Sculling - Overhead Scull

Jan 26, 2007
Sculling - Overhead Scull

I learned a long time ago that when an elite athlete shows me how they do something, I just watch, rather than try to give my 2 cents on things.


When I asked Kevin Clements to perform an overhead scull, he didn't ask how, he just took off. His technique was way different from the technique that I've used for years, and that I've taught. When I perform this drill, I scull with both hands at the same time. Kevin, however, sculls with an ALTERNATING hand movement. His technique creates a consistent, smooth flow down the pool. When I had a chance to revisit this skill, I found it's really cool to do it like Kevin.

Why Do It:
Learning how to make your hands productive in every plane and at every angle will make you a better swimmer. Period.

How To Do It:
Push off feet first, on your back. The easiest way to do this is to push off the wall with your hands... or you can try pushing off forward, and then do a flip to get your feet going forward.

2. Lean into the water with your upper back to keep your hips up, and POINT YOUR TOES.

3.  Sweep your hands back and forth above your head, as shown by Kevin. Instead of having the hands work in a symmetrical way, work them in an alternating fashion (kind of like eggbeater kick but with your hands). Keep the movements small and quick.

4. Maintain stability in your legs, body, and head position. Keep just a bit of your face above the water - enough to allow you to breathe.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
FAST, QUICK and, SMALL movements with the hands is the key. Think about feeling the tips of your fingers whipping through the water, and remember to try to point them DOWN toward the bottom just a bit, or you'll just be sweeping your hands and not moving anywhere.

You'll discover quickly that pointing your toes, and keeping your body rigid and in line will help TREMENDOUSLY. Think about cutting the smallest possible hole in the water. When you have so little propulsive force to work with, you won't go ANYWHERE unless you are balanced and in streamline position. You may also discover, that you need smooth water to learn this drill in. Small ripples tend to find their way up your nose.

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