Concentrate on swimming in the front quadrant and keep a long, streamlined body line. Synchronises grab, pull, body roll and swimming in front quadrant
FS – Cork screw drill: This drill helps with rotation. With your arms at your side, you use your core muscles and kick to rotate over. Helps with rotation
FS – Fingertip Drag drill – Swim normal Freestyle dragging fingertips along the surface of water on the recovery. Focus on a high elbow recovery, which ensures proper hand and elbow position at your hand entry. You should also check your body position during this drill, focusing on good side-to-side rotation. Heighten recovery phase of the stroke and keep elbows high.
FS – Fist 10/Swim10:  Alternating 10 strokes with hands closed into fist and then 10 with your hands open. This drill helps you keep a high elbow with your pull. Helps make the bending of your elbow earlier more permanent. It is very important to make the connection of this drill to rotation. High elbow with pull, emphasises forearm pull and body rotation.
FS – Fist Closed: Swim Freestyle but with the hands closed into fists. Heighten the hand position and the catch phase of the stroke and feel the water on the forearm.
FS – Four Count: As you stroke with your right arm, rotate and hold that position for a count of four (making sure to look straight down to the bottom of the pool). Extend the bottom arm forward while the top arm rests on your hip (remaining dry) during the pause. When you need to breathe, allow the bottom arm to begin the stroke so the head rotates as your hips and shoulders roll. Help you get the feel of full extension and body roll.
FS – Gallop drill – Same as the 6-Count Drill, but you take three strokes as you switch from side to side. Focus on long strokes and quick hips in these three strokes, completely rotating from one side to the other. Maintain great body position while kicking on your side! Focus on body position while kicking on side
FS – Kick on side drill: Lying on your side with one arm at your side and the other outstretched. After 6-10 kicks, rotate over to the other side for 6-10 kicks, etc. Work on generating the rotation from your hips and kick. Rotate body together generating power from you hips. One of the keys to this drill is to rest your head down on your arm and strive for “one goggle in and one out.” This will keep you from lifting your head up and driving your legs down. If you are having trouble getting air, rotate your head as opposed to lifting it. Mastering a balanced position on your side
FS – Kicking #1: Kicking drills done without the use of a kick board will improve overall skill level and allow a flatter body position in the water. Kick without kick board
FS – Kicking #2: T-press kick: kicking on your belly, arms at the side. Keep the head low and the body balanced in the water. To learn good body position.
FS – Kicking #3: Streamline kick: similar to the T-press kick, except the hands and arms are in front above the head in the streamlined position. To learn good body position.
FS – Kicking #4: Kick on side: one arm at your side resting on the hip (it should remain dry), the other arm out front, head face down in the water looking at the bottom of the pool. To learn body position and

balancing on the your side.

