Jun 012013
 

Success CompassDid you know that you have a secret compass on your body that can help guide you to success in each of your four swim strokes? Yup. It’s true. That secret compass is your middle finger. Now before you go getting all high and mighty, or extending certain body parts toward me, hear me out. Freestyle is probably the best example of using your middle finger to guide you all the way through the pull sequence. I kid you not.

When reaching out front to enter your hand into the water, let the middle finger be the first entry point into the water. Use your core to rotate slightly onto your side (about a 30 degree rotation) to extend your reach and have that reach be straight out from your shoulder. Slip your hand in and let that middle finger (all fingers) point straight to the other end of the pool.

Click here for a great SwimSmooth article on Freestyle Catch and Feel for the Water

Click here for a great SwimSmooth article on Freestyle Catch and Feel for the Water

Now, guide your middle finger from there to the pool bottom early in your underwater pull – keeping the elbow high and forward as long as you can. This helps you engage your largest muscles in the upper body, your latissimus dorsi (lats) and gives you lots of Superman powers on your pull.

An example of proper hand alignment and good early vertical forearm

An example of proper hand alignment and good early vertical forearm

Use these puppies - you won't regret it.

Use these puppies – you won’t regret it.

Get your stroke looking like the above graphic, not these gentlemen in the next two graphics.

The swimmer here is pressing down from the surface with a straight arm (no early vertical forearm). This motion pushes his head and torso up, causing his legs and hips to drop, all of which is creating drag.

The swimmer here is pressing down from the surface with a straight arm (no early vertical forearm). This motion pushes his head and torso up, causing his legs and hips to drop, all of which creates drag. He is also not able to use his big muscles, the lats, and is using shoulder muscles that aren’t as strong and well equipped as those big lats. This is a set up for a potential shoulder injury!

 

 

This angle really demonstrates what that straight arm can do to change the balance in a bad way!

Once your fingertips have reached “vertical” (fingers pointing straight down), now drive that middle finger straight back to your hip (not into or inside your body line). In the below graphic, this would be sequence C & D.

Freestyle Catch to PowerPhase

All that is left is to recover your hand over the top. Exit with the middle finger again pointing toward the pool bottom with your elbow high and hand relaxed.

Relaxed recovery, high elbow

Relaxed recovery, high elbow

For other articles on freestyle technique on this Swymnuts website, simply enter “freestyle” into the search engine in the upper right of this website. Some specific posts that might help you are:

Freestyle & The Ice Block

Get Hip With Your Hips in Freestyle

Head to the pool and put that middle finger to work! Remember, not at your coach, not at your fellow “gutter buddies”. Only at the other end of the pool and the pool bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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