This past week, I was reminded of a great hand-awareness drill from US Paralympic Resident Coach, Dave Denniston.
Why Do It:
Developing a great breaststroke means you need to know exactly what your hands are doing. Learning how to gain a "feel" for the water is easier when you challenge yourself with variations.
How to Do It:
1. There are five steps in this drill, growing from small to big. Start with hands closed, or fist drill.
2. The second step is "#1." Hold you hand with only your index finger pointing.
3. PEACE! The third step is to have your fingers making a peace sign. Try to keep them apart, but they may sneak together at points.
4. Fourth is the sign language sign for "I love you". Index, pinky, and thumb stretched out. You’ll really feel your fingers waving in the water on this one.
5. The final step is "A OK". Make a circle with your thumb and index finger and extend the rest of the fingers forward.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Alternate lengths of the drill with regular swimming. Feel how it awakens the entire hand when you switch to regular swimming. You can also alternate the drill with swimming with paddles to overload the hands after the limiting effects of the five steps.