FS – Kicking #5: Six-kick switch: flutter kick on side with one arm at side and one out front. On six count give hard pull, extending other arm and roll to opposite side, six count and repeat. To learn body position and roll.
FS – Long Axis Combo drill: Swim three strokes Freestyle, stopping on your side. Do not proceed until the back arm is dry and the body is balanced with the face in the water. Once balanced, rotate the head to a nose up position going into Backstroke. Take four strokes Backstroke, again stopping on your side. Keep repeating, making sure to stop between strokes only on your side. Learn the need to rotate the hips in both Freestyle and Backstroke
FS – Open Water Drill #1: Sighting Drill: Swim normal freestyle. On every 5th stroke, raise your head straight forward and “sight” on an object off in the distance. You can place a target object or sight something already in place, i.e.: a tree. After sighting the object, lower your head back into normal position. Practice maintaining a balanced stroke rhythm and rotation while clearly seeing the target object.
FS – Open Water Drill #2: Blind Swimming: Swim normal freestyle with your eyes completely closed. On every 5th stroke, raise your head straight forward and “sight” on an object off in the distance (above). Make sure you are maintaining a straight path down the pool. Swimming side-by-side with your lane mates to reinforce swimming in a straight path.
FS – Rhythm Drill 2R/2L: Single Arm freestyle with opposite arm at your side, executing 2 right arms and then 2 left arms. This takes some practice, but may very well become your favourite freestyle drill once you master it. Remember to take your breath with an arm extended out front (on the opposite side of the extended arm). If you swim this drill easily and well, your technique is close to perfect. Focus on rhythm and timing from the hips.
FS – Single Arm Drill #1: Preferred: With the opposite (nonworking arm) at your side. Breathe to the side of the nonworking arm. The secret to success with this drill is to complete your breath before stroking. Concentrate on the catch, initiating body rotation with core body muscles. Take this drill slowly: technique is more important than speed. Preferred single arm drill. Focus on arm conditioning and body roll
FS – Single Arm Drill #2: Old-School: With the opposite (nonworking arm) extended in front. Breathe to the side of the working arm. Focus on high elbow recovery, hand entry and hand acceleration
FS – Three Strokes and Stop: Swim three strokes and stop. During “stop” continue to kick and stay on your side, face is in the water, back arm is dry with the body well balanced. Do not proceed with the next three strokes until you are balanced. Promotes balance in side
FS – Touch Back: At the completion of each stroke when your hand exits the water, roll body and slap the water on the other side of your hip. Keep your head in proper Freestyle position. Heighten your awareness of the completion of the stroke and body roll.
FS – Triple Scoop: Swimming Freestyle, take three scoops of water with one hand, making sure to be on your side with full extension of the arm. Rotate arms and body on the fourth stroke. To concentrate on the catch phase of the stroke.
FS – Vertical kicking drill: The best drill for finding and perfecting an efficient kick. Kick in one place in deep water. Develops efficient kick
FS – Wrist-Deep Drag drill – An alternate version of fingertip drag drill involves dragging the entire hand, wrist-deep, through the water. Builds strength, speed of arm recovery motion.
FS – Zipper Drill (shark fin or raising the flag): Swimming Freestyle, during the recovery drag thumb along side of your body from thigh to arm pit and back down again, then complete a stroke. Heighten recovery phase of the stroke and keep elbows high.
FS –Catch-up Ear drill – You can progress to simply exchanging hands in the “passing zone” extended in front. We call this the “Ear Catch-Up” Drill, wherein you begin your pull as your opposite arm passes by your ear near the completion of the recovery. Synchronises grab, pull, body roll and swimming in front quadrant



The basics of good freestyle are:

  1. Streamlined and level or balanced body position
  2. Delay pull hand to maintain both hands in front quadrant
  3. Body rotation from waist to generate power
  4. Deliver power through arms with aggressive catch and pull
  5. Recovery with high elbows


BK – 3-3-3: Same as freestyle, 3 strokes left, 3 stokes right, 3 swim both arms. Allows for concentration on path of single-arm and carry-over to full stroke.
BK – Around the Clock: Imagine the face of a clock. Enter the hands at 9 and 3

o’clock. Then at 10 and 2 o’clock. Then at 11 and 1 o’clock. This can be done using both arms, or just one arm per lap, or other variations. 11 and 1 o’clock are the correct entry points. However, most swimmers reach that point when they THINK they are at 10 and 2 o’clock.

