The best drills are often those that ask you to do LESS rather than more – or to do NOTHING rather than something. Single-Arm freestyle is one of them.
Why Do It:
This drill COULD be all about the pull, but it’s not. This drill is all about what you do with the non-working arm – the arm that is out in front of your body. By focusing on the lead arm, and getting that hand to do NOTHING, you are working on several important aspects of your stroke. You’re working on great extension and a powerful catch. You’re working on not crossing the centerline or leveraging for air. And you’re working on sending your energy FORWARD.
How To Do It:
This drill is very simple. Take 3 strokes of freestyle with your right arm – then three strokes with your left arm. Keep the non-working arm extended out front.
You can breathe as often as you like. You can even use fins or a pull buoy.
The goal is to keep the lead arm stable and steady and straight – as if it had a steel bar running through it. At the same time, you want to maintain a ‘soft’ hand — one that lets you FEEL the water as it flows over and around it.
If your lead arm is steady and straight – and if your hand is sensitive to the pressure of the water, you should feel the water against the tip-tops of your fingers.
This swimmer is not keeping her lead arm steady. You can see that she’s leveraging for air, and not swimming as smoothly as the other swimmer. She’s not moving directly FORWARD.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Try to focus ENTIRELY on the lead arm, keeping it rock steady and pointed directly toward the other end of the pool. Try to feel WHERE and HOW the water is interacting with your hand. You SHOULD feel it hitting under your fingernails.