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by Lisa Wolf

December 16, 2011

Four kickboard drills to spice up a workout

January is fast approaching and the number of swimmers at practice may grow as the triathletes reemerge from their recovery stage and swimmers with New Year's resolutions and maybe a few regulars make their way back to the pool. What's a coach to do? ... DRILL!

Here are a few kickboard drills to spice up a workout for every swimmer while addressing the needs of the January arrivals.

  • Body Position Drill #1: Hands on the end of the kickboard, arms fully extended and kickboard flat on the water. Head should be down between the arms, ears even with the arms and gentle flutter kick. Lift the head up to breath. This reestablishes the correct horizontal plane for minimal drag and combats "uphill" swimming.
  • Body position Drill #2: Repeat the same drill but one hand moves to the middle of the board, the other remains at the side. Kick gently and rotate to breathe. Heads down (ears at arms) and focus is on gentle rotation to breathe. Have your swimmers see how little of their faces they can keep out of the water, maybe only to the point past their noses. Repeat on the other side to promote bilateral breathing comfort. For weak kickers, fins may assist in finding the correct body position.
  • Backstroke Hug: Swimmers on their backs turn the kickboard upside down and hug them across their chests with their arms wrapped around them. Board is snug across the chest and stomach. The goal is to keep the head looking up at the ceiling and keep the tummy in contact with the board. Swimmers should not "sit" in the water and they should pull up their hips if they start to sink.
  • Tombstone Drill: Swimmers hold the kickboard out fully upright in front to look like a tombstone and start kicking. The goal is to keep only the minimal amount of the kickboard in the water. It is an excellent body awareness and balance drill and stresses the legs. If you have strong kickers in the group, they can rotate the kickboard onto its side for greater surface tension.


  • Technique and Training


  • Kicking
  • Flutterkick
  • Drills