Focuses on feeling of correct entry point
BK –Rhythm Drill 2R/2L: Single arm backstroke alternating 2 right arms and 2 left arms. Do a half recovery with the non-stroking arm. Focus on rhythm (early hips) and body position.
BK – Break The Paddle: Using a large hand paddle, break the surface of the water with it on the upsweep section of the pull. Then, accelerate it down past the hips to conclude the pull. Promotes upsweep and downs sweep of pull
BK – Catch-Up: Similar to freestyle catch-up, start with both hands at side to allow for rotation through shoulders. Keep kick steady at all times. As Pull with one arm at a time all the way through the stroke. The non-moving arm should be extended out front in a good streamline position. You should not actually touch hands when switching strokes from one side to the other, but allow your arm to complete its recovery through the hand entry before pulling with the opposite arm. This drill is great for working on body position (hips up, full side-to-side rotation). Improves distance per stroke and backstroke kick.
BK – Double Touch: Take two strokes with one arm, with first stroke only touching at the entry. Recover this first stroke back over surface (like a movie going backward) to your thigh. Do a full second stroke. Repeat with other arm. Emphasis: recovery and entry.
BK – Fashion Model Kicking: Kick on back with hands at sides. Rotate fully to one side so opposite shoulder is exposed to the air. Opposite hip should also be exposed to the air. Do not move the head. Take 6 kicks and rotate to the other side, keeping head perfectly still. Imagine a fashion model posing and looking over the shoulder. Promotes balance in swimming on side
BK – Flick of the Wrist Drill: Using one-arm backstroke, emphasize the flick of wrist at the end of underwater pull just before recovering/lifting hand from water. Reinforces strong follow- through.
BK – Long Axis Combo: Swim three strokes Freestyle, stopping on your side. Do not proceed until the back arm is dry and the body is balanced with the face in the water. Once balanced, rotate the head to a nose up position going into Backstroke. Take four strokes Backstroke, again stopping on your side. Keep repeating, making sure to stop between strokes only on your side. Promotes learning the need to rotate the hips in both Freestyle and Backstroke.
BK – Gallop drill: This drill for backstroke is a little different than the Freestyle version; it focuses on arm speed. Kick on your side for a count of 6-8 seconds, holding the recovery hand not at your hip but about 15cm up (30 degrees) out of the water. Lower the recovery hand back into the water by your hip and then explode with 3 quick, powerful strokes. Snap your hip rotation and maintain good body position. After 3 strokes, repeat. Assists synchronising arm speed with kicking on side
BK – Goggles on Forehead: Remove goggles completely from head and swim a length of backstroke balancing goggles on forehead. Improves stability of head position.
BK – Hand Positions Drill: While flutter kicking on back, hands may be placed at side, extended up top, in the small of the back (for added lift) or pointed out of the water (advanced). Allows for feel of kick in varying body positions.
BK – Hesitation Drill: Swim normal backstroke, except as your arm begins the recovery, pause and hold the recovery arm at a 30-degree angle out of the water. You should already be rotated to your other side, and your opposite arm should be in the perfect “catch” position (hand 20cm underwater, palm turned out and downward slightly, elbow high) if your timing is right. Make sure you are still holding your hips up near the surface of the water in this position. After holding for 3 seconds, complete the stroke and pause on the other side. Emphasises rotation and timing
BK – Kick-n-Roll: Kick with arms at side keeping head still, roll and hold for two counts, roll to other side. Look for shoulder. Emphasis: body roll.
BK – One-Arm Drill #1: Inactive arm remains at side to allow for complete body rotation. Shoulder on inactive side should emerge (Pop-up) from water when opposite arm is pulling underwater. Allow the opposite arm to do a half-recovery if it feels natural. Concentrate on full hip and shoulder rotation and great body position. Allows for focus on single arm and improves rotation
BK – One-Arm Drill #2: Swim Backstroke with one arm at your side, emphasizing body roll. Several variations: 3-3-2-2-1-1. Three strokes right arm, three strokes left arm, two right, two left, one right, one left. Repeat. Emphasis: full stroke, coordination.
BK – Over-Rotating Drill: Allow head to rotate with body and move up to 90 degrees to both sides while swimming backstroke. Allows for complete rotation, even if swum incorrectly.
BK – Peak with Twist: Same as “Peak,” only rotate hand from thumb up to pinky up at “peak.” Emphasis: recovery and hand rotation.
BK – Peak: Kicking on back with both arms at side, roll shoulder and recover one arm to “peak” and drop back down to side. Alternate arms. Thumb should be up. Emphasis: recovery.
BK – Pull without Pull Buoy: Pull backstroke without a pull buoy. In order to prevent accidental kicking, the feet can be tied together, or swimmers can hold a hand paddle between their feet. Learn to balance on the short axis. Otherwise, hips will quickly sink without a kick to hold them up.
BK – Rhythm Drill: Single arm backstroke alternating 2 right arms and 2 left arms. Do a half recovery with the non-stroking arm. Focus on rhythm (early hips) and body position. This drill done well will synchronize movement and develop a smooth, effective style.
BK – Rope Pull Drill: Swim next to lane rope and grab rope at initial phase of underwater stroke. Teaches sweeping action in underwater pull.
BK – Sculling Catch Drill: Pause as hand enters water and scull six times in “catch” position. Keep kick steady throughout sculling. Improves feel in early phase of stroke.
BK – Side Kicking with stroke: Advancing the drill, take 16 kicks and then one stroke, rotating over to the other side. The head should remain perfectly still throughout the rotation. Swimmers must learn to maintain balance, such that the hips never drop. Do this with 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, kicks….working down to regular backstroke. This is a great way to get into a rhythm and promote full rotation along the long axis.
BK – Sky Reaches: Recover one arm to a vertical position, reaching directly up to the sky. The other arm should remain extended out in front. Pause with the recovering arm vertical. Bend the elbow and touch the nose. Return the arm to fully vertical. Pause. Continue through the stroke and repeat with the other arm. If beginning swimmers have trouble keeping their hips high throughout the motion, remove the touching the nose step and simply pause for at least a second when the arm is straight up in the air. Promotes synchronisation of stroke and body roll
BK – Spin Drill: After pushing off, sit high in the water, looking back at wall, and spin arms as rapidly as possible. Improves hand speed through water on backstroke.
BK – Stop-Rotate-Slap: At the peak of the recovery, hesitate, rotate, and then slap the palm of the hand into the entry. Helps correct hand entry position & deep entry.
BK – Tied-up: Swim Backstroke with band around ankles or buoy at feet. Try to keep body from fishtailing. Determines uneven stroke.
BK – Triple Scoop: On your side, one arm at side, other extended above the head, flutter kicking. Give two short sculls—don’t pass the shoulder. On third stroke, give complete stroke and roll to other side, switching arms. Emphasis: catch phase.
BK – Underwater Dolphin Kick: Rapid dolphin kicking underwater in a streamline position. Kick should be small and fast. Emphasis: Dolphin kick off wall


