How do you push more water behind you and swim faster with less effort?
Simply put by maintaining a positive palm pitch with your hand underwater.
Maintain your hand position as pointing backwards from the entry, through the catch pull and push phases (all underwater) with your palm facing and pointing backwards at a constant angle to the back of the pool.
Finis Agility palm paddles
Finis Sculling paddles
Zone 3 Finger catch paddles
This aids in pulling the water evenly back without slipping or changes the pitch of your hand. Think of Newtons 3rd law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Why is this so important?
If your hand points inwards, outward, laterally or medially then you’ll be pushing water in that direction and not backwards. You'll lose the pressure on the water, and there will be a counter acting motion, e.g. legs swaying, body fish tailing or legs scissor kicking. Pointing your hand backwards in the stroke helps move you forwards.
Understanding how to develop a feel for the water and improve your catch
Have you ever swum upstream in a river and found it really hard work? When this happens your body is moving in the opposite direction to the water. You're trying to create a good purchase on the water by "reaching over a barrel" with your arm, but the water slips through the water too fast. Compare this to swimming with the current and how much faster you swim! You manage to hold onto much more water and push more behind you helping you travel further and faster!
So how can you swim faster?
By increasing the amount of water you can push behind you = improved Distance Per Stroke
By finding still water you maintain a greater purchase on it. This is achieved by rotating on a long axis with an early vertical forearm position. By keeping your hand pointing backwards in the stroke underwater without any deviation in pitch left or right, you'll effectively be finding still water as you rotate.
By having a slower catch and faster push phases
Maintaining a positive palm pitch hand position - using finger catch paddles
Some technique drills to help you improve the feel for the water are:
1. Sculling window wipers
2. O ring
3. Alternating fists drill
4. Single arm unco drill
5. Single arm fists and pull with buoy
Using the following pieces of swim equipment will help you dramatically improve your Early Vertical Forearm
• Forearm fulcrums
• Freestyler paddles
• Agility paddles
• Catch paddles
Early Vertical Forearm Goals
1. Push more water behind you
2. Achieve a 90 -100 degree elbow bend
3. An early high elbow catch to set up
4. Reaching over a barrel
In this video you can see the difference between Haydn Woolley (left) and Roland Townson (right) in terms of catching the water and how much they are bending their elbows to gain more purchase on the water.
To perform the Early Vertical Forearm technique for maximum effect you will need to be:
• Gliding and rotating upon entry into the water to engage your core muscles
• Holding your lead arm high in the water prior to bending
• Bending your lead arm with your upper arm and elbow staying high
• Move your elbow forwards prior to pulling it back keeping it high in the water
• Utilise the palm and forearm as one paddle maintaining a 15 degree angle in the wrist
• Keep the palm of your hand pointing to the back of the pool throughout the stroke
Whilst not doing these:
1. Dropping your elbow in the catch phase
2. Allowing the pitch and rotation element of your hand and forearm to change
3. Your hands tracking too wide
4. Hands crossing over the midline of your body
5. Allowing your lead arm to drop before first bending your elbow
To find out what you need to correct and improve in your front crawl stroke book onto our Intermediate level swim analysis clinic a Tribal Multisport & Performance on Sunday 21st July 2019
Client testimonal: Kay - "I highly recommend the video analysis with Nick de Meyer who is an excellent coach. I have greatly improved my stroke and times thanks to Nick."
Click below but be fast!
Book now to avoid disappointment! Limited to 6 places only!
If you can't make this date then we also do:
1-2-1 Swim video analysis lessons in the endless pool at Tribal in Chertsey, Surrey, KT16 9NH https://www.speedyswimming.co.uk/swimvideoanalysis
1-2-1 Private swim lessons at Guildford Lido https://www.speedyswimming.co.uk/swim-lessons
Fitness and Technique Squad group swim lessons at Aldershot 50 metre indoor pool https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/introductory-offer-fitness-technique-squad-tickets-62081060122