Lyons Masters Swimming Drills
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#1 - Head-Lead Supine Balance
- Lie flat in the water on your back.
- Slightly contract your abs to keep a straight back throughout the exercise.
- Keep your head in line with the trunk and slightly tuck in your chin.
- Keep the arms relaxed and extended at your sides.
- Start to kick with a gentle flutter kick.
- If you notice that your hips and legs drop, increase the downward pressure on your shoulder blades and on the back of your head. This should make your hips and legs rise. Don't compensate for your sinking legs by kicking harder!
#2 - Hand-Lead Side Balance
Instructions:The starting position (Sweet Spot) is the same as the one used in the Head-Lead Side Balance drill:
- You are floating on the side. The angle between your body and the water surface is around 45°.
- Your head is still and your face is turned upward. You are looking straight at the ceiling.
- Your arms are at your sides.
- You use a supple flutter kick to move forward.
- Extend the bottom arm forward under water until it is straight and in an overhead position.
- Your palm may be up, to the side or down, whatever feels more comfortable to you.
- Your arm should be parallel to the water surface or slightly angled down.
- Adjust your balance to take into account the changed weight distribution.
- Continue to flutter kick on the same side for the rest of the length, then repeat the exercise on your other side, and so on.
- Practice until you feel completely comfortable floating on the side with an arm extended overhead.
#3 - Under Switch
Instructions:Push off the wall floating on the side like you did in Hand-Lead Side Balance:
- Your body is horizontal in the water, rolled about 45° away from a flat position.
- Your head is in line with the trunk and your face is turned upward.
- Your bottom arm is straight, floating underwater and extended forward, your top arm rests on your side.
- Your legs are flutter kicking.
- Now roll your head and turn your face downward. Your body rolls a little bit too until it is at a 90° angle with the water surface.
- Your top arm is the recovering arm. Sneak it forward in the water and close to your body, with your hand following the midline of your body, and the palm turned inward.
- Your other arm starts to sweep backward at the same time, pushing against the water for propulsion.
- When you can see your recovering hand in front of your face, roll your body as a unit toward the other side until you are back into the initial position but on the other side.
- Breathe in a few times and adjust your balance, then repeat the same movements toward the other side, and so on.
Swimming Drill Tips
- Practice until you have internalized the right moment at which you must roll toward the other side.
- Remember to roll your body as a unit, don't anticipate the rotation with your head.
- Exhale continuously as soon as your face is submerged.
- Once you become proficient with this swimming drill, try to do double and triple switches: don't roll your head upward after the first switch but keep it down and do a few arm switches in that position before rolling up.
- You can also try to add more snap into the hip rotation to drive the switches.
#4 - Zipper SwitchInstructions:
This drill starts exactly like Under Switch:
- You are floating half on your back and half on your side.
- You use a supple flutter kick for moving forward.
- Your top arm rests on your side, your bottom arm is extended forward under water.
- Your face is turned toward the ceiling.
- Your body rolls into a position where it is at a 90° angle with the water surface.
- Your face is turned toward the bottom.
- Your arms have kept their respective positions.
- Sweep your hand forward past your hip, rib cage and shoulder, as if pulling up a zipper.
- Lead the recovery with a high elbow and let your forearm dangle down from the elbow.
- Let your hand drag in the water. The pressure of the water against the hand will ensure that you lead the recovery with your elbow.
- Enter the water with your hand once it has moved past your head.
- Extend your arm forward under water into the overhead position.
- As the recovering arm enters the water, the other arm starts to sweep backward and to push against the water for propulsion.
- Simultaneously roll on your other side and continue the arm movements until one arm is completely extended in the overhead position and the other arm rests on your top side.
- You are now back into the initial position but floating on the other side. Take a few moments to catch your breath, then start the cycle again toward the other side, and so on.
Swimming Drill Tips
- Practice the drill until your recovery feels compact and efficient and you can maintain your balance throughout the whole cycle.
- Once you have mastered simple switches you can practice double and triple switches like you did in Under Switch. Multiple switches teach you the rhythm you will use while swimming the full crawl stroke.
Back #1 = Hand Lead Side Balance
The drill starts exactly like head-lead side balance:
- Go to the shallow area of the pool.
- Lean on your back, push off the ground, start to flutter kick and get into a horizontal position, with both arms at your sides.
- Once you are balanced, roll to the side, and get balanced again.
Once you are comfortable flutter kicking in this side position, sneak up one of your arms and extend it in front of you.
- When the arm is extended, the palm should either face the side wall or the ground.
- Try to get balanced again in this new position.
- Keep this position for the rest of the length, and switch sides for each new pool length.
- Play with the depth of the arm in the water until you find its ideal position. For some people, the arm is nearly parallel to the water surface while for others, the arm is angled down 45° or more.
- You should experience that it's easier to keep your hips and legs up in this position because the extended arm provides additional leverage.
- As you are taller with the extended arm, you should also feel that you slip better through the water and need to kick less to travel at the same speed than in head-lead side balance.
Back #2 - Under Water Arm Sweeps
The drill is an extension of Hand-Lead Side Balance. So the beginning is exactly the same:
- Go to the shallow area of the pool.
- Lean on your back.
- Start to flutter kick.
- Get into a horizontal position on your back.
- Roll on your side.
- Extend one arm in front of you, keep the other arm at your side.
Once you are balanced and comfortable in that position, do the following:
- Angle your wrist so that your hand faces backwards.
- Start to push with your hand against the water, and execute a propulsive under water arm sweep.
- Keep the other arm at your side.
- Once you have finished your arm sweep, both arms are at your sides. At that moment, extend your other arm forward, and execute the arm sweep with that arm, and so on.
- Pay attention to your balance. It is more important to stay balanced and put less force in the arm sweep than the other way around.
- With each arm sweep, roll from side to side like you learned to do in Head-Lead Side Balance Drills.
- Try to keep your head still and the face parallel to the water surface.