The young swimmer featured in slow motion on this Drill of the Week recently took part in a state relay team — AS A SEVENTH GRADER. This footage was taken some time ago; since then, she has grown up a little. We are featuring her this week as a way to congratulate her on her accomplishments, and to let her know that there is no limit to what she can achieve if she continues to work hard.
This is a great short-axis drill to help you work on timing your arms to the rhythm of your body. When you are working on this you will see what the connection is between your body rhythm and your pull. The mini pull gets your arms and hands in rhythm with your chest and hips. When you swim breaststroke and butterfly, your power comes from this connection.
Why Do It:
When you are trying to improve your breaststroke and butterfly, one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle is rhythm. This drill synchronizes your arms and hands into the rhythm that is set up by your body. The mini pull lets you maintain power and speed, but prevents your arms from slowing down your body.
How To Do It:
1. Start in streamline and incorporate some underwater dolphin to help establish your rhythm.
2. When you start with an underwater dolphin, your first stroke should be butterfly. Practicing underwater dolphin on a breaststroke drill might get you into a bad habit of dolphining during your pullout.
3. It is really important that your first stroke is a mini stroke. Sacrifice a little width on your catch so you can keep your hands close to your body. Also you want to give up a little in the back of your pull so your hands can exit the water quickly.
4. Because this drill focuses on the upper body, there is no need to worry about your kick. Instead of "kicking," let your legs follow the rhythm of your body.
5. Recover your hands in the normal butterfly motion. Try to place them in the water out in front of you as your chest is ready to start pressing in for another stroke.
6. When your hands are in the water, press on your chest in the same way that you would for a mini pull of butterfly. This time, when you recover your hands, shoot them forward as you would in breaststroke.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points)
1. Try to match the rhythm of your butterfly to the rhythm of your breaststroke. You want to get the feeling that your chest and hips are giving you the power, and that your hands are just helping the hips.
2. Keep the mini pull as mini as you can to start. You can always get bigger from there. When you use the mini pull you can keep your focus on the hand-body connection.
3. Initally start with a 1-to-1 combo (alternate one stroke butterfly and one stroke breaststroke). When you start to get a handle on that, you can go to a 2/2 combo, and even 3/3 combo.