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by Kerry O Brien

August 31, 2009

Focuses on hip rotation

This drill, provided by Kerry O'Brien was so popular in a newsletter distributed earlier this spring, that we have decided to post it for our entire membership. The drill focuses on hip rotation and suggests the "board wag" to ensure enough rotation of the hips.

Using a kickboard as a pull buoy has its challenges as far as keeping it in place. But it can also provide a very useful tool for both swimmer and coach to draw attention to the need for hip rotation on both freestyle and backstroke stroke mechanics. The idea is to position the board long-ways, so that part of the board is underwater and part sticks up like a shark fin. The part of the board underneath creates a resistant force that requires more hip drive into the hand entry. Swimmers will feel the pressure immediately, and coaches can see these boards wagging in the air as their swimmers focus on hip rotation. After a few laps of “Board Wag,” remove the kickboard, and the added effort that was required before is now transferred into a hip-driven entry that also creates more core force through the power phase of the arm cycle. We have found it to be beneficial to limit the “Board Wag” to single laps (be they 25 yards or 50 meters), as turns will often launch the board airborne, or what we refer to as “popping toast.” Wag your way to a more rotational long-axis stroke!


  • Technique and Training


  • Pull Buoys
  • Kickboards
  • Drills