Tri/Life Balance


Welcome to Drill Deck! Your favorite new swim training tool. 


Drill Deck Rules

Drill Deck is a versatile product, which is a fancy way of saying there are no real rules. We do have a few suggestions, but you do you. 

Drill Deck At Its Best

  1. Roll the dice to determine the set.
  2. The activity die decides if you’re doing laps or drills. L means laps, performed normally or with a pull buoy. The DD logo means you should draw a card from the drill deck.
  3. If performing a drill, read the card thoroughly to ensure that you understand the action. Check the tips section
    for optimal performance.
  4. The number die determines how many laps of the activity to perform.

*The laps vs lengths question is mostly a personal one and can depend on the difficulty of the drill, the skill level of the athlete, and the allotted time of the workout. Some drills recommend they be performed as lengths, because of their difficulty. Advanced athletes can ignore this suggestion.

Traditional Workout with Drill Deck Skills

For this variation, you will not need the activity die. Based on your total time or distance goal, break your set up as follows:

Skills Only Workout

Sometimes you need to fix a broken thing. If you've got a particular weakness in your form and would like to dedicate an entire workout to it, this is how you do that. For this variation, you do not need the activity die.

  1. Pull out all of the cards corresponding to the skill you stink at (breathing, stroke, kick, etc).
  2. Using just those cards, roll the die to determine laps or lengths.
  3. Cycle through each of these cards, or as many as time allots.
  4. It is a good idea to include a warm up and warm down set of at least 100m before and after this workout.

This is a fun way to suffer improve on a weak area. 

Keeping Score

The game can be played as a solo game or with a training buddy.


Scoring takes place over two workout sessions. Each session, subtract the number of drills performed from your overall average time per 100m/y. This is your score. 

Solo Winning

A lower score on the second session wins. 

Buddy Winning

The lower score in a single session wins.

Glossary of Terms

If you are newish to triathlon or to swimming and don't know what all those gobbly gook words in the cards and directions mean, look no further. We've got your back:

Body Position
Where your body sits in the water as you swim. You want it to be high and horizontal, close to the surface. If your legs and hips are way below the surface, you'll create lots of drag. 

Body Rotation or Body Roll
Rotation of the body along your spine while you swim. Should be 45-60°. 

The start of the stroke right after hand entry where you "grab" the water and move your hand backward. The most difficult part of the stroke.

How far you swim. Usually measured in yards or meters and varies based on workout or triathlon distance type. Sprint varies, but is generally ¼ mile or 300-500 yards. Olympic or International Distance Triathlon: 1,500 meters or 1640 yards. Half Iron Distance or Long Course Triathlon: 1.2 miles, 2112 yards, or 1900 meters. Iron Distance Triathlon: 2.4 miles, 4224 yards, or 3,800 meters.

Friction created by poor kicking rhythm or poor body position that slows you down in the water. 

Exercises you perform in the water to practice specific aspects of the swim style. Often performed immediately after warm-up during training.

Large rubber flippers that go on your feet. Sometimes used in swim training.

Also called "front crawl." The fastest swim stroke and most often used by triathletes. Characterized by five distinct phases of alternate arm strokes that include hand entry, catch, pull, push, and recovery. Aided by an alternate flutter kick. 

Pausing in your stroke while on your side with one arm extended in front of you to get more distance out of your stroke.

Kick Board
A flotation device used during training.

Down and back (2 lengths) of the pool. 

From one end of the pool to the other, regardless of distance.

Open Water
An outdoor body of water (not a pool) such as an ocean, bay, river, or lake.

The middle underwater part of the freestyle stroke. Starts just in front of the head and continues until about your hips. Power should come from your core during this phase.

Pull Buoy
A flotation device placed between the thighs during training. Helps keep hips up when focusing on swim stroke.

The last - and most powerful - underwater part of the freestyle swim stroke. From where your arm is perpendicular to the pool bottom until your hand touches your thigh (which it should be doing.) 

The part of the freestyle swim stroke where your arm is out of the water.  

All or a portion of a swim workout, usually defined by time or distance. Often each set will have a different focus or training challenge. (Example: Warm-up Set: 4 x 50, Main Set: 4 x 400 Warm-down Set: 4 x 50)

Lifting your head to see where you are going. Necessary for open water swimming. 

Typically used in reference to negative splits, which is the goal of each lap being faster than the previous.

Body positioning for minimal drag. Allows you to hold speed longer off the wall. 

The arm movement portion of your swim technique. In freestyle, it is characterized by five distinct phases including hand entry, catch, pull, push, and recovery.

Stroke Length
How far you travel for each stroke. For the most part, a long stroke is a good thing. Measured by counting number of strokes (both arms) it takes to swim a length.

Stroke Rate
How fast or slow it takes you turn over your stroke between arms.

"Superman" Position
In a horizontal position, place one arm by your side while the other is extended in front, bicep to ear. 

Yard or Meter. American pools are typically 25 yards. Pools described as long course is typically 50 meters. Regardless, one length there and back is considered a lap.