Good afternoon everyone – my procrastinator monkey has taken over right now and helping me to avoid mowing/raking my leaves to give you this important public service announcement swim drill lesson.
Do not fear the 5 stage free (or 4 stage, and you’ll see why I go back and forth between this and the 5 stage name) drill.
1. This drill is designed to make you feel the connection between the hips and shoulders – if they aren’t working in unison you will feel like you’re drowning and you’ll avoid this drill like the plague.
2. This drill is designed for you to not just rotate better, but it forces you to feel each stroke as well. Well, as long as you aren’t feeling like you’re drowning, and if you aren’t kicking at all….you’re going to flounder.
3. This drill is designed for you to realize that kicking is not an option in swimming, but a must at all times. If you’re legs quit moving you will quit moving on this drill for the most part. Kind of like running – if you quit moving the arms you aren’t going anywhere either really fast (or even slow).
Avoid using fins on this drill. It’s a cheat. Look Debs…I did a lot of this 4 stage (5 stage) stuff and basically did 3 strokes per 25. Penalty Buzzer has just been hit by the coach.
Stage 1: You are on your side kicking with your head looking down. If you aren’t comfortable here? Then you’re not ready for 4/5 stage free. So instead of moving forward onto the drill – spend the same amount of time kicking on your side with an arm leading. In this position you want to feel the neck, shoulders, arms feel relaxed. If you feel tension – GET RID OF IT.
Stage 2: You rotate the head so that your mouth clears the water and you BREATH! In fact whenever I always do this drill for the first 25-50 yards I actually spend about 15-20” on just stage two breathing until I feel relaxed again. NOTE TO SELF: WHENEVER I FEEL LIKE I’M NOT IN CONTROL MY BODY STARTS TO FREAK OUT! And….this is true for everyone. So spend some time in Stage 2 before you move onto the next stage.
Stage 3: Put your head back down as you were in Stage 1. That’s it.
Stage 4: Here is the tricky part that people have a hard time with on this drill. You must NOT breath while you are stroking. That lead arm strokes, and your body rotates around the arm as a UNIT….shoulders and hips together. Focus on driving the hips and shoulders together DOWN as you’re stroking so that it’s easy to get the arm out of the water.
Stage 5 (or stage 1 again) is that position where you are looking down and kicking on your side.
I will literally be counting loudly in my head on each of these positions. There is meant to be a PAUSE between each of the stages. If you try rushing through the drill you’ve missed the whole point of it, plus you probably hate me because all you do is feel like a spastic monkey in the water.
So why do I go back and forth between the Stage 4 and Stage 5 name? It’s because some people need that extra stage to get their mind wrapped around this drill. Hell…even I do it as well myself. It all depends on who I’m working with at the time and how their brain is functioning on that given day.
FYI? All my triathletes are going to be doing this drill a LOT over the winter.