Best Swimming Drills For Young Swimmers

Swimming Drills For Young Swimmers


Introducing swimming drills for young swimmers is a fantastic way to help them develop essential skills, build confidence in the water, and improve their technique. By incorporating a variety of drills into their practice routine, young swimmers can learn to swim more efficiently and effectively while having fun. Here, we explore some of the best swimming drills for young swimmers that can enhance their performance and enjoyment in the pool.



Floating and Kicking Drills

Floating and kicking are foundational skills in swimming. Developing these abilities early on helps young swimmers feel more comfortable and confident in the water.


Starfish Float: One of the simplest yet most effective drills for beginners is the starfish float. Have the swimmer spread their arms and legs wide like a starfish and float on their back. This drill helps young swimmers get used to the buoyancy of the water and learn how to balance their bodies.

Kickboard Kicks: Using a kickboard, young swimmers can practice their kicks without worrying about their arm movements. This drill focuses on building leg strength and improving kicking technique. Swimmers should keep their legs straight and kick from the hips, maintaining a steady and rhythmic motion.



Breathing and Bubble Blowing Drills

Proper breathing techniques are crucial for efficient swimming. Teaching young swimmers how to breathe correctly can significantly improve their performance and endurance.


Bubble Blowing: Encouraging young swimmers to blow bubbles in the water helps them become comfortable with exhaling underwater. This drill can be done while holding onto the pool edge or using a kickboard. It’s a fun way to practice controlled breathing and reduce the fear of putting their face in the water.

Side Breathing Drills: For freestyle swimming, side breathing is essential. Have swimmers practice turning their head to the side to breathe while using a kickboard for support. This drill helps them coordinate their breathing with their arm movements, ensuring they maintain a steady rhythm while swimming.



Arm Movement Drills

Developing proper arm movements is key to efficient swimming. These drills focus on teaching young swimmers the correct technique for different strokes.


Single Arm Freestyle: Have swimmers practice freestyle using one arm while the other arm rests on a kickboard. This drill helps them focus on the pull and recovery phases of the stroke, ensuring they use proper technique with each movement.

Catch-Up Drill: In the catch-up drill, swimmers extend one arm out in front and wait for the other arm to “catch up” before taking the next stroke. This drill helps young swimmers work on their stroke timing and maintain a streamlined position in the water.



Streamline Drills

Streamlining reduces drag and allows swimmers to move more efficiently through the water. These drills emphasize maintaining a streamlined body position.


Streamline Glides: From a push-off position, have swimmers extend their arms overhead and squeeze their ears between their upper arms. They should glide as far as possible without kicking. This drill reinforces the importance of a streamlined body position and helps swimmers practice maintaining it.

Underwater Streamline Kicks: After pushing off the wall, swimmers should remain in a streamlined position while performing a series of dolphin kicks underwater. This drill combines streamlining with powerful kicks, helping young swimmers maximize their distance off each wall.



Coordination and Timing Drills

Swimming requires precise coordination and timing between different body movements. These drills help young swimmers develop these critical skills.


Three-Count Drill: For freestyle and backstroke, the three-count drill involves taking three strokes with one arm before switching to the other arm. This drill helps swimmers focus on the timing and coordination of their arm movements and breathing.

Fingertip Drag Drill: Have swimmers drag their fingertips along the surface of the water during the recovery phase of their freestyle stroke. This drill emphasizes high elbow recovery and helps swimmers improve their arm positioning and timing.



Balance and Core Strength Drills

Good balance and core strength are essential for maintaining proper body position and stability in the water. These drills help young swimmers develop these important attributes.


Balance Kicks: While holding a kickboard with one hand and extending the other arm at their side, swimmers should practice kicking while maintaining a balanced body position. This drill helps improve core strength and balance, which are crucial for efficient swimming.

Superman Drill: In the superman drill, swimmers extend one arm forward and the opposite leg backward while floating on their stomach. They should switch arms and legs periodically, maintaining balance and a streamlined position. This drill strengthens the core and helps swimmers develop better body control.



Turn and Finish Drills

Practicing turns and finishes is vital for competitive swimming. These drills help young swimmers execute smooth and efficient turns and finishes.


