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Freestyle – Mega Catch-Up Drill

This drill comes to us from our good friends at Almaden Swim & Racquet Club.  Coaches Andre Salles-Cunha and Jason Martin.  While we’re not sure we did the drill justice, as Jason was quite the model, we hope we get the point across.  Thanks Andre and Jason, we really felt this one.


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Working on an early catch is important for all strokes, but figuring out the best way to pinpoint your focus is pretty tough.  Using a kick-board allows you to concentrate on getting your entire body involved.

Why Do It:
Mega Catch-Up drill encourages you to "set-up" the catch with a bit of rotation to the other side.  This makes it more like actual swimming, as you’d never be starting the catch from flat (or certainly shouldn’t).

How to Do It:
1. 
 The drill is in three phases.  You’ll start with the kick-board held lengthwise (the normal way).  Place your hands on the board shoulder width apart.  Drop one of your hands under the board and push it forward.  When you do this, the opposite shoulder will lift, or rotate up.  As soon as the shoulder has popped up, initiate the catch with the hand that’s under water.
2.  Rotate all the way through the pull, snapping the hand out at the back to get the full range out of the pull.
3.  In phase two, rotate the board sideways.  The drill is the same as phase one, only now you’ll be able to have a target to reach past.  Push your extending hand PAST the board, rotating the opposite shoulder up.  Pull again as before, snapping all the way through the finish, and make sure you place your hand back on the board at shoulder width.
4.  Phase three is the finish.  Perform the drill without the board.  Hands should be shoulder width apart.  Extend one arm while rotating the opposite shoulder up.  As that shoulder starts to fall, pull the hand back and snap through the finish.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
There are a few key points in this drill.  Hands shoulder width apart on the board, initiate a shallow catch (just under the board), and snap through to the finish.  Think of each of those through each phase and repeat many times.  You may find it’s easier to accomplish this with one arm or the other, but continue working to even out the stroke.  We also found we were bending the elbow left on the board a little too much… but we’re working to keep that arm a bit straighter.