As requested by one of my Facebook followers, Danielle, here is a post on some support drills to improve technique and height. If you have any requests let me know.
1. Support Scull with water bottles.
You want to get two empty water bottles and keep the lids. Place the bottles under the arm close to the arm pit. Then have the swimmers flip upside down and support scull. I love this drill for a few reasons. First, the swimmer knows instantly if their elbows are moving when they support scull because they lose the bottles. Secondly, the swimmers can focus on what the hands are doing. In the video I posted the swimmer needs to think about sculling closer to the surface. It’s easier to think about one correction than several.
It can be hard for younger swimmers to get upside down with the bottles under their arms. They may need some help. Also, try the swimmers in positions that are easy to balance like fishtail or split. This drill is meant to train technique first. Once technique is correct then you can train for height.
2. Sculling Sets
Like any other skill you train you need to have a plan to improve sculling. You should plan to train support scull at every practice during the preparation phase of the season. I like to call these endurance sculling sets. I want my swimmers to build endurance in their arms so they can push for height at the end of long figures at a competition.
Here is an example of one of my endurance sets:
- 2x each leg Bent knee for 5 SS
- 2x each leg fishtail for 5 SS- bottom leg on wall
- 2x each leg knight for 5 SS- bottom leg on wall
- 2x vertical for 5 SS
- 2x each leg Bent knee for 10 SS
- 2x each leg fishtail for 10 SS- bottom leg on wall
- 2x each leg knight for 10 SS- bottom leg on wall
- 2x vertical for 10 SS
- 2x each leg Bent knee for1 5 SS
- 2x each leg fishtail for 15 SS- bottom leg on wall
- 2x each leg knight for 15 SS- bottom leg on wall
- 2x vertical for 15 SS
I would keep the set the same for at least a week then increase the sculls by 2-5 sculls.
The swimmers need to scull for the full number of sculls. If they can’t then the set is too hard. For more experienced swimmers, this set is too easy. A few years ago I saw the top Russian duet scull for 50 sculls at high thigh then full twist continuous spin. For elite older swimmers aim for 50 sculls at max height as a goal. Make a progressive to get there.
3. Partner Pulls
One swimmer goes in a position like fishtail and sculls. The partner goes behind them and tries to pull them underwater by holding their hips. Make sure the puller does not pull too hard. You want the swimmer on top work hard, but not fail completely. Then after about 4x 5-10 sculls the swimmer does the fishtail by themselves. One their own the swimmer should feel light and that it is easier to get height.
The reason a drill like this helps the swimmers get height is that they are forced to grab and use the water to get height or they will lose to their partner. Most swimmers do not grab the water and use it to get height.
Do you have any favourite support drills? Post them on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheOnlineSynchroCoach