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Improve your front crawl catch phase mechanics with this sequence of drills

How do you improve your front crawl catch phase mechanics? Try this sequence of drills, and if you do them correctly, you'll be amazed at the improvements in your distance per stroke!!!!

The aim of this next series of drills is to teach you the catch for freestyle over 4 steps.

Catch 1: Practise kick with elbow bend

This step is purely an elbow movement with fins and paddles. Kicking on your front with your head up, and arms extended, lift the elbows alternately to the sky for a split second each. Keep repeating for the length. It helps set you up for a higher elbow catch.

Catch 2: Side kick rotating into a catch

In this drill your shoulders rotate to a flat position before the elbow has bent to its maximum level of 90 degrees. Ensure you maintain correct balance at all times. As always, the top of the head stays underwater when rotating to breathe. This step adds a core driven body rotation to the elbow bend, by starting in a side position.

Catch 3: Side kick rotating into catch

Perform the catch phase whilst rotating to a 'flat' position before allowing any pull phase motion to take place with your arm and high elbow in an early vertical forearm position.

Wait for 6-10 kicks after each breath in your side kick position before rotating into the next catch & pull. This drill will give you improved rotation and feel for the water and an enhanced awareness of your optimal catch position.

Catch 4: Six kick with correct catch

Kick on your side for 6 kicks, then with a slow recovery and high elbow, do 1 stroke and rotate to the other side to repeat. This steps adds the other arm to the sequence, as a six kick drill.

All other aspects of this drill should be correct, but your main aim is to improve your catch, and ensure it is properly timed with your rotation.

Swim these drills with fins and let us know how you get on with them.

They're a bit different, but will really help you focus on improving a lot of aspects of your front crawl including the catch, rotation and recovery phases.

Speedy Swim Squad

To learn how to improve your catch and other front crawl stroke phases sign up for our Squad Sessions at Guildford Lido.

This will be our second block of 10 sessions, starting from 10th July to 11th September 2018. ONLY 5 places left!!

This group is for intermediate level swimmers, who might have a long distance swim event coming up, half and full Ironman triathlons, the Dart 10 km or similar and sprint and Olympic distance triathletes, plus open water and masters swimmers.

Each session includes 5-10 minutes of stroke cord swim bio-mechanics on the entry, catch, pull and push phases before you swim.

Sign up here:

If you can't make the squad sessions yet are still looking to improve your front crawl technique then we also coach 121 pool based swim lessons at Guildford lido and endless video analysis in Chertsey.

Contact Nick for more information: 07958 635142, or email:

Video of Haydn Woolley from Future Dreams

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