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Fine-Tune Freestyle

Glide Paddle: Correct Crossover and S-Stroking in Power Phase

  • Freestyle should have a straight pull through the power phase
  • The stroke should follow directly from above the shoulder and down the thigh
  • Crossing over the center line of the body will reduce power and body balance
  • S-Stroking outside the shoulder looses power
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self Analysis): 
  • Feel the paddle move side-to-side in hand when crossing over
  • Watch for overcompensation by grabbing paddle with thumb/forefinger
  • Swimmers may complain that the paddle twists

 

Glide Paddle: Correct Outsweep When Breathing

  • Swimmers commonly overcompensate when breathing by pushing out with their opposite hand
  • This sets up the catch from outside the shoulder line
  • This can also strain the shoulders over time
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self Analysis):
  • Feel your hand setting up the catch outside the shoulder when breathing to favorite side
  • Watch for this problem to connect with their ‘favorite’ breathing side
  • Best to watch this from head-on video above the water if using video
  • Best to correct this with the Glide paddle, single arm freestyle, non-stroking arm down

 

Glide Paddle: Helps Ensure Full Outsweep

 

  • A full stroke should continue with a ‘push’ at the thigh
  • Don’t lift the elbow until the arm extends fully back
  • If the arms lifts too soon it will try to pull the back of the Glide paddle over the base of the hand
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self Analysis):
  • You will feel the Glide Paddle come off or pinch the strap on your finger
  • Be sure you elbow is straight  before you lift the elbow out of the water
  • The wrist should bend backwards to complete the ‘push’ phase of the stroke
  • If using the finger strap, they will complain that the paddle ‘hurts’ when they outsweep

 

Glide Paddle: Mix and Match Glide and Precision to fix Multiple Problems Together

  • Instead of doing 50 yards of each drill variation, choose between Glide and Precision to solve each problem
  • Mix and Match the Glide in 1 hand and Precision in the other hand
  • Use the Glide in the hand that has side-to-side problems, the Precision for dropped elbow, laying on arm, …
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self Analysis):                             
  • Feel the response from each paddle and make the corrections needed through the stroke
  • First identify each swimmer’s individual technique problems
  • Combine different similar drills (such as single arm free with arm up or down) with different paddles

 

Touch Paddle: Helps Ensure Full Outsweep

  • A full stroke should continue with a ‘push’ at the thigh
  • Don’t lift the elbow until the arm extends fully back
  • If the arm lifts too soon it will try to pull the back of the paddle off the base of the hand
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • You will feel the Paddle come off or pinch the strap on your finger
  • Be sure you elbow is straight before you lift the elbow out of the water
  • The wrist should bend backwards to complete the ‘push’ phase of the stroke
  • Coaches – swimmers may complain that the paddle hurts when outsweeping (if they are leading with elbow)

 

Touch Paddle: Improve Hand Entry

  • The Touch Paddle makes the swimmers more aware of the hand pitch
  • The Touch also helps the swimmer more aware of the angle of entry
  • Drills such as Stun Gun Drill and Zipper Drill can help add focus on hand entry
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • Most any paddle will allow you to (incorrectly) ‘slap’ the water on entry… you have to fix this
  • Keep your elbow UP as the hand enters the water and FEEL your fingers press into the catch first

 

Touch Paddle: Improve Outsweep ‘Push’ phase of Freestyle

  • It is important to break the wrist backward to ‘push’ water at (or below) the hips
  • Drills such as ‘Catch up at thighs’ with Touch Paddles can help train to bend the wrist back
  • Single arm stroke drills (with opposite hand up) with the Touch Paddle can also train the wrist
  • 6-Kick Switch drill (stroke after each 6 kicks)  is a great drill to focus on a strong outsweep
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • You may have been trained a ‘locked wrist’ on your outsweep so this can be hard to change
  • Practice small distances of ‘pushing’ with the wrist bending backwards to get the FEEL
  • Your elbow should be straight as you finish the stroke at your thigh, with the wrist back

 

Precision Paddle: Corrects Dropped Elbow on Catch:

  • The back of paddle is open to catch water when dropping the elbow on the catch (paddle moves off hand)
  • As the paddle moves off the hand, the ridge on the T-grip can be squeezed to hold paddle for small flaws
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • As the paddle moves off the hand, the ridge on the T-grip can be squeezed to hold paddle for small flaws
  • Focus on driving the tips of the fingers down, while keep the elbow close to the water surface
  • Watch for overcompensation by grabbing paddle with thumb/forefinger
  • Pay close attention to WHEN the paddle moves off the hand (often the first problem is the outsweep)

 

Precision Paddle: Corrects ‘Laying on Forearm’ When Breathing:

  • A habit that develops early for many swimmers is to bend their arm and ‘lay’ on their arm when breathing
  • This often only occurs on the swimmer’s ‘favorite’ breathing side (not always both sides)
  • The worst part of this is that it sets up the stroke with a ‘dropped elbow’ since the arm is bent
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • If the lead arm is bent when breathing, you are ‘laying’ on your forearm to breath on that side
  • You will FEEL the paddle wanting to move off your hand on such a breathing stroke because you are leading with the elbow on that next stroke
  • Pay close attention to which stroke you are having problems with and which arm to identify such problems.

