I cringe whenever I see DPS on workouts and hate it when coaches write it up on the master’s swim whiteboard and expect everyone to know exactly how to do it. DPS is such a good drill and focus that it is a shame to see it become so corrupted. When swimmers see DPS, they immediately think, “Oh, that means that I should just extend my arm more and glide more.” While you will go farther doing this, you are making two critical errors.
Firstly, by extending through your shoulders. You are not only straining your shoulders, you are also not reaching as far as you could. The key to DPS is understanding that it is primarily a rotational drill. To extend to your fullest, you should rotate your hips while extending forward. By doing so, you will get at least two inches farther and thus have a more efficient stroke.
Secondly, swimmers like to glide because they feel that they will get the most distance. When you glide however, you are slowing down and creating a dead zone in front of you. If you are in a strong current, you will actually move backwards. When practicing DPS, therefore, do not slow down and glide. Instead after rotating and extending, immediately start your quick high elbow pull and drive forward rotating and extending with the other hip. Then repeat the catch and pull on the other side. Your hands should almost always be in motion.
Next time you see DPS on your workout be sure to (a) extend through rotation and (b) don’t glide. By emphasizing those two points, you will be faster and more efficient for it.