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Swimming with paddles gives people a feeling of power as they pull, but this drill will help you focