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Hip Driven Freestyle Progression: Advanced Timing Drills  

In this video, we are going to explore how the different components of hip driven freestyle connect, in order to make the stroke more athletic and add more power. Power in freestyle comes when all of these techniques come together at the appropriate moment. These drills are not designed to teach any individual technique in isolation so it is important to continue to work on on the pieces both separately and to experiment in other dynamic ways.

We will perform two basic set-up drills before we glue the pieces together. 

Set-up Drills

The first set-up drill is Flutter Kick on the Side. This is a classic balance and posture drill. It is important to establish balance early in the drill progression in order to set a base for movement. The swimmer will have more power as they gain better balance because the energy from the kick will be applied more directly to the stoke function. 

The second set-up drill is Flutter Kick on the Side with a Heel Delay. For some, thinking about connecting the kick to the rotation or the catch during a full speed kick can be overwhelming. By pausing the heel backwards the swimmer can set-up the connection between the down-kick and the roll of the hips as well as the catch. Later in the video, the entry of the recovery arm is added. A tip to master the heel delay: count the backward heel drive of the bottom leg. Pausing every 3 heel drives can help compartmentalize the information. 

Connection Drills for Hip Driven Freestyle

The third drill is the Single Arm Connection Drill. Here we are establishing the connection between the forward snap of the bottom leg’s kick, with the roll of the hips and the initiation of the catch. It is important to try to go step by step at first. Kick on the side. Kick on the side and pause the heel. Kick on the side and connect the stroke as the paused heel begins to kick forward. It is important to prioritize the timing of all three motions together. 

The fourth drill in the progression is the Set-up and Drive Drill. This drill adds the connection of the recovery arm to this motion. This drill is also dictated by the speed of the recovery arm. Begin by recovering the arm up the body. Pause the elbow perpendicular to the body. When the recovery pauses the swimmer will drive the heel backward and engage the Single Arm Connection Drill while adding the drive of the recovery arm.

The fifth drill in the progression is the Human Paddle Drill.  This drill is designed to focus on the connection in a more balanced way by engaging the connection on both sides equally. The recovery is eliminated in order to focus on the underwater portion. Also, swimmers who struggle with balance can work on the connections without losing buoyancy.

With Human Paddle it is important to explore the interplay between the two sides and discover the perfect balance of these pieces working together. In the sixth video you can see a modification where we decide to use a wall. The wall lets us calibrate the power and make adjustments to the connections. It particularly helps a young swimmer understand the power they are generating. 

Feel the Rhythm. Feel the Rhyme.

The last piece is simply Two Beat Freestyle which emulates hip driven freestyle at its finest. The goal here is to hit the connection in stride. Add 3 kicks on either side for a 6 beat kick and 3 kicks on one side with one single kick on the other for a 4 beat stroke. 

Balance is a state of constant adjustments. Expect that the swimmer will progress each 25 and learn how the pieces fit. Again, focus on the timing and open the mind to see all the pieces working together.

Flow Swimming offers premiere swimming clinics and coaching.

Mission Statement: Flow Swimming workshops are designed to create athletic, long lasting strokes and mind sets that will set the foundation for faster swimming and more intense training.

Our Core Philosophy: Flow Swimming understands that there is a lot of information out there in the vast world of swimming. We think of swimmers and coaches as athletes with the ability to try new and different things. We want to challenge bodies to move, interact, experience, and think about the water in unique ways. We teach a variety of styles of each stroke because we believe that an athlete will never “mess themselves up”. We think of skills like tools in a toolbox. 

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Other blog posts from Mark Hill:
Backstroke Technique: Top Arm Breakout

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