After spending time with Cullen Jones, we saw some real power in freestyle. It wasn't so much the focus on early vertical forearm, but rather, about producing power.
Why Do It:
This drill isn't for everyone, and if you have shoulder problems, or are too small, chances are this isn't for you. If you're a big, strong, swimmer, however, and can find boards small enough to work, this will tire you out, show you what real power at the front of the stroke feels like, and has a side benefit of really working the legs.
How to Do It:
1. Grab a couple small kickboards. They should be just long enough so that they extend just past your elbows.
2. Grab the board at the top and line it up along your forearm.
3. Swim freestyle without dropping the board. That's it.
4. Vary the distance, but generally, nothing more than 100 meters.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Control the board, don't let it control you. Push the board forward and just under the surface rather than allowing it to float. You'll also need to keep a constant kick going because the boards want to pop up in the front, forcing the feet to drop. The constant kick is one of those hidden aspects of this drill that the swimmer won't notice at first... but the coach will.