Underwater is where it all happens. In this video you’ll notice the huge difference between an elevated elbow during the catch and a dropped elbow. There’s also one more thing which you might have missed, as you’ll soon see. Plus you’ll discover two of our favourite drills for improving your high elbow catch.

In the video above you’ll notice a few really important things:

  • Elevated Elbow – As the arm moves to a 4-5 o’clock position underwater, a good catch will have a slightly elevated elbow.
  • High shoulder/armpit – If the shoulder is dropped it’s creates extra resistance and doesn’t allow for a strong pull. Instead we look to keep the shoulder reasonably high (15-20cm below the surface).
  • Hand and forearm angle – Once you move past your shoulder you should aim to have your hand and forearm parallel to the wall behind you until you get towards the back of your pull. Swimmers with a poor feel for the water will usually finish their pull by moving from the 6 o’clock position to the 9 o’clock position at a steep angle rather than pushing the water back.

Two drills which we use regularly for improving a high elbow catch are:

  1. Top to bottom scull
  2. Catch up freestyle

For more ways to improve your freestyle try the Effortless Freestyle program available from our website.