Swim Drill – Freestyle – Head Lead Balance with Rotation

Freestyle Drill: Head Lead Balance with Rotation

Hands at the side so the head goes first, balance flat on the surface of the water with a strong kick, and rotate along the spinal axis. To breathe, turn to the side with a rotation.

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Notice from the video how slowly the person moves or rotates.

You can go fast or slow with the rotation. The key here is that you rotate completely to 90° to the surface of the water.

Rotate from the hips, not the shoulders

A common mistake in Head Lead balance with rotation is that your beginner swimmers will make it easier by just thrusting their shoulders out of the water. Remember, our goals is to rotate from the spinal axis. Just flopping the shoulders will not reinforce or work on the spinal rotation. Ensure swimmers rotate from the hips and their shoulders will follow.

To breathe, rotate the head with a hip rotation

As the hips go up, rotate the head and keep the spine in line. A steady kick is necessary to breathe, and a well turned head keeps the body in line. If the swimmer lifts their chin, or does a breath in any way not in alignment, the body will wiggle or weave like a snake in the water.

This is more a rotation and kicking drill than it is a breathing or speed drill

The over-exaggerated rotation will translate into a better connection to the roughly 45° angle you should do while swimming. The rotation learned here will work well for 1 arm only drill.  Maintaining a strong kick makes this drill possible, and requires a determined effort.


Have you had any success with this drill? Do you use it in your swim lessons? Have you done it with your swim team? If you have thoughts or variations, please share!

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