Best front crawl drills for beginners

Learning the front crawl, or freestyle, is an essential skill for any beginner swimmer. It is the fastest and most efficient stroke, making it a popular choice for competitive swimmers. However, mastering the front crawl can be challenging, especially for beginners.

Fortunately, there are several drills that can help beginners improve their front crawl technique and build strength and endurance. These drills focus on different aspects of the stroke, such as body position, arm movement, and breathing.

One of the best drills for beginners is the kickboard drill. This drill involves holding a kickboard in front of you and kicking your legs while keeping your body in a horizontal position. It helps develop leg strength and proper body position in the water.

Another helpful drill is the catch-up drill. In this drill, swimmers focus on their arm movement and body rotation. They start with their arms extended in front of them and bring one arm back while the other arm stays extended until they touch hands. This drill helps swimmers coordinate their arm movement and improve their timing.

Front Crawl Drills to Help Beginners Improve Their Technique

When learning the front crawl, it is important for beginners to practice various drills that focus on improving their technique and form. These drills not only help develop proper body position, but also enhance breathing, rhythm, and efficiency in the water. Here are a few of the best front crawl drills for beginners:

1. Catch-up Drill: This drill helps beginners work on their arm placement and coordination. Start by extending one arm fully in front while keeping the other arm by your side. Begin the stroke by pulling through the water with the extended arm and then bring it back to the starting position while the other arm repeats the same motion. This drill allows beginners to focus on each arm individually and develop a smooth and coordinated stroke.

2. Kickboard Drill: Using a kickboard, beginners can isolate their leg movements and build strength in the lower body. Hold onto the kickboard with both hands and kick your legs while maintaining a streamlined body position. This drill helps improve leg strength and coordination, essential for an efficient front crawl.

3. Breathing Drill: Proper breathing technique is crucial when swimming front crawl. To practice breathing, beginners can try the one-arm drill. Start by swimming with one arm extended and the other arm by your side. Take a breath by turning your head to the side while the extended arm pulls through the water. Alternate sides with each stroke to practice breathing on both sides.

4. Finger Drag Drill: This drill is designed to improve body alignment and increase awareness of the pull phase. As you swim, intentionally drag your fingers along the water’s surface during the recovery phase of each stroke. This helps maintain a high elbow position and reinforces proper body rotation.

By incorporating these front crawl drills into their practice routine, beginners can work on specific aspects of their technique and gradually improve their overall swimming performance. Remember to start slow and focus on proper form before increasing speed and intensity.

Body Positioning Drill

The body positioning drill is a crucial exercise for beginners in front crawl swimming. This drill focuses on improving the swimmer’s body alignment and position in the water, which is essential for efficient and effective swimming.

During this drill, the swimmer lies on their stomach in the water, with their arms extended straight in front and their legs together. The goal is to maintain a horizontal and streamlined body position, with the head in line with the spine and the body parallel to the water surface. This position minimizes drag and allows for smoother movement through the water.

As the swimmer practices this drill, they should pay attention to their body alignment and make adjustments as needed. The head should be facing downwards, with the eyes looking at the pool bottom, and the neck should be relaxed. The shoulders should be relaxed and not hunched up towards the ears.

In addition, the swimmer should focus on engaging the core muscles to keep the body stable and straight. This will prevent any sinking or dipping of the hips or legs, which can create drag and slow down the swimmer. The legs should be straight and streamlined, with the toes pointed and slightly underwater.

The body positioning drill should be performed with slow and controlled movements to allow the swimmer to feel and focus on their body position in the water. By practicing this drill regularly, beginners can develop a strong foundation of proper body alignment, which will benefit their overall swimming technique and efficiency.

Kickboard Drill

The Kickboard Drill is a great exercise for beginners learning the front crawl stroke. It helps improve leg strength and proper kicking technique.

To perform this drill, start by grabbing a kickboard and holding it out in front of you with both hands. Keep your arms straight and your head aligned with your spine. Begin kicking your legs in a steady and controlled motion, focusing on generating power from your hips and keeping your toes pointed. It is important to maintain a consistent rhythm and avoid any excessive splashing or dragging of the legs.

As you kick, try to visualize yourself as a dolphin gliding through the water, using your strong leg muscles to propel you forward. Pay attention to the timing and coordination of your leg movements, ensuring that both legs are kicking simultaneously. Concentrate on maintaining a steady and fluid motion without jerking or pausing.

This drill can be done for a certain distance or as part of a warm-up routine. It is recommended to start with shorter distances and gradually increase as your leg strength and kicking technique improve. Incorporating the kickboard drill into your practice sessions regularly will not only enhance your front crawl stroke but also help build overall lower body strength.

One-Arm Drill

The One-Arm Drill is a fundamental drill for beginners learning front crawl. It focuses on developing proper arm technique and coordination. This drill allows swimmers to isolate one arm at a time, helping them to understand and improve their arm movement.

