Best Drills for Improving Freestyle Technique

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Best Drills for Improving Freestyle Technique

Freestyle swimming, or front crawl, is a cornerstone of competitive and recreational swimming. Mastering this stroke requires dedication and practice. Incorporating specific drills into your training can significantly enhance your technique. These drills focus on improving various aspects of freestyle, such as body position, arm movement, and breathing. Moreover, they help build muscle memory and efficiency. Therefore, let’s explore the best drills to refine your freestyle technique.

Best Drills for Improving Freestyle Technique
Best Drills for Improving Freestyle Technique

Catch-Up Drill

The catch-up drill is excellent for improving arm coordination and extension. To perform this drill, swim freestyle but wait for one hand to catch up to the other before starting the next stroke. This pause emphasizes full arm extension and proper body rotation. Additionally, it helps swimmers focus on a high elbow position during the recovery phase. Therefore, integrating the catch-up drill into your routine can enhance stroke efficiency and balance.

Fingertip Drag Drill

The fingertip drag drill encourages a high elbow recovery, which is crucial for an efficient freestyle stroke. While swimming freestyle, drag your fingertips along the water’s surface during the recovery phase. This action ensures your elbow remains high and promotes a smooth arm movement. Furthermore, this drill helps swimmers develop a better feel for the water. Hence, it is a valuable exercise for refining arm technique and improving overall stroke mechanics.

One-Arm Freestyle Drill

The one-arm freestyle drill isolates each arm to enhance stroke technique and balance. Swim freestyle using only one arm, keeping the other arm extended in front or by your side. Focus on proper body rotation and arm mechanics. Alternate arms every 25 meters or as needed. Moreover, this drill allows swimmers to identify and correct any asymmetries in their stroke. Thus, it is an effective way to develop a more balanced and efficient freestyle.

Kickboard Drill

Using a kickboard is an excellent way to strengthen your kick and improve body position. Hold a kickboard at arm’s length and perform a flutter kick. Ensure your body stays horizontal and streamlined. Additionally, focus on kicking from the hips, not the knees. This drill helps swimmers build leg strength and maintain a proper body position. Furthermore, it promotes efficient propulsion, which is essential for a strong freestyle stroke.

6-3-6 Drill

The 6-3-6 drill enhances body rotation and coordination. Start by taking six kicks on one side with one arm extended and the other by your side. Then, take three freestyle strokes and switch to the other side, repeating the process. This drill emphasizes proper body rotation and balanced stroke mechanics. Moreover, it helps swimmers develop a smooth and rhythmic freestyle. Therefore, incorporating the 6-3-6 drill into your training can significantly improve your technique.

Sculling Drill

Sculling drills improve a swimmer’s feel for the water and hand positioning. Perform a sculling motion with your hands while keeping your body horizontal and legs stationary. Move your hands back and forth in small, controlled movements. Focus on maintaining a high elbow position and using your forearms for propulsion. Additionally, this drill helps swimmers understand how to catch and pull water effectively. Hence, it is crucial for developing a powerful and efficient freestyle stroke.

Breathing Drills

Proper breathing is essential for maintaining rhythm and endurance in freestyle swimming. One effective breathing drill is side-kicking. Kick on your side with one arm extended and your face in the water. Turn your head to breathe every few kicks. This drill promotes proper head position and breathing technique. Moreover, it helps swimmers develop a smooth and controlled breathing pattern. Thus, practicing breathing drills can significantly enhance overall freestyle performance.

High Elbow Drill

The high elbow drill focuses on maintaining a high elbow position during the pull phase of the stroke. Swim freestyle, emphasizing an early vertical forearm position. Your elbow should remain higher than your hand throughout the pull. This drill encourages a more efficient and powerful stroke. Additionally, it helps swimmers develop better leverage and propulsion. Therefore, incorporating the high elbow drill into your routine can improve stroke mechanics and overall performance.


Incorporating these drills into your training can significantly enhance your freestyle technique. Focus on drills that improve arm coordination, body position, and breathing. Additionally, use drills that strengthen your kick and enhance your feel for the water. Consistent practice with these drills will help build muscle memory and efficiency. Moreover, seek feedback from coaches or experienced swimmers to refine your technique further. Therefore, dedicating time to these drills will lead to noticeable improvements in your freestyle swimming. Happy training!

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