Drills To Improve Front Crawl

Simple to understand and easy to follow...

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The best drills to improve front crawl are ones that have the biggest effect on your technique.  Listed below are some of the most basic exercises for learning and improving front crawl technique.  

These drills are taken from my book 'How To Swim Front Crawl' and they break down the stroke into it's component parts, making learning and fine-tuning it a simple process. 

Drill 1: Body Position

Push and Glide from Standing

Front crawl drill to improve body position

Aim: to develop correct body position and shape when moving through the water. 

The swimmer can start with arms stretched out in front and pushes off from the pool floor or from the wall with one foot and glides through the water unaided.

Key Actions

  • Relax
  • Keep the head tucked between the arms
  • Stretch out as far as you can
  • Keep your feet together

 Technical Focus

  • Head is central and still
  • Face is submerged
  • Eyes are looking downwards
  • Shoulders should be level
  • Hips are close to the surface
  • Legs are together and in line with the body

 Common Faults

  • Failure to submerge the face
  • Head is not central
  • Whole body is not remaining straight
  • Feet and hands are not together

Drill 2: Leg Kick

Kicking with Float Held in Front

front crawl kicking drill

Aim: to practice and learn correct kicking technique. 

Holding a float or kickboard out in front isolates the legs, encourages correct body position and develops leg strength. 

Key Actions

  • Kick with pointed toes
  • Make a small splash with your toes
  • Kick with floppy feet
  • Legs kick close together

Technical Focus

  • Kick comes from the hip
  • Kick is continuous and alternating.
  • Legs are close together when they kick
  • Ankles are relaxed and the toes are pointed.
  • Kick should just break the water surface.

Common Faults

  • Knees bend too much
  • Feet come out of the water
  • Kick comes from the knee
  • Legs are too deep in the water

Drill 3: Arm Pull

Single Arm practice with a Float

front crawl arm technique drills

Aim: to practise and improve correct arm technique 

This practice allows the swimmer to develop arm technique whilst maintaining body position and leg kick.  Holding a float with one hand gives the weaker swimmer security and allows the competent swimmer to focus on a single arm.

Key Actions

  • Keep your fingers together
  • Brush your hand past your thigh
  • Pull fast under the water
  • Elbow out first
  • Reach over the water surface

Technical Focus

  • Fingertips enter first with thumb side down
  • Fingers should be together
  • Pull should be an elongated ‘S’ shape
  • Pull through to the hips
  • Elbow exits the water first
  • Fingers clear the water on recovery

Common Faults

  • Fingers are apart
  • Pull is short and not to the thigh
  • Lack of power in the pull
  • Arm pull is too deep underwater
  • Arms are too straight on recovery

Need More Drills To Improve Front Crawl? 

Download a full set of 22 basic drills to improve front crawl, covering body position, leg kick, arm pull, breathing and timing and coordination. 

'How To Swim Front Crawl' will have you swimming with smooth and efficient technique.  Click below to download or click here for more information.

Basic drills for learning how to swim front crawl
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