When building any stroke you need to feel comfortable and balanced in the water. It's hard to swim 25 yards let alone 2500 yards if you don't want to put your head/face in the water!
Our wonderful model @brentzang is demonstrating an outstanding bodyline. Head down, shoulders and hips high, using his core to keep his feet at the surface.
To develop this body awareness and comfort you have to put your body in different positions and relax.1 exercise is great for this.
1. Octopus float: float face down and let your arms and legs sink down to the surface. Your lungs will remain relatively buoyant.... Their filled with air
2. Cannon ball float: take a breath and assume a face down cannonball position in the water. Let your lungs float you back to the top. The slowly move your limbs into a good streamline position. The slower the better! Feel balanced throughout the movement
3. Back float: the key to back float is to press your head and back to the bottom of the pool. You want your face "framed" by the water.
Once you are comfortable in the water it's time to balance. Balance is established by pushing down on the water with your body (mostly your chest) and tightening your core. If you don't balance with your body you will most likely establish balance with your arms (Like a bike kickstand). This will lead to a poor pull and possible shoulder issues.
1. Rotisserie chicken kick/ streamline kick: any board-less kick will help you develop balance in the water. Add a level of difficulty by slowly rotating your body (like a roasting chicken on a spit).
2. One arm drills: remembering to balance on your body, one arm freestyle will help develop a balanced stroke.
3. Power position glide drills: swim your normal stroke, and after 3- 5 strokes try to get into a "power" glide position. Ex. Free position is one hand up, one hand down, head down. Try to glide in the position as far and as long as you can.
The more comfortable you feel in the water the more fun swimming is. The more it is the more you will want to so it. The more you do it the better you become.
Have fun with these drills and please let me know if you have any questions! Coach Chad