The below video is of one of our coaches Phil Murphy at a recent flume pool session with swim specialist Chris Malpass at ucanswim.
As you will see in the “before” video his left arm is dropping far too low causing him to rotate too much to breathe. After only a few minutes of correcting by Chris Malpass, you can see the huge improvement in his technique. The arm dropping too low also casuses the feet to kick out to the side which you can also see on the “before” video. Once the arm is corrected the feet stay in line behind the body which you can see in the “after” video.
If your arm drops too much when stretching forward, it will add to resistance, limit your ability to catch the water and ultimately stop you from increasing speed. It can also lead to other faults such as your legs kicking out, which are only doing that to try and balance out your stroke.
It’s key that once you’ve stretched your hand forward and then start to pull back, that you pull or “catch” from the surface of the water.
It means that you’re initiating your underwater phase of your stroke as early as possible, so will then get a better start to making you move forwards through the water. Start by tipping your hand down, then move your hand down, keeping your elbow high (pretend you’re trying to pull yourself over something). Then keep your elbow high and carry on pulling down and then backwards under the water. You will find if you’re doing it properly, your shoulders and lats will start to ache!
Catch up is a good drill for this, as it makes you keep your arm up high before you then start the catch and arm pull down. It’s quite an easy one to fix; it just needs some concentration and time spent on it.
Another really nice drill for this is to stretch one arm out (let’s say left for now) and roll your body onto that side whilst kicking your legs (use fins to make it easier to start with). Keep your arm up high so it’s just under the surface of the water, with your head resting on your arm, almost as if you’re breathing. It will really help to get muscle memory for keeping your arm up. You could do 10 kicks on one side, then 10 kicks on the other side repeatedly, doing a stroke to swap in between sets of 10 kicks. It works really well.
TTT organise regular training sessions with ucanswim so if you would like to book yourself in to one of our flume pool sessions then please contact us and we will let you know when our next one is. Cost is £30 for 30 mins, £45 for 45 mins including video analysis.