Additional Notes:

  • Backstroke, like freestyle, is swum on the side, not the back. Power is generated through rotation of the hips and shoulders.
  • Also like freestyle, balance on the short axis in order to keep hips at the surface of the water. Pressing the T is now something that happens in the middle of the upper-back instead of the breastbone.
  • The head should never move, while the rest of the body rotates around it. Most swimmers hold their head too high. Let it relax back into the water, in line with the rest of the upper body. Water should flow over the face. The water line should be around the forehead and chin, not the ears and top of head.
  • The Pull: As the hand begins to recover, the thumb is the first thing to exit the water. The elbow should not bend – arm is perfectly straight. As the arm is raised, it should twist (thumb rotating in towards the centre of the body) so that the pinky is leading as the descent begins. The pinky is the first thing to enter the water. Entry should be aggressive and deep. Remember, the swimmer is ideally rotated all the way on the side, so the pulling arm is actually directly below their body, pointing deep down to the bottom of the pool. The elbow bends for the catch. In the other strokes, we talk about keeping the elbow higher than the hand throughout the pull. The opposite is true here. As the arm, with bent elbow, starts to pull down, the body is rotating to the other side. This brings the arm more to the side of the body instead of underneath the body where it was immediately after entry. When the hand is near the armpit, the swimmer should have rotated to be on their back. Also, the elbow should be pointing down towards the bottom of the pool with the hand near the surface, directly above it. Now accelerate down towards the thigh and drive the hand deeper again for a whip-like effect as the rotation to the other side completes. To recap: the hand dives deep on the entry; a combination of rotation and bent elbow brings the hand near the surface in the middle of the pull; the hand is driven deep again to conclude the pull. This, given the long axis rotation is the natural path to take.
  • The Kick: The kick should be small and fast. Encourage swimmers to time their strokes to a set number of kicks, and then tie their breathing pattern into that as well. This helps swimmers remember to breath. Also, think about kicking up, instead of down, as the quads are going to generate the most power and it is on the upswing that the ankle is fully extended.
  • Kicking Drills Variations: 1. Both arms over head in streamline. 2. Kick while on side: one arm up, one down. 3. T-press kick similar to Freestyle. 4. Six-kick switch similar to Freestyle.


