Here’s a short freestyle progression, using a combination of drills to help swimmers focus on balance, the timing of the weight shift in the body, and holding the water into the catch.
Why Do It:
Great freestyle is a combination of many components, and these quick drills can give you some idea where you may be lacking. Â For many masters swimmers, these drills become much more effective if you use fins.
How to Do It:
1.Â Â Start with “stun-gun,” where you hold your recovering arm in a raised position. Â The arm still under water is held extended and you’re propelling with a flutter kick. Â Breathe by turning only your head while in this position, and switch from one side to the other about half-way down the pool.
2.Â Â Next move on to a relaxed recovery, going back to front, front to back, then back to front into a few strokes. Â Being able to control the movement of the recovery, an active arm above the body, will require good balance and a constant kick.
3.Â Â Finally, make sure you understand that no shift in the body will be effective unless you know you’re holding the water. Â Start with your leading arm extended, and your trailing arm down by your side. Â Drop your fingers and forearm into a slight catch position then return it to an extended position. Â Repeat a few times, then begin the recovery, and repeat the catch into a few strokes.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
This is all about setting up your body on a balanced line, then using something as simple as your recovery to disrupt that line and cause a shift to occur, which pulls the leading arm back. Â As long as that leading arm is in a good position, as the shift occurs, you’re going to move forward.
The more stable you can be during all of these positions, the better all of the parts work together. Â Again, as you learn all of these drills, fins can be a great help. Â This isn’t about overloading your legs, so don’t be shy about putting on a small pair of fins. Â And the last piece of advice is to simply SLOW down.