Freestyle – Full Stroke Drills – Single Arm Freestyle

FRS03 Category:  Single Arm Freestyle


Single arm stroking with 2 or 3 kicks per stroke.  Non-stroking arm is either up or down.  Typically best if breathing every stroke (either toward or away from the stroking arm)


All versions are ideal to focus on a hand entry, high elbow EVF Catch, and push prior to outsweep.  Unco versions (non-stroking arm down) are ideal to create proper timing of breathing and rotation.  Lead hand Stability versions (non-stroking arm up) are ideal to detect and correct instability (pushing out laterally, rolling arm inward, or pressing downward) in the non-stroking arm during breathing cycles.


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
        • Precision paddle is ideal to improve the EVF catch and holding the water through the forearm
        • 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


FRS03-01 Lead Hand Stability (non-stroking arm up) -Breathe toward stroking arm (Full Video Link)

  • Breath on every stroke to train your lead arm to be more stable when breathing
  • Helps develop side-to-side balance without compensating by pressing down, out or inward with the lead hand

FRS03-02 Lead Hand Stability w/Glide Paddle – Breathe toward stroking arm (GIF)

  • Same drill as FRS03-01, but add the Glide paddle on the lead hand.  The fins under the Glide are designed to enhance the feedback to the lead arm and make the swimmer aware of incorrect movement
  • The stroking hand can be bare or use the Glide paddle as well

FRS03-03 Lead Hand Stability w/Glide (non-stroking arm) & Precision Paddle (stroking arm) (GIF)

  • Same drill as FRS030-02, but add Precision or Precise paddle to detect dropped elbow during catch and improve a high elbow catch.
  • The combination of the Glide paddle on the lead hand and the Precision paddle on the stroking hand allows the swimmer to focus on the technique of both the stroke hand and lead hand simultaneously

FRS03-04 Unco (non-stroking arm down) – Breathe toward stroking arm on each stroke (GIF) (Full Video Link)

  • Forces the swimmer to focus on the timing of their rotation and the timing of their breathing
  • Essential to use this drill with InHaler at times to train to breath behind bow wave
  • Also by only using 1 arm at a time, the swimmer has more attention to their quality of their high elbow EVF catch.

FRS03-05 Unco (non-stroking arm down)  – Breathe away from stroking arm on each stroke (GIF)

  • This is a more advanced version of the Unco in which the opposite shoulder has to be pressed very deliberately to create enough rotation for the breath
  • This reinforces a strong rotation and good breath timing

FRS03-06 Unco (non-stroking arm down)  – Alternating breaths to both sides and no breath (GIF)

  • Alternate breathing toward stroking arm, then no breath, and then away from the stroke arm
  • As with the other drills in this category,  the stroking arm can be the same for an entire length of the pool or the stroking arm can be changed every 2, 3, or 4 strokes
  • This can be a confusing drill to learn and it is best to start with all other versions of single arm stroke in this series first.  
  • This version is the most ideal as a refresher for advanced swimmers and it combines nearly all the benefits of each of the Unco variations

FRS03-07 Unco (non-stroking arm down) w/Precision -Alternate breaths to both sides (GIF)

  • Same drill as FRS03-06 but add the Precision to the stroking arm(s) to also focus on the Early Vertical Forearm

FRS03-08 Alternate Single Strokes (w/intermittent intervals) Then Consecutive Arms

  • Take 2, 3, 4 strokes on one side, then 2,3, 4 on other side, then finish with normal arm cycle