What is a drill?

After the 70.3 World Championships, I received a number of enquiries about our training methods. This included the usual chestnut about drills:
'I have been told you don’t believe in drills'.....

I must say that in a linguistic sense, there are times that I have publicly stated 'we don’t do drills'. So I thought as we organise our training squads for the 2019 season, I would ponder what is a drill? 

- An instruction or teaching aid
- Disciplined set of exercises
- Repetitive movements to develop a skill

When one looks at a drill from this perspective, then I’m totally wrong in my assumption that we do not do drills. In fact our whole program is designed around drills. If we consider swimming using the above criteria, then 75% of our work in the pool is drills.

When one uses a pull buoy it is to emphasize a stroke and enhance a movement. To use a band in certain circumstances is also to facilitate another stroke enhancement. A paddle produces repetitious movements that can positively effect change of stroke misalignment, and can also be a drill for strength enhancement.
With this view, then running hill reps is indeed a drill, as it is reinforcing a stride enhancement with repetitive discipline.

We could go on and list out every training mechanism we use, however lets not lose sight of the lesson of this blog:
Drills are only effective if they improve an aspect of your technique that will enhance your performance.

So first, you need to make sure you know what you are trying to achieve with a particular drill.  Will the drill affect other aspects of the stoke, stride or motion negatively? At Trisutto we focus totally on what assists in the overall performance for a triathlon. This is over looked in so many programs.

Is there the possibility that some drills for one discipline may negatively affect the other disciplines? Absolutely.
Can a drill that is practiced very lightly, have a detrimental effect on performance? Of course.

If one decides on a drill to change an aspect of a stroke stride or motion but don't do it enough to change the motor neural facilitation to that of the new movements, one can very often find themselves stuck in 'no persons land'. That is to have done enough drill to effect a partial change of their original movements, but not enough to introduce the new movement as the automatic go to movement. I see so many athletes caught in this negative trap.

So while now one can’t pass a level one coaching course anywhere in the world without documenting certain 'correct' drills to facilitate the 'perfect stride, stroke or motion' for those Trisutto members, and anyone that has performance as their first priority, be very aware of two points:

- While everyone champions how important drills are to your improvement, let me be the voice of reason. Drills can be an absolute performance killer.
- At Trisutto, if we use the dictionary definition, we do more drills than any squad on the planet

Join Home of Triathlon and Trisutto Head Coach Brett Sutton at his next training camp in and in Cyprus, November, 2018.