The Finis Freestyler Hand Paddle has been on the market for several years. As the name implies, this paddle has a very specific use, and after trying it for the other strokes, we’ve concluded that Finis is right… this is a FREESTYLE paddle.
With such a targeted use, this won’t be the ONLY paddle in your swim bag, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, we LIKE tools with a specific purpose, because they encourage swimmers to focus on specific things at specific times.
Best Use for this Product:
While most paddles are designed for resistance and strength training, the Finis Freestyler Hand Paddle is best used for improving freestyle technique and efficiency. The unique shape encourages high elbows, maximum extension and reach at the front of the stroke, and proper hand entry.
How to Use It:
1. There’s no need to rip off the back strap, since there isn’t one.
2. The Freestyler Hand Paddle is designed like a surf board, with a long fin that runs down the underside of the paddle and acts like a rudder. This fin aids in keeping the hand extended directly forward, rather than allowing the hand to pitch in or out.
3. The rear edge of the paddle is designed to wrap around your wrist as you start your catch. The cut-out shape at the wrist encourages you to CATCH the water early. This cut out allows you to lead the catch with your fingers, and allows a slight bend in the wrist to get everything started.
[b]How to Use Them Really Well (the Fine Points):
Although the Freestyler Hand Paddle LOOKS like a large paddle, it really isn’t. The tapered nose lets you spear through the water out front. And compared to a more standard size and shaped paddle, it feels very small in the water. It won’t give you the feeling of POWER that some paddles do. Instead, it encourages you to lead with your hand forward, and then rely on creating a longer paddle with your entire arm.
As with any paddle, you’ll either REALLY like it or you won’t track with it at all. If you’ve got room in your swim bag for various paddles, adding this one to your training is a good idea. If you’ve got room for only one pair, this probably isn’t it. It’s a very good teaching paddle, and we tried it in a variety of ways, including standard pulling, sprinting, and even resistive pulling with the parachute.
This paddle does a great job at teaching efficient technique for the freestyle hand entry, extension, and catch. If you love to pull, then it’s also a good paddle because it doesn’t create as much resistance as other paddles. It’s a paddle you can use for a longer time without worrying too much about soreness or, worse, injury.