 

Precision Paddle: Corrects ‘Leading with Elbow’ on Outsweep:

  • A common problem is not fully finishing each stroke on freestyle
  • The wrist should bend back and ‘push’ the water directly under or beside the thigh
  • This should finish with a straight elbow before the body rotates and the arm is remove by ‘lifting’ the elbow
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • The first problem you FEEL will most likely be as you remove the hand from the water
  • Do you FEEL your elbow straight before the arm exits the water?
  • Does your wrist ‘hold the water’ longer by bending the wrist backwards beside (or under) the thigh?
  • Watch for overcompensation by grabbing paddle with thumb/forefinger (or wrapping fingers over the front)

 

Precision Paddle: Mix and Match Precision and Glide to fix Multiple Problems Together

 

  • Instead of doing 50 yards of each drill variation, choose between Glide and Precision to solve each problem
  • Mix and Match the Glide in 1 hand and Precision in the other hand
  • Use the Glide in the hand that has side-to-side problems, the Precision for dropped elbow, laying on arm, …
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • Feel the response from each paddle and make the corrections needed through the stroke
  • First identify each swimmer’s individual technique problems
  • Combine different similar drills (such as single arm free with arm up or down) with different paddles

 

Precise Paddle: Perfects SLIGHT Dropped Elbow on Catch:

  • The back of paddle is open to catch water when dropping the elbow on the catch (paddle moves off hand)
  • As the paddle moves off the hand, the ridge on the T-grip can be squeezed to hold paddle for small flaws
  • The Precise is NOT a Junior Paddle… it is MORE sensitive to the catch than the Precision paddle!
  • Use the Precise for sculling and ‘initial catch’ drills to fine tune even the slightest dropped elbow
  • (but start with the Precision for obvious problems)
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • As the paddle moves off the hand, the ridge on the T-grip can be squeezed to hold paddle for small flaws
  • Focus on driving the tips of the fingers down, while keep the elbow close to the water surface
  • Watch for overcompensation by grabbing paddle with thumb/forefinger
  • Pay close attention to WHEN the paddle moves off the hand (often the first problem is the outsweep)

 

Precise Paddle: Mix and Match Precise and Glide to fix Multiple Problems Together

  • Instead of doing 50 yards of each drill variation, choose between Glide and Precise to solve each problem
  • Mix and Match the Glide in 1 hand and Precise in the other hand
  • (Again start with the Precision for obvious dropped elbow problems not the Precise)
  • Use the Glide in the hand that has side-to-side problems, the Precise to prefect a good catch into a great catch
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • Feel the response from each paddle and make the corrections needed through the stroke
  • First identify each swimmer’s individual technique problems
  • Combine different similar drills (such as single arm free with arm up or down) with different paddles

 

EVF Kit: Correct Straight Arm Engagement (no elbow bend)

  • The Power Pad on the wrist will place pressure on the wrist, while the paddle displaces pressure the hand
  • This same function can be done by combining the Precision Paddle, Wrist Trainer, and Power Pad
  • Single Arm drills can help swimmers feel this paddle and bend their elbow
Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):
  • This paddle set will FEEL like reaching over the lane line to stroke
  • Be sure to FEEL your elbow bending immediately after your press down with your fingertips

Power Bags: On Feet
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  • Kick at the surface with power
  • Reduce knee flexing
  • Power your kick from your hips
  • Add drag for pull sets
  • Trains to hide kick on pull sets
  • Great on timed sets
  • Close the bottom strap for harder workout

Power Bags: On Forearms
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  • Power the stroke and recovery
  • Build recovery muscles and speed
  • Increase recovery speed
  • Improve ‘high elbow’ or EVF Catch

Power Bags: On Kickboard (Note only the PB40 size fits on Kickboards, not PB25)
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  • Slide a Power Bag over the nose of most standard kickboards (tighten straps as needed)
  • Leave front of bag open to add resistance to normal kicking
  • Insert a pull buoy or other items into the bag on the front for high resistance
  • Add 1 strap belt around your waist and use other strap belt to drag the kickboard behind you
  • Drag over your feet to prevent kick from breaking surface for more power
  • Drag over your thighs to prevent thighs from breaking surface when breast kicking on back

As a High Elbow Development Tool:

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  • Hold any standard pull buoy around the biceps to develop a high elbow catch
  • Ideal for swimmers struggling to learn drills such as our ‘dropped elbow drill’ to create  high elbow and forearm catch stroke
  • Simply slide  buoy into each Power Bag, then slide the arm into the bag and tighten the bag above the elbow

Wrist Trainer: Create a Higher Elbow on Freestyle Entry

  • The value of a ‘High Elbow’ Early Vertical Forearm can not be overstated for all strokes
  • While the Wrist Trainer is designed to ‘train a 20 degree wrist bend’, it also helps create an EVF catch
  • With the Glide paddle the Wrist Trainer helps create a straight path under the shoulder
  • With the Precision paddle the Wrist Trainer helps to add focus to the forearm
  • With the Touch paddle, the Wrist Trainer can improve the EVF and wrist angle while developing power

Feedback (Swimmers FEEL / Coaches SEE / Video for Self-Analysis):

  • You should FEEL your wrist bend, but not too much
  • The Wrist Trainer will make your strokes FEEL different… but different can be good!