Windmill Drill has always been one of the drills in my repertoire that I was never sure if I was doing correctly. As an adult (do you ever feel weird saying that? Like, who let me grow up?) I can definitely tell you I was 100% doing it wrong all those years on summer and club swim team. Oops? Then again, I’m pretty sure I did all drills incorrectly when I was working on them at 4am as a thirteen year old dreaming of what I would eat for breakfast as soon as I got out of the pool…
So what does Windmill Drill work on? It’s an exaggerated way of swimming that helps you fine tune your rotation and core control during freestyle. For this drill you want to rotate your hips 90 degrees while keeping your arms as straight as possible during the recovery phase. These exaggerations help you to find a balance with your rotation as well as feel how you want your body to move in the waster as your rotate to breathe.
While keeping your arms as straight as possible, make sure they’re pointing up towards the ceiling during your recovery. This movement forces your shoulder blade to glide forward, which keeps your shoulder joint from taking on the brunt of the movement and prevent shoulder pain and future injury. Once your recovering arm is in a “Y” position - just pas the point of pointing straight up - use the downward rotation of your hip to place your arm in the water. These connected movements guarantee proper timing of your stoke, which increases the efficiency of your freestyle.
Make sure that you’re focused on keeping your spine in a straight line when rotated to 90 degrees. As you rotate your hip downward to place your arm in the water, keep your spine aligned. This will help you maintain your streamline position as well as keep your hips rotating properly without bending from side to side, which can result in you swimming through the lanes like a pinball in an arcade game.
Try to make sure you’re keeping your head as still as possible during your rotation. If you let your head move during your rotation, it can often take over and end up being the movement leading your rotation - this is NOT what we want! A moving head is another way that will cause you to lose your streamline and your balance and throw off the timing of these movements.
To watch the drill in action check out our YouTube video! It goes over the movements you need to be making and you can see them in motion before trying it out for yourself.