Drills for swim teams you might be skipping

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I get the feeling sometimes when I’m coaching or teaching a swim lesson that I’m wasting time. Sometimes I feel like when parents see me doing “floats” with their advanced swimmers, or doing a challenge where they do a front float, flip, then do a handstand we’re playing games without a purpose.

If you’ve followed Swimming Ideas at all, you know that everything we do has a direct purpose aimed at improving the swimmer’s ability in the water.

We often do simple tasks like floating on the surface, or doing a challenge that requires the swimmer to keep their belly button and their nose above the water at the same time. If you haven’t done it yet, it is extremely challenge to do both.

In this video, Chloe runs us through some basic drills like “floating,” and kicking in soldier, or position 11 which you’d typically think are basic, simple things.

But here is an Olympian showing us that these are excellent drills and ways that even she does to keep your feet high in the water when swimming.

For freestyle, one of my biggest concerns is getting a swimmer to keep their head down and to balance with their body on the surface like she demonstrates while kicking. Wow, what I’d give to have all of my swimmers look like that with the straight body line, the neutral head position, and the strong consistent kick.

There is a place to do these drills, to do them well, and I find that doing them regularly (especially position 11 which I’d do with any group from beginners to elite national swimmers) and with a challenge associated with them encourages better swimming later.

We swim with purpose. We swim with fun and effective activities and drills to improve our swimming at a meet and overall.


Float. Float on belly or on back and find that balanced neutral position with arms extended, body flat, hips stacked horizontally with chest and head, and belly pulled flat.

Position 11. Know it, love it.

One arm position 11, or Position 1 with side breath. I haven’t done this drill much, but am going to be working it into our program much more. Like seeing the side breath with a emphasis of turning to the side to breathe. Swimmers are already familiar with position 11. This is a simple adaptation.

Challenge: Keep nose and belly button above water at same time for 5 seconds.

Challenge: Float underwater with only nose above water.

Challenge: Put your nose, belly button and one big toe on the bottom at same time.

Challenge: Lay like you’re sleeping in bed hovering exactly at midway underwater from surface to bottom.

What drills do you do that most people are probably skipping because they seem too basic?

Better swimming.
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