Somersault Turn Drill: Have swimmers practice somersaults in the water to simulate the motion of a flip turn. This drill helps them become comfortable with the movement and timing required for executing a proper flip turn.

Sprint to Finish Drill: In this drill, swimmers practice sprinting the last 5-10 meters of their swim to the wall. This emphasizes the importance of finishing strong and maintaining speed through the end of the race.



Fun and Engaging Drills

Keeping swimming fun and engaging is essential for maintaining young swimmers’ interest and motivation. These drills incorporate playful elements to make practice enjoyable.


Relay Races: Organize relay races where swimmers compete in teams to complete various swimming challenges. This drill fosters a sense of teamwork and friendly competition while providing a fun way to practice swimming skills.

Treasure Hunt: Scatter dive rings or other pool toys at the bottom of the pool and have swimmers dive to collect them. This drill combines fun with practicing diving and underwater swimming skills.



Building Endurance and Stamina

Endurance is a critical component of swimming that enables young swimmers to maintain their performance over longer distances and during extended swim sessions. Building stamina early helps swimmers improve their cardiovascular health and overall fitness.


Interval Training: Incorporate interval training into practice sessions. This involves swimming a set distance at a high intensity, followed by a short rest period, and then repeating. Interval training helps build cardiovascular endurance and teaches swimmers how to pace themselves.

Distance Swims: Gradually increase the distance young swimmers cover in practice. Start with shorter distances and progressively lengthen them as the swimmer’s endurance improves. This helps build stamina and prepares swimmers for longer events in competitions.



Improving Stroke Efficiency

Stroke efficiency is essential for reducing energy expenditure and improving overall performance. Teaching young swimmers to swim with proper technique can significantly enhance their efficiency in the water.


Catch-Up Freestyle Drill: This drill focuses on improving the freestyle stroke. Swimmers extend one arm forward and wait for the other arm to “catch up” before taking the next stroke. This helps young swimmers develop a smooth and efficient stroke rhythm.

Sculling Drills: Sculling drills involve small, controlled movements of the hands and arms to feel the water better and improve the catch phase of the stroke. These drills help swimmers understand how to position their hands and arms for maximum propulsion.



Developing Kicking Strength

Strong kicks are essential for maintaining speed and balance in the water. Focusing on kicking strength can help young swimmers improve their propulsion and overall swimming performance.


Vertical Kicking: Have swimmers practice kicking while maintaining a vertical position in the water. This drill helps build leg strength and improves kicking technique. Swimmers should keep their body straight and kick from the hips.

Flutter Kick with Board: Using a kickboard, swimmers should practice flutter kicking with their face in the water. This drill emphasizes the importance of a strong and steady kick, helping to build leg muscles and improve kicking endurance.



Enhancing Starts and Push-Offs

Starts and push-offs are crucial for gaining an early advantage in races. Teaching young swimmers the proper techniques for these elements can significantly enhance their competitive performance.


Streamline Push-Offs: After pushing off the wall, swimmers should focus on maintaining a tight streamline position. This drill helps them maximize the distance covered during the push-off and reduces drag, making the start more efficient.

Track Start Drill: Practice the track start, where swimmers place one foot forward and one foot back on the starting block. This position allows for a powerful launch into the water. Repeating this drill helps swimmers develop a strong and effective start technique.



Incorporating Drills into Practice

Incorporating these swimming drills for young swimmers into regular practice sessions can significantly enhance their skills and enjoyment. It’s important to vary the drills to keep practice interesting and address different aspects of swimming.


Structured Practice: Create a structured practice routine that includes a warm-up, main set of drills, and a cool-down. This ensures that swimmers get a well-rounded workout and develop all the necessary skills.

Positive Reinforcement: Encourage and praise young swimmers for their efforts and improvements. Positive reinforcement helps build their confidence and motivates them to keep practicing and improving.



Conclusion: Swimming Drills For Young Swimmers

Using a variety of swimming drills for young swimmers can greatly enhance their skills, confidence, and enjoyment in the water. From foundational skills like floating and kicking to more advanced techniques like turns and finishes, these drills cover all aspects of swimming. By incorporating fun and engaging elements, young swimmers will look forward to their practice sessions and continue to develop a lifelong love for swimming. Ensuring a structured and supportive practice environment will help young swimmers reach their full potential and achieve success in the pool.