Here’s a simple drill to help with the freestyle catch… with the emphasis on simple. Calling the front part of your stroke the “catch” is a bit of a misnomer as you can’t catch water. Instead, I’d prefer to refer to this freestyle catch drill more as an engagement drill; thinking about how your hands and forearms engage on the water.
Why Do It:
Learning the FIRST move in the freestyle catch is easier than you think… as long as you slow down, and think small. If you get a good contact on the water early, you can already have the body accelerating by the time the larger muscles of the lats kick in to propel you forward. A large majority of swimmers AND triathletes miss the first couple of feet of their propulsive phase.
How to Do It:
1. Start in a streamlined position on your front – arms outstretched, kicking gently.
2. With one of your arms, very softly, angle the fingers and forearm down slightly pressing on the water.
3. Bring the hand back to position 11, and repeat.
4. Take a full stroke of freestyle back to streamline.
5. Repeat on the opposite side.
6. Move forward to slow freestyle swimming, trying to maintain the pressure on the water during your stroke.
How to Do It Really well (the Fine Points):
The simplest point to keep in mind is this: Keep the elbow in touch with the surface of the water as you angle the fingers and forearm down. You’re trying to move the arm ONLY from the elbow forward.
Take your time with learning this – as with any skill. The point is that drills are there to make you smoother, stronger, more efficient. Make sure you hit all those target points!
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to get in touch; either by email, facebook or leave a comment on here!
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