Freestyle – Full Stroke Drills – Freestyle Hand entry/recovery variations

FRS04 Category: Freestyle Hand entry/recovery variations


Various arm recovery methods can be used along with any desired kick cycles.


Allows the swimmer to focus on their elbow, hand and arm position on recovery (typically encouraging a high elbow on recovery) as well as the hand entry height and angles (both the side-to-side angle as well as the downward angle).


Variables that can be incorporated into all variations:

        • Tech Snorkel trains a neutral head position and side-of-mouth breathing
        • InHaler is ideal with all of these drills to train a very low head to breath behind the bow wave
        • Power Bags on the feet will develop kick power and train the kick to stay close to the surface
        • Power Bags on the calves helps focus on reducing knee bend for a hip-driven kick
        • Glide paddle is essential for the non-stroking arm when that arm is up as it will accentuate any instability in the front hand or body balance (GIF)
        • KickBand and 1Flexband around the ankles will help power up the kick muscles


FRS04-01 Stun gun  (Hesitation on recovery arm)  (GIF) (Full Video Link)

  • Hesitate on recovery with the hand poised over the head and pointing forward
  • Elbow should be completely perpendicular to body when it freezes overhead
  • Encourages a very high rotation and can focus on precise hand entry angles
  • Try this drill with and without Glide paddles  to focus on quality of hand entry
  • This is similar to the Russian Crawl in which the recovering arm slows down to slow motion and focuses on a high elbow and stops (with the elbow straight up) for a few seconds  and then focus on a strong hand entry and switch arms.


FRS04-02 Zipper Drill (thumb drags side of body on recovery) (GIF) (Full Video Link)

  • As arm recovers, the thumb is drug along the side of the body completely over the head
  • Create a high rotation and allows time to think about hand entry quality


FRS04-03 Fingertip Drag (fingertips drag through water on recovery) (GIF) (Full Video Link)

Drag fingertips through water on recovery arm

Encourages a high elbow recovery and focus on hand entry

Tends to discourage full rotation

Change from dragging fingertips – to hand – to wrist, to whole forearm

Makes a ‘sailboat’ on top of water (arm makes shape of sail)


FRS04-04 Wrist Drag (Entire hand drags through water on recovery)

  • Same as the Fingertip Drag (FRS04-03) but the swimmer drags the entire hand underwater
  • Encourages a shortened hand entry position and a high elbow on recovery


FRS04-05 Salute Drill

  • Recover with the arm straight overhead and stop with the arm directly up, then bend the elbow and bring the hand to the head in a salute motion, and then return the hand straight up before bending at the elbow again and driving the hand directly into the water above the head
  • This can encourage a ‘thumb down’ hand entry so attention should be given to rotation the hand so it is flat as it enters the water