Taking an old standard drill like single arm, and turning it in to a set, can force swimmers to think and discover.
Why Do It:
Using single-arm swimming can help you discover the instinctual aspects of some strokes, and show you what may be lacking in others.
How to Do It:
1. Start with a length of each stroke with one arm held down to your side.
2. Then try the same thing with one arm held out in front.
3. Then try a few single-arm strokes with each arm, building into full stroke swimming.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Paying attention to what’s happening during this drill can show you quite a bit about your strokes, and which method, arm held back, or arm in front, will be more effective for you in your own swimming.
For butterfly and breaststroke, holding the arm behind may feel awkward, while holding the arm out front may cause the leading arm to move down and up too much. If you’re holding the arm out front, try to stabilize the arm just under the surface, and focus on sending the fingers forward.
For freestyle, holding the lead arm out front may feel good, but can ultimately limit the rotation you want from your body. Depending on your goal, whether it’s to drive the fingers forward from the pull, or to develop great rotation, use the method that serves the purpose.
For backstroke, holding the arm out front doesn’t really work. Hold the arm at your side and focus on rotating the shoulder out of the water on each stroke.