This week, as our first drill of 2007, we thought it would be appropriate to revisit one of Go Swim’s very first drills, and do an update. The drill that we’ve chosen to update is Front Scull, and we conveniently posted this as last week’s drill, to make it easier for you to compare the two versions. We still agree with the "How To" and "Why To" of the original drill, but there is tremendous value in watching a GREAT athlete performing the drill at a much higher level.
So, let’s see what we can learn from watching Kevin Clements perform this same drill.
Why Do It:
Sculling teaches SO MANY lessons, but one of the most important lessons is how to use your hands. Sculling helps you learn how to turn even the SLIGHTEST motion of your hand into a productive movement. The side-to-side motion your hands and forearms can be very productive, even while they’re on their way for the BIG payoff of the pull.
How To Do It:
1. Kevin starts flat on his stomach, with his eyes looking down. He’s not looking DIRECTLY at the bottom, simply because he’d never swim like that. He’s looking slightly forward, and if you watch Kevin from the side, you can see that the angle of his head mimics the angle of his chest.
2. Notice that Kevin holds his head extremely still… and that he keeps his elbows VERY near the surface, and VERY still. All the productive movement is being generated by the back-and-forth movement of his hands and forearms. Sure, you’ll see a little kick snap in there every once in a while, but when you consider that we initially taught this drill using a pull buoy, you begin to understand just how good the real elite athletes are at this stuff. Kevin needs only a slight kick to keep his entire body in line. This is a combination of learned balance, and a very productive sculling action that produces enough velocity for his feet to stay high in the water.
3. Kevin sweeps his hands in and out QUICKLY, and is constantly changing the pitch of not just the hands, but also the entire forearm. From the elbows to the fingers, Kevin forms a single unit — a long paddle that works WITH the water.
4. Kevin keeps his head and chest pressed in quite a lot, which means you’ll barely see any part of his head above the surface. You’ll also see how balanced he is, as his hips are also right at the surface of the water.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Fast hands and great balance. For those of you who refuse to wear pull buoys, paddles, or any other type of equipment, you should be encouraged to continue what you’re doing, and now learn how to do it even better. With great balance, Kevin is able to move pretty quickly in the water, and with very little effort. He keeps his head and body stable… and in a very horizontal line in the water. This means that even the slightest movement will send him forward.
We’ll be watching Kevin perform more sculling in the next few weeks, so we encourage you all to practice — and master — this one prior to seeing the next. This is the easiest. 🙂