One of the most important uses of drills is to change muscle memory. To maximize the effectiveness of drills I recommend changing your drill patterns around. No one of these methods is as effective as using all three in rotation.
- Perform the drill for a specific longer distance, usually 25 or 50 yards, consistently working on the stroke change. Then move to the next drill in the sequence for the same distance.
- Perform the drill until you feel as if you have the skill right. Once you feel you have done it correctly move to the next drill. At first, getting the skill correct will take more stroke cycles. As you get better at the skill it should take fewer cycles.
- Perform the drill in descending cycles. Do the first drill for a specific number of stroke cycles, moving on to the next drill after the specific number of stroke cycles and then the next. Once you can successfully perform each drill in the sequence, reduce the number of cycles you do before moving to the next drill in the sequence. The goal is to get to only one cycle per drill, moving quickly between skills.
Each of these works the brain and muscles differently helping foster new muscle memory. I like to use three drills in a sequence, but more or less is fine. Don’t work on more drills in a sequence than you can comfortably remember and don’t do more than five. Once you get past five you are not getting back to each skill frequently enough. To work on six items, break them into two sequences of three drills and work them separately. Keep in mind, no matter which method you are using to do drills, they don’t help if you don’t do them correctly!