When swimmers are first learning to flip, two of the most common problems are flipping sideways (as opposed to straight over) and using the arms (as opposed to keeping them tucked in to your sides). Here’s an easy drill that will help you master the basics.
Why Do It:
If you can flip straight over, you will deliver ALL of your speed and energy DIRECTLY into the wall. Flipping straight over allows you go get into a tighter tuck and to maintain that tuck longer than if you flip to one side. If you have to use your hands and arms to help you spin, it often means that your abs are weak (we all know the remedy for THAT one), but it also means that you are creating extra resistance and drag by sticking your arms out to help you spin. If you stick your arms and hands out to the side to help you spin, they won’t be where they need to be when it’s time to push off. At push off, the elbows should be close to the body and the hands should be right near the top of your head ‘ ready to go into streamline.
How To Do It:
1. Stand in the shallow end, near the flags, and face the wall.
2. Push off on your stomach and go into layout position, with eyes down and hands outstretched and shoulder-width apart.
3. Pull one arm to your side and pause BRIEFLY. This simulates your second-to-last pull before a turn.
4. Now pull the other arm to your side, tuck your head, and somersault STRAIGHT OVER. Keep your hands at your sides and hold your elbows tight against your sides as you flip.
5. Hold your tuck till you get all the way around, then stand up. If you do this correctly, your hands should be on the top of your head (or right near your ears) as you stand up.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
1. Do it over and over, working on a tighter tuck and keeping your arms close to your body.
2. Think about flipping and getting back on your feet as quickly as possible.
3. When you can do the drill well, take it closer and closer to the wall, until you are finally flipping at the wall. Use the final pull to adjust how close you will be to the wall when you execute the flip.
4. Do some sets where you swim freestyle to the wall, flip straight over, and push off on your back in streamline.