If we look at the freestyle catch one of the biggest mistakes swimmers often make is that they will enter and extend forward and lock their elbow out for longer than they need to. What that often causes them to do is push down on the water and then pull through. They are only catching the back end of their stroke. Instead what we are looking to do is enter, extend, you can lock your elbow out for short period of time but you want to pretty quickly get into a high elbow catch.

I quite often hear coaches talk about it but I haven’t heard it explained well in terms of what you do to get into the high elbow catch. One of the ways to get into it, is enter, extend and then your elbow can be locked out for short period of time but you want to relax your hand and your arm out the front so that you are pushing your elbow up and your elbow is higher than your wrist and your wrist is higher than your hand.

Right now, put your hand out in front of you and lock out your elbow. Now I want you to make the change of relaxing your arm and lifting that elbow up a bit. What that is going to do is going to help you get into the high elbow catch earlier and get a better pull from your freestyle.

In our online coachiong program we have been working pretty closely with a lot of our swimmers to help them improve their technique with some pretty specific drills. If you are finding that this is one of the things that you might be doing then I suggest that you practice sculling a bit more. Sculling out the front, practicing keeping your elbows high and keeping your wrist higher than your fingers. It is a really good way to practice that high elbow catch and position out the front that we were just talking about.

In most sessions with my squad I will practice sculling somewhere in the warm up just because it is really good for activating that front end part of your stroke.

That’s it for swimming news this week, I will see you next week.

4 Responses

  1. Hi, watching the video about lock the elbow pull. My daughter when she locks her elbow she has a hyper extended elbow, the elbow drops below the wrist and hand. What should she do to stop that locked elbow dropping down.?

  2. Have her practice single pull with a board. It can help focus her on the right action when pulling through. Sculling is also quite good for this. Building in the muscle memory with drills and then going into normal freestyle can be useful.

  3. Hi, I wanted to know what can I do to get faster, because when I swim I tend to do “windmell arms” instead of reaching when I sprint. How do I improve that?

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Brenton and Mitch were great to work with at the clinic, Good to get video analysis to work on straight away, practice some new drills and go home knowing what you need to work on.

Alex McFadyen