Catch-up drills have gone out of favor these days, but for some swimmers they are just what’s needed to correct a major stroke flaw. Here’s one catch-up drill that works!
Why Do It:
Catch-up drills have long been used to get swimmers to glide more between strokes – and to get more distance per stroke. In the classic catch-up drill, you keep your lead arm extended as the other arm recovers, and then you place the recovering hand ON TOP of the lead hand and pause for a moment before initiating the pull with your lead arm. This works great to give you a front-quadrant stroke. The trouble is – your body rotation comes to a complete stop when you pause with one hand on top of the other. Imagine Tiger Woods coming to a complete stop when his club makes contact with the ball, and you can see why it’s not good to pause.
The classic catch-up drill can mess up your core rotation, which is why it’s fallen out of favor. But some swimmers can really benefit from catch-up swimming. This is especially true for those who are just learning to swim and for those who have an ingrained windmill-type stroke (many triathletes are in this category). Click and Go is a type of catch-up drill that teaches you to glide and swim in front quadrant, but that doesn’t require you to interrupt your body rotation. The feel and sound of the paddles ‘clicking’ out front gives a good set of cues to when you’re doing it right.
How To Do It:
1. Put on some paddles. Smaller paddles, such as the Star Paddles from SwimPaddles.com, are best for Click and Go because they’re easier to handle and you can focus on the CLICK rather than the pull.
2. Push off and swim a length or two of freestyle, making sure that you CLICK your paddles together out in front each time your hand enters the water. Make the click quick. Don’t hang out with your hands together out front. Just click and start the pull. Click and Go. If you have a windmill-type stroke, this may feel really awkward at first. Just go with it and let your body glide a bit as you make the click happen.
3. Do several Click-and-Go repeats of 25 or 50 yards.
4. When Click and Go begins to feel more natural, let go of the click – but just a bit. You want to initiate the pull just before the paddles would click.
5. Try some intervals where you do Click and Go for half and then let go of the click for the second half.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
1. Make the clicks really brief.
2. Listen and feel for the clicks.
3. Take the paddles off and try Touch and Go. Then let go of the ‘Touch.’