BR – 1 kick 2 pull: A variation of 1 pull, 2 kicks, emphasizing pull. Emphasizes Pull
BR – 1 pull 2 kick: A breaststroke pull and kick (normal stroke) hold a glide position of hands fully extended above head and feet together for 1 count, then take a second kick without moving the hands. Glide again for 1 count. Repeat. Great for learning to glide and lots of breath control.
BR – 3.2.1 hesitation: Take one full breast stroke (1 complete pull and kick), hold glide position for 3 counts, take a second complete stroke and hold glide for 2 counts, take a third complete stroke and hold glide for 1 count. Repeat one full stroke and hold for 3 counts, etc. Emphasizes glide
BR – Breast Arms Dolphin Kick: Breaststroke arm movements with a dolphin or butterfly kick. Speeds up stroke tempo, adds a dolphin like wave motion to the stroke.
BR – Breast Arms Free Kick: Variation of breast arms and dolphin kick. It continues to speed up tempo of arm movement but uses a flutter kick. Speeds up tempo of arm movements but uses a flutter kick.
BR – Breaststroke with Buoy: Swim Breaststroke using a pull buoy. This is a very difficult drill. Only experienced and strong Breaststrokers should attempt this. Quick hands, hand pitch, conditioning.
BR – Dolphin Breaststroke: Swim Breaststroke but use a dolphin kick. Stroke is longer. Works undulating motion.
BR – Hand Signals: Swim Breaststroke with fingers in different positions, i.e. closed fist, thumb and pinky extended, first two fingers only, etc. Helps improve the feel of the water.
BR – Kicking Drills #1: Buoy/band kick: kick with buoy between knees or band around knees. Purpose: Helps to keeps knees close together.
BR – Kicking Drills #2: Hands at side kick: kick with hands at sides, using normal Breaststroke breathing rhythm. Each time legs recover, try to touch heels to hands. As heels come up, breathe. Enhances hip action and proper leg position.
BR – Kicking Drills #3: Kick on back: lie on your back and kick Breaststroke with hands either above head in streamlined position or at side, keep knees below surface. Works on keeping knees

close together.

BR – One Plus Two: Adding a second kick (one breaststroke pull to every 2 kicks). Stroke length, timing, breath control.
BR – One-Pull / Dolphin-Kick / One-Kick Drill – As with the drill above, take one powerful pull and throw the hands into the recovery while executing a strong dolphin kick. Then, hold streamline position with the upper body and arms as you execute a powerful breaststroke kick. This drill also emphasizes the undulation of the hips, streamline position of the arm recovery, and power of the kick.
BR – Opposite Hand / Foot Drill – Pull with your left hand only, keeping your right arm extended out front, and kick with your right leg only, keeping your left leg extended out back. Repeat this drill using the right hand and left leg. This drill takes practice, but you will gain a better feel for the “short-axis” nature of the breaststroke.
BR – Short Axis Combo: Swim two strokes Butterfly, then two strokes Breaststroke. Try to keep a consistent rhythm and undulating motion between the two strokes. To learn rhythm and the undulating motion for both strokes.
BR – Swim Breaststroke with Pull buoy: With a buoy between the thighs, concentrate on kicking from the knees down (a whip kick). It may also help you go somewhere while pulling breaststroke but it is usually the only time you are supposed to kick with a buoy. For swimmers that have a very wide kick, or kick the water to the side instead of kicking the water back.
BR – Torpedo: Come up on first pull, breathe, and lunge forward with  explosive kick and dive under water. Do two kicks, repeat. Leg drive, lunge, breath control.
BR – Triple Pull: Swim two pulls with no kick and head up. On third pull, use kick and lunge into streamline position, glide, and repeat. Pull, power, lunging action.
BR – Two-Count Glide Drill – Hold streamlined position of stroke for full count of two (one alligator-two alligator). Keep your head down and neck straight. In the breaststroke, be sure not to stop your hands under your body, but only in the extended position. Then, start the pull slowly, pitching the hands outward until they are shoulder width apart, and then accelerate your hands through the power phase (the in-sweep), continuing all the way through to the recovery. It’s a good idea to combine this drill with double underwater pull-outs to increase the feel of gliding in the streamline position.
BR – Two-Kick / One-Pull Drill – Hold the streamline for a second kick in each stroke. While doing the second kick, allow your hands to separate slowly to press your head and chest lower in the water. Keep your chin down, and look down at the bottom of the pool. This will prepare you for a more powerful in-sweep and recovery.
BR – Two-Pull / One-Kick Drill – Take a powerful pull swinging the hips forward and under your torso and then throw your hands into the recovery / streamline while making an exaggerated dolphin kick. Repeat the powerful pull but kick a breaststroke kick. Alternate between the two kicks. Notice that the hip motion should be identical between the dolphin kick and breaststroke kick. Identify identical hip motion for short axis strokes.



