By Shawn Klosterman
August 30th, 2018
SwimSwam thanks SwimmersBest for sponsoring “Drill of the Month.” This is a SwimSwam recurring feature that brings drills and idea submissions from various creative and innovative coaches all over the world.
This month, Coach Tomasz Sobek brings us what he calls his position 11 drill for butterfly. He says, “In my swimming philosophy connecting breathing to movement is crucial for fast and efficient swimming. Connecting the movement with comfortable breathing helps the swimmer maintain the tempo and maintain proper technique. In this drill we place our palms softly on two kickboards and maintain a consistent butterfly kick without pressing on the kickboards. Maintaining fluent kick is the key to great butterfly. This drill can be done with a snorkel at first, just to feel the separation of relaxed arms directing the swimmer forward from the torso, hips and legs engaged in the continuous undulation. This drill really nicely shows us which part of the body swimmer is abusing while kicking and where the propulsion becomes less effective.”
Things to watch out for:
- pressing on the kickboard to initiate the movement
- jerking the head up and down
- abusing one muscle group to make up for another (probably weaker or less flexible) group
After couple of 25’s swimmers can drop the snorkel and try to add breathing to the drill.
“The key to performing this drill well is maintaining your breathing pattern from swimming (every 2 or 4 kicks) That will force the swimmer to take quick breaths and breathe out continuously with each kick instead of holding the breath to the last moment. In order to maintain fluent undulation the swimmer will need to “always lead the stroke with the top of his head” or in other words keep his head down.”
Things to watch out for when adding breaths:
- holding the breath, you will see your swimmers dropping the tempo as the distance increases
- leading the head for breathing too high
- jerking the neck
- almost kneeling down for a kick
- pressing down on a kickboard too hard
“While the torso and lower body is working hard to maintain the tempo and secure the continuous breath, the arms and shoulders should be relaxing on the top of the water because during the real race they will be too busy catching the water and working hard while “holding it with a proper high elbow catch”….. soo we need to do whatever we can with the rest of the body to help them out right?… Well, that’s one way I like to explain this drill to my kids and I think the easiest way for me to explain it… ”
“Once your athletes will get better at breathing and it will become more comfortable for them you, might want to do some faster swims.” After a little bit of work with this drill you can easily let the kickboards go and then put the hands to the back. You would still continue this same drill the swimmer adjusts the tempo of the kick and the length of underwater kicks and it is a perfect solution for all butterfly swimmers with shoulder problems.”
Demonstrator August Heggenhougen Leikvam – DSK is an age group swimmer who has qualified for Senior Norwegian Nationals in the 50 and a 100 meters Fly. Coach Tomasz Rafal Malachiasz Sobek is an age group coach at Drammen Svommekklubb, working Under Ronny Skaalien. Sobek previously coached as a Technical Advisor in Poland with School of Mastery Sports in Oswiecim and Physical Education University in Katowice, as well as serving as a Head Coach in Manta Kochlowice Ruda Slaska. Sobek swam at UCONN for Brian Thomas and Janelle Atkinson.