Lissa Henderson here. During my swim practices growing up, there was nothing that I dreaded more than a giant set full of freestyle drills. Well, except maybe an entire workout made up of butterfly sets. Those were the worst. 4000-6000 yards made up of 80% butterfly? No thank you.
Those dreaded drill sets just bored me to tears. If you’ve never been a pre-teen girl doing thousands of yards of drills at 4:30 am before going to school and having to actually pay attention to things (and apparently “learn”), give yourself a pat on the back, because that was the actual worst. All of those drills would never get me to my goal times and make the championship meets.
Or would they?
One thing that I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that those drills my coaches had me do over and over and over again, actually had points to them. Who knew?! And that I needed to actually be paying attention whilst doing them. Not just singing songs and thinking about how excited I was for breakfast. (My mom got up with me EVERY MORNING to make me a fried egg and cheese sandwich. That woman is a saint).
Each of the drills your coaches have you do has a point, and a purpose. And they are there to help you build a proper foundation for your swimming. And that proper foundation? That’s what is going to keep you injury free. And the reasons you have to keep going back to them? So you can stay injury free.
Swimming can be monotonous. Trust me, I’m aware. However, you need to focus on your stroke. And you need to focus on the drills.
Doing so will help you make changes to your stroke faster and understand why you’re making those changes. And all of this will lead to a stronger, safer, and more efficient stroke.
So the next time you head to the pool and see a laundry list of freestyle drills, don’t start singing the songs to Grease and day-dreaming about what you’d want to eat if they figured out how to take the calories out of food (I can dream can’t I?). Instead, focus on each drill, take your time, and try not to fall asleep in the water.
The more you focus, the more you’ll want to practice these drills over and over. Because you know what happens when you focus? Progress. Progress happens!