BF – 3 Right 3 Left 3 Both: Three strokes with right arm, then three strokes with the left arm followed by three strokes with both arms. Allows swimmers to do butterfly for longer distances until endurance has been built up.
BF – Short Axis Combo: Swim two strokes Butterfly, then two strokes Breaststroke. Try to keep a consistent rhythm and undulating motion between the two strokes. Assists learning rhythm and the undulating motion for both strokes.
BF – Kicking Drills #1: Body Dolphin: kick with hands at side, breathe on upbeat of every fourth kick—drop head down on down beat with out hesitating. Keep rhythm consistent, especially while breathing. Kick and breathing coordination
BF – Kicking Drills #2: Body Dolphin: same as above except hands are in front. Kick and breathing co- ordination
BF – Kicking Drills #3: Underwater kick: kick in a streamline position underwater—on stomach, back, or side. Underwater kick positions
BF – Kicking Drills #4: Kick on back: dolphin kick on your back with hands at your side or in front, keeping knees below the surface of the water. Kick with easy breathe
BF – One Arm Fly: Can be done two ways, the arm not being used in the streamline position above the head or, at the side. For a variation try breathing forward instead of to the side. Allows swimmers to concentrate on timing of kick and breathing.
BF – Press The Corners: Kick Butterfly while doing a small scull extending beyond the shoulders, and back in again. Keep sculling strokes to less than 12- inches of travel. Working the catch phase of Butterfly.
BF – Scooter Butterfly: Hold kickboard with one arm, kick Butterfly, and stroke with the other arm. Keep eyes forward. Work timing and overall stroke. Undulation, thrust, and timing.
BF – Single Arm #1: This drill traditionally has been performed with one arm extended and one arm stroking. Focus on the kick timing of “kick your hands into the water” and “kick your hands out of the water”. Accelerate the pull, and snap the hands through the finish and into the recovery. This drill uses less energy and assists feel of each arm stroke.
BF – Single Arm #2: Leave the nonworking arm at your side. You will have the feeling of “throwing your arm away.” Always concentrate on “getting in front” for an effortless butterfly stroke. This drill works on connecting the finish of the butterfly stroke with the recovery
BF – Standard Recovery: Keep the elbows slightly bent, and sweep the hands low over the water during the recovery. Drive your head more forward than upward, and breathe facing forward. Practicing this drill simulates the stroke without tiring the swimmer as quickly
BF – Super-Dolphin: Over-emphasize the “dolphining” undulation of the stroke. During the recovery, reach up straight to the sky with your arm, and look up at your hand, Drive your upper body upwards as high as possible, and then dive forward as your hand enters out front, driving your hips upward. This drill will increase the feel and rhythm of the arms with the kick.
BF – Three-Kick / One-Pull – Extend the arms out in front in streamline position and take three full kicks. After the third kick, take one strong pull in time with the kicking. Recover the arms to the streamline position and repeat. This drill helps both  streamline position and kicking
BF – Thumb-Tip Drag: Bend your elbow and keep it high. With your palm facing behind you towards your feet, stick your thumb down and draft it along the surface of the water. This drill helps keep hands and elbows in the proper position at the hand entry.
BF – Triple Kick: One fly pull with both arms followed with 3 kicks. Concentrate on the timing of taking a breath (start to raise the head as the hands enter the water, this allows the breath to be completed by the time the arms come forward over the head). Also, try to kick as the hands enter the water and as the hands pass below the hips. Promotes synchronising breathing and emphasises kick in streamline position
BF – Two-up-Four Down: Do two strokes Butterfly, breathe, and dive forward underwater into a streamlined position and do four kicks. Assists entry, dolphin action, and breath control.