SCULL DRILLS TO ADD SPEED
learn how simple sculling can aid your swim stroke and catch
WHY DO WE NEED TO SCULL?
Sculling with your hands is the best way to teach a swimmer to feel the water. This term – feeling the water – means being able to perceive what is happening to the water as a result of your movements, and being able to manipulate this to produce the maximum amount of force on the water.
A good feel of the water means swimmers should be able to feel the pressure on the water through the catch and pull phase of their stroke and conversely feel when that pressure is lost.
The act of sculling therefore maximises propulsion by establishing a proper hand position in the water, developing the catch of the water and your effectiveness on the water.
Here are three drills to get your sculling up to speed. Slotting in these drills is appropriate in any part of a swimming set, but it can be especially effective to do after your warm up, before any speed work. This primes you to feel the water before you start training at higher intensities.
This drill practises the position at the initial phase of the catch. It helps to establish a firm hold on the water at the front part of the stroke. • Use a pull buoy to support your legs and raise your head above the surface of the water. • Start fingertips down with arms shoulder-width apart, tilting and moving your hands outwards (thumb down), and inwards (little finger down). • Ensure you tweak the angle of your hand to keep a light pressure on the palm, making sure your elbows are fixed, slightly bent in front. • Make sure your elbow is higher than your wrist and your wrist is higher than the finger tips.
This drill focuses on a slightly later point in the stroke as you are finishing the catch and entering the drive phase of the pull. • Again using a pull buoy, place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders with your elbows bent a few degrees more. • Scull the water in the same fashion as before, outwards and inwards, fingertips pointing to the bottom of the pool. • Ensure that you keep your elbows high.
This final drill develops the scull still further, while finishing with a powerful thrust to develop the feel of the remainder of the drive phase. • Start in the first position for three sculls. • Scull gradually outwards to the second position over a period of another three sculls. • Then, continue your progress round to the point where you want to drive back to the hips. • Accelerate your hands. simultaneously back to the hips in an explosive manner, engaging your shoulders and LATs to power the drive. • Return to the start and repeat.