Elbow Slap

A swimmer’s hand entry is important in setting up a good pull. Reaching through the water, rather than over it, helps the swimmer find stable water. This drill uses an audible cue to emphasize the practice of reaching through the water and forward.


Swimming can be a balance between efficiency and effectiveness. There is often a trade off — we can develop an efficient technique while going slow, but it falls apart when we try to pick up the speed.

This drill is designed to help the swimmer maintain efficiency by keeping a low stroke count, whilst also adding speed.

Finger-Tip Drag

The over-the-water recovery can’t really help the swimmer gain extra momentum. However, it can cause problems with the stroke if the swimmer’s hand swings very high or out wide.

A high recovery arch, where the hand creates a high arch, extends the downward pressure on the swimmer. This can cause the swimmer to “bounce” while swimming. By the same token, a recovery path that sees the hand take a wide berth away from the body can cause the swimmer to “snake” through the water.

This drill is designed to encourage a compact arm recovery by keeping the arm close to the body and elbow high.


This drill is designed to help make sure that the swimmer completes a full underwater pull. It’s common for swimmers to start their over-the-water recovery before they have maximized the pull. This is inefficient because the last part of the pull is the most powerful part. The front part — the catch — does not add much to the forward momentum for the swimmer. When the swimmer’s hand goes past their shoulder line and then presses through to their side, momentum is gained.

In fact, I often encourage swimmers to think of the underwater phase of their stroke as a pull and push phase. The pull includes the catch and happens in front of the shoulder line.The push happens behind the shoulder line and ends in the swimmers arm straight by their side. Think about climbing out of the pool deck — you pull yourself up until your hands pass your shoulders and then you push yourself up.