Freestyle drills and skills

close up of young boy with goggles swimming freestyle in public swimming pool 

As a core stroke, freestyle is taught early on during swimming lessons. Because it is one of the fastest strokes and can be quite tiring, teaching the correct technique is very important.

When teaching the freestyle stroke, break down the stroke and introduce each basic component of BLAB (Body position, Legs, Arms, Breathing). It is important to work through these in order, as it is difficult for students to work on breathing with an incorrect body position, for example.

Below are some drills that can be used when teaching freestyle:

• Torpedo kicking, with or without board

Arms extended out in front locking in the head, eyes down, breathing out and flutter kick. You may need to remind students to keep their eyes down with their chin near their chest to maintain a streamlined position.

• Kicking and freestyle breathing with board

One arm extended holding on to board, eyes down, exhaling and kicking the whole time. Kicks should start from the tops of the legs and feet should be pointed. When needed, student rolls head out to the side to breathe before rolling head back below the water. Swap the extended arm with each lap.

• One-arm freestyle with board

Extension of previous drill. With one arm extended holding on to board and kicking, students add in one-arm recovery with their other arm while practising breathing. Swap arms with each lap.

• Extended arm freestyle

While completing the full freestyle stroke, encourage students to extend their arms as far as they can as their hand enters the water. This helps to create a smoother stroke and prevents students from aiming their hands down on entry. 

• High elbows

Encourage students to keep their elbows as high as they can during the water recovery phase of their arm action.

• Fingertip drag

Encourage students to drag their fingertips along the water during water recovery, helping to promote a high elbow.

More information about the freestyle stroke can be found in the Swimming & Lifesaving Manual as well as the AUSTSWIM Teaching Swimming and Water Safety Manual.



Why you should update your CPR skills.

image of two hands performing cpr

Research shows a person's skills in CPR decrease by 50% after just two months if they haven't practised the skill. Update your CPR certificate now!

Explore more button

 Magnifying glass icon

Looking for a new job? 

If you’re searching for a job in the WA aquatic recreation industry, the Royal Life Saving Job Board can help you find a position.

Join now button