Roll to the Sides is a freestyle swim stroke drill where you practice maintaining your balance while having one or both arms extended forward and rolling from a downward position to a sideward position:

Maintaining good balance while rolling from side to side is important because ideally you should roll from side to side with each arm stroke in freestyle to improve propulsion.

Note: This drill belongs to an older sequence of swimming drills to learn the freestyle stroke. Please consult the Learn How To Swim The Freestyle Stroke article to read about our current sequence of swimming drills.

Swimming Drill Instructions

  • As previously, float in a prone position (face down), your head being aligned with your trunk.
  • A relaxed flutter kick will help keep your legs up and will provide propulsion.
  • Extend both arms forward, one hand resting on top of the other.
  • When you feel that your balance is good, sweep one of your arms backward as you would do when swimming freestyle.
  • Roll your hips out of the way of the sweeping hand when it arrives at that level. As a result your whole body rolls on the side.
  • Roll your head a little bit further so that your face is now turned upward. Your back-sweeping arm should now be completely extended and resting on your thigh. Take a few moments to breathe in this position.
  • Once you have taken a few breaths and adjusted your balance, roll back downward into the initial position, head and chest facing downward. Simultaneously recover your active arm forward.
  • Take a few moments to adjust your balance, then start again.
  • Alternate lengths where you roll toward the left side and lengths where you roll toward the right side.

Some tips

  • If you notice that your hips and legs drop down while rolling on the side, make sure that you don’t start to roll before your backward sweeping hand has moved past your head.
  • While floating on your side, make sure to apply downward pressure onto your head and bottom shoulder to keep your hips and legs up.

Pin It on Pinterest