SwimmersBest Drill of the Month: Turtle Drill

By Torrey Hart
May 29th, 2019

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.

May’s drill comes to us from Mike Murray, co-head coach at Islanders Aquatics in Sayville, New York.

Turtle Drill is used to work on maintaining a perfect body line in butterfly, and Murray has his athletes focus on three goals:

1. Posture – are the head and neck in line with the spine?
2. Line – is the body traveling in a straight direction forward?
3. Balance – is the timing of our pull and undulation creating propulsive force?

“This drill can be used with different breathing patterns, I recommend using the usual pattern that each individual athlete typically has during a race,” Murray told SwimSwam.

“We like to reinforce to the swimmers to keep their eyes on the bottom of the pool in front of them, while also leading with the top of the head, breathing with chin right on the surface so we can’t see their faces when swimming directly at our coaches. We use phrases like ‘breathe by extending your neck, not lifting your head,’” Murray said.

1. Emphasize length and body posture in the streamline by tightening the arms and ONLY focusing on a straight, relaxed body position-without kicking at all.
2. On the whistle, begin swimming fly from a now-floating position on the surface; the first stroke reinforces good elbow joint flexion or “EVF” (early vertical forearm) and leads the athlete to create power within the pull & undulation phase of the stroke.
3. The most important aspect of the drill, focus on breathing with eyes down/chin on the surface of the water-instruction should be guided toward teaching the athletes to think about lengthening the neck to breathe (like a turtle) rather than lifting the head.
4. The landing of the hands should be soft and slightly wider than the shoulders
5. The water spout created by the landing of the arms and chest should shoot forward of the body, not crisscrossing in the air.

Check out Turtle Drill below: