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Sculling - Kickboard Sit

Posted by Glenn Mills on Sep 22, 2009 10:43AM

When you swim, there are so many little fine points to monitor that it's simply too much for the mind to process.  This is why sculling, practiced on a regular basis, can build awareness in your hands, eaching them how to find the bst way to hold water, rather than having to think about it.   Sculling helps build swimming instinct, or sensory awareness, so you can think about the big parts of the stroke.

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Why Do It:
Kickboard Scull is a simple way for athletes of ALL levels to really feel how the hands are supposed to work, as well as a great way to work the small muscles through the forearms and wrists.

How to Do It:
  Sit on a kickboard and tuck your legs under to hold the board.  Balance will be required in this step, so be prepared.
2.  Start by simply sweeping the hands in and out to start moving forward.
3.  Pay close attention to a couple key points.  Try NOT to move the top part of your arm, from shoulder to elbow, at all.  This part of the arm should be very still; the only thing moving you forward is the forearm and hand... from the elbow to the hand.
4.  Make sure your fingers are pointed DOWN, not to the side.  Pushing water to the side may move you forward a bit, but is merely teaching you how to push the water, not how to scull.
5.  Since your eyes are above the water, it'll be easy to watch the upper part of your arm, as well as your hands.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
After you've gone forward for a bit, turn your fingers UP, and, without stopping, switch to going backward.  This is more like "waving" than sculling, but still keep the upper arm still.

Vary the size of the movement, from very big and slow, to very small and quick, to a very comfortable flow.  Continue the drill for a few lengths, and you'll know if you're doing it correctly from the slight ache in your forearms and fingers.  If you're not feeling that, you may be using too much of the upper arm.

Archived Comments

Responded Sep 22, 2009 03:58PM

Thank you. I love this! All of my students are under 12 and I'm always telling them to NOT sit on their kickboards so they will love this, too.

Responded Sep 23, 2009 12:11AM

Thats pretty cool, I never thought about teaching it that way ^^

Responded Sep 23, 2009 12:29PM

fun fun fun :) love that one!

Responded Sep 23, 2009 02:30PM

This is reminiscent of a favorite drill I have my swimmers do. I have them scull laps moving backwards, while sitting in an upright position with toes fixed outside of the water. I have them lock their wrists, so it is a great forearm building exercise.

Responded Sep 23, 2009 02:32PM

Not to mention the abs.

Responded Sep 26, 2009 09:17PM

I did this a lot with the Florida Keys Swim Club athletes while I was there working this summer. We also did sort of a progression on this. Going on your knees and then stand up on the kick board. It will add one more element to this drill ... balance. Once they got it right and are able to keep their body in line and straight we would continue the progression and do it with one leg stand only (resting leg out and up front).

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