To perform the One-Arm Drill, swimmers start by extending one arm out in front of them and keeping the other arm by their side. They then engage in a swimming motion with the extended arm, focusing on maintaining a straight and relaxed arm position. By alternating arms, swimmers can develop a better understanding of the arm movement required for an effective front crawl stroke.

  • Benefits of the One-Arm Drill include:

1. Improving arm technique: By isolating one arm at a time, swimmers can focus on the correct movement and positioning of their arms in the water.

2. Enhancing coordination: The One-Arm Drill helps swimmers develop coordination between their arm movement and body rotation, as they are required to engage both arm and core muscles.

3. Strengthening muscles: This drill challenges swimmers to engage specific muscles, helping to strengthen and develop the muscles needed for an effective front crawl stroke.

By incorporating the One-Arm Drill into their training routine, beginners can improve their arm technique, coordination, and overall efficiency in front crawl swimming.

Finger Drag Drill

The Finger Drag Drill is a highly effective drill for beginners to improve their front crawl technique. This drill focuses on developing proper hand placement and arm extension during the stroke.

To perform the Finger Drag Drill, swimmers start by extending their arm in front of them, parallel to the water’s surface. They then begin the stroke by engaging their fingertips and “dragging” their hand through the water. This dragging motion helps swimmers achieve a long, smooth extension and encourages a high elbow position.

During the drill, swimmers should pay close attention to their hand position and ensure that their fingertips are the first part of their hand to enter and exit the water. This promotes a streamlined, efficient stroke and reduces the risk of “slapping” the water with the palm of the hand.

The Finger Drag Drill can be incorporated into a beginner’s swimming routine to develop a strong foundation for an effective front crawl stroke. By consistently practicing this drill, swimmers can improve their hand placement, arm extension, and overall technique, leading to smoother and faster swimming.

Catch-Up Drill

The Catch-Up Drill is a popular front crawl drill that is often used by beginners to improve their technique. This drill focuses on coordinating the movement of the arms and ensuring proper body rotation.

In the Catch-Up Drill, the swimmer begins by extending one arm forward and holding it still while the other arm completes a full stroke cycle. Once the pulling arm finishes its stroke, it “catches up” to the extended arm before the next stroke begins. This drill helps swimmers develop a smooth and balanced stroke by promoting a controlled and synchronized arm movement.

To perform the Catch-Up Drill, swimmers should concentrate on maintaining a long and streamlined body position. They should initiate the catch-up motion by reaching forward with the extended arm, keeping it in line with the shoulder. As they pull the other arm back, they should focus on using the entire arm and engaging the core muscles for better body rotation.

Swimmers can also incorporate breathing into the Catch-Up Drill by taking a breath every time the arms meet. This helps improve breath control and timing in relation to the stroke cycle. It’s important to remember to keep the head in line with the body and to exhale underwater before turning the head to breathe.

The Catch-Up Drill is a versatile drill that can be modified to suit swimmers of different skill levels. Beginners can start by performing the drill with a kickboard for added stability and gradually progress to swimming without aids. Advanced swimmers can add variations, such as increasing the distance between the arms or increasing the stroke rate, to make the drill more challenging and beneficial.

5 Best front crawl drills for beginners

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Question and answer:

What is a catch-up drill?

A catch-up drill is a swimming drill where one arm stays extended in front of the body while the other arm performs the swimming motion. The extended arm “catches up” to the other arm before switching positions.

What is the purpose of a catch-up drill?

The purpose of a catch-up drill is to help improve stroke technique and timing. It allows swimmers to focus on each arm independently and ensures that both arms are pulling through the water effectively.

How do you do a catch-up drill in swimming?

To do a catch-up drill, start by extending one arm in front of your body while the other arm performs the swimming motion. Keep one arm extended until the other arm catches up, then switch positions. Repeat this drill, focusing on proper technique and timing.

What are the benefits of doing catch-up drills?

Some benefits of doing catch-up drills include: improving stroke technique and timing, focusing on each arm individually, ensuring both arms are pulling through the water effectively, and developing upper body strength and endurance.

When should catch-up drills be performed?

Catch-up drills can be performed during swim practice or as part of a warm-up routine. They are beneficial for swimmers of all levels, from beginners to advanced, and can be included in training programs to help improve stroke efficiency.

What is a catch-up drill in swimming?

A catch-up drill is a swimming technique that involves bringing one arm all the way forward and touching the other hand before starting the next stroke. It helps swimmers improve their timing and coordination, as well as develop a longer and more powerful stroke.


In conclusion, the catch-up drill is a valuable tool for language learners to improve their listening and speaking skills. This intensive practice method allows students to focus on specific areas of weakness and work towards mastery. By using a variety of engaging and interactive exercises, teachers can create a stimulating learning environment that promotes active participation and encourages students to take risks. With consistent and dedicated practice, students can make significant progress and confidently communicate in English. The catch-up drill is a tried and tested technique that has proven to be effective in enhancing language learning, and it is a valuable resource for both teachers and students.

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Harrison Clayton

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