Swimming Game – Roll the dice game

Category: Group Activity or Challenge

Core Skill: All, depending on instructor/coach choice

Name: Roll the Dice then Go



This game is good for all abilities and all groups. The pictured example was done with a developmental swim team group. Ages 5-12, minimum requirements 25 freestyle with breathing, 25 backstroke. Swimmers in that group are learning breaststroke arms and kick, butterfly, how to swim in a lane, circle swimming, streamlines, and flip turns.

Good for:

  • Level 1
  • Level 2
  • Level 3
  • Level 4
  • Swim team


What swim skill will you work on?

Work on any skill you wish. You can tailor this by a specific theme, a progressive instruction with different rounds, or make each square different.

Some ideas:

  • All six squares work on one skill in different ways.
    • For example: Freestyle
      • Square 1) 50 flutter kicks on the side of the pool
      • Square 2) 3 x streamline + 3 strokes free
      • Square 3) Stand in soldier, then do 10x turn only your head to the side, then 10x turn only your head to the other side
      • Square 4) 4 x 25 free kick
      • Square 5) 50 Free swim: breathe to the side
      • Square 6) Do 3 races against someone in your lane to 1/2 way
  • Odd squares are games, evens are variations of “3x streamline + [something]”
  • Make all the squares the same, but change one item or step in each square so they are slightly different.


How do you play this game?

Draw a grid on your display board. We use a small whiteboard mounted on the wall next to the shallow end of the pool. You can use a whiteboard, a chalkboard, or a poster if you want. We use a six sided die and so we draw six boxes.

Label each box sequentially with a number: 1-6. Looking at the post picture, you see that die pips match each square. The upper left corner of each box has the pip number in it.

Rolls a Dice Game

Write a different activity inside each of the squares on the board.

You can write short activities, longer distance items, or a quick game. Plan on each activity only lasting up to five minutes.

Game setup:

You can track points for each team. When a lane completes a square, they get points equal to the number they rolled.


How do the swimmers play?

For swim teams, we give each lane a six sided die. One person from each lane or group takes turns rolling the dice.  The person that rolls the dice needs to figure out what the activity is and then explain it to the rest of the group. The group then does that activity. Then the next person takes a roll.

For swim lessons, we give each person a chance to roll, and then the whole group does the activity.

Swim lessons level 1 grid:

1) Bake a Cake game 2) Supported front glides. Each person goes 3 times.
3) Do 3 jumps each from the side of the pool 4) Blow bubbles underwater with your mouth or your nose for four seconds each
5) Supported back glides. Each person does 3 6) Get six rings from the bench. Put lips, nose, or eyes in water for each ring


Swim lessons level 2 grid:

1) Do 15 bobs 2) Front glide to the instructor, then roll over into a back glide (support if needed)
3) Go 3 times each: streamline and kick to the other bench 4) Get four rings from the bottom, with or without help
5) Do 50 arm circles, front or back strokes. Keep arms straight 6) Go 3 times streamline then position 11 to instructor, then back to wall or bench



[Tweet “Roll the dice to play this dynamic #swim #game !”]


Specific instructions:

To swim team:

“Each lane is a group. One person at a time will roll the die. Match the number you roll to the square on the board and do that activity. Whoever rolls the dice needs to find out what you’re doing and then explain it to your group. Everyone must complete the activity before you move on to the next one. Take turns rolling the dice so everyone gets a chance.”

If you’re playing with points, add, “When you are done with each activity tell a coach the number of the activity to earn that number of points.”

To swim lessons:

“We’re going to do the roll a dice game. Each person will get a chance to roll the dice. We are all going to do whichever activity matches the dice roll. Johnny, you’re first to roll the die. Go.”




We played a variation of this game during the week of 10/25/18 with great success. I added two dice and like craps put the most mundane workable skills in the middle as they’re the most common numbers.

For numbers 5, 6, 7, 8 I made the activities something I really wanted the kids to work on. For numbers 2 and 12 we did something fun as they are less likely to be rolled. It was fun to see teams trying to establish a rolling strategy to get only 12’s or 10’s.  I had to remember that it was intended to be fun and sometimes kids aren’t always in “competition mode.”

The kids that liked working on skills and improving didn’t care what they did.


Have you played this game?

What were the things that worked for you, and what didn’t?

Let us know, comment, twitter, or facebook.

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