BREASTSTROKE - Strapless Paddles

Jul 23, 2004
BREASTSTROKE - Strapless Paddles

No, this isn�t some new summer bathing suit but, rather, a good way for you to think about using your swim paddles. If you use paddles, try this. If you don�t use paddles, it� a very fun game to play, and a great way to see how �in tune� you are with the water.

When most people use swim paddles, they use every strap available. The only thing missing on some swimmers paddles is the duct tape to secure them to the wrists and hands. Watching more accomplished swimmers, you�ll notice that the wrist strap has been taken off and that, on the standard, square paddles, there is only the middle finger strap left.

We�re going to go that one better...just forget about the straps all together. When you REALLY get good, you don�t even need the straps. Of course, this particular drill is really for breaststrokers. On all those other strokes your hands come out of the water and, when that happens, the paddles are going to fall off.

Why do it:
This drill teaches you to always have pressure on your hands during the breaststroke pull. Now, I already know what you�re going to say: "How do you keep them on as the hands are going forward? Won�t the pressure on the hands create resistance during the recovery?" Good questions. But if your recovery is really fast (as it should be), the paddles just seem to stay on. It has something to do with your hands falling into the water, with the weight of your body behind them. Wearing strapless paddles also encourages you to get into the catch position immediately.

How To Do It:

strapless paddle swimming

1. Grab your favorite swim paddles, and turn them around. If you wear the kind that are shaped to fit your hands, like the ones in the pictures, switch hands with them, and reverse them. Have the straps on the other side of the paddle. There� no reason to start yanking cord out just yet.

2. The best way to get started with this is to do some simple sculling. Put on a pull buoy, lie flat on your stomach in the water, and press the paddles against your palms. Now start sculling slowly back and forth until you get a nice feel for keeping the paddles under your palms. Basically, play in this position for a while.

3. Next, start to do some slow breaststroke pulling. Feel how wide you can go, and how the paddles stay connected to your palms during the insweep. Try to keep the recovery high and quick. If you falter at all, the paddles are going to slide off.

4. Start to pick up the pace a bit, until you can pull very quickly. Keep the outsweep strong, and try to recover the hands as quickly as possible.

5. Once you feel you�ve mastered this, start to sprint a bit. As you swim down the pool, pick a stroke to DROP the paddles. As you do this, try to maintain the rhythm you�ve set but, more important, try to maintain the feeling of power you�ve developed.

How To Do it Really Well (the Fine Points):

Usually, when you take off your paddles, you get this feeling of slipping in the water. Trying this will allow you to maintain more of the powerful feeling as you immediately transfer from paddles to no paddles. Sure, the first stroke will feel weird when you drop them, but you�ll find that you have a powerful hold on the water on the next stroke.

The best way to learn this skill is to play. Yep, that� it. Take your paddles in the pool with you, and start swimming around -- or even WALKING around -- just constantly moving your hands back and forth in a sculling motion.

Some great swimmers do this instinctively. Even while they're waiting at the wall between sets, you�ll see one, or both, hands slowly sculling through the water. It� almost like they can�t help it. Develop this instinct by forcing yourself hold on to the water at all times. Playing with your paddles can help. Have a good time.

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