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How to increase your feel for the water for front crawl in the catch and pull phases!

Long doggie paddle swim drill

Doggie paddle is an excellent swim drill to do, and you should do this all in slow motion to achieve the greatest benefit! Your muscles will learn much better on a neuro muscular level how to move, and by doing it slower, you'll be able to maintain perfect technique


  • Enhanced feel for the water

  • Catch phase mechanics

  • Achieving an early vertical forearm

  • Gliding for a better entry and no bubbles

  • A stronger more controlled push phase

One arm at a time, underwater, and from the top of the stroke, bend your arm into an early vertical forearm. Do this with your elbow bent to 90 degrees, and your hand tracking from your shoulder to hip joint slightly under your body. To recover, reverse this motion by sliding your palm up and into towards your body, and extending forwards twisting your hand palm down into the glide as your recover under your trunk. Reach into the glide so that your hips rotate a bit. Repeat on the other side.

You do this in 2 ways:

(1) When Reaching - reach firmly and very straight to cut water around you cleanly, and

(2) when Recovering - Slowly sliding your hand back to the front so as not to incur any major drag. Keep your palm facing in towards your body and close

Note the Head stays Down, and simply Rotates to Breathe. Note also how the recovering-arm almost 'catches up' to the front-arm before you pull

This drill aims to teach you an awareness of streamlining and how to cut drag out of the equation.

Swim 4x50m as 25 long dog paddle, 25m normal front crawl. 10 seconds rest.

To find out which areas of your stroke need correcting, and which drills are best for you book a series of Pool based 1-2-1 front crawl lessons. based in and around the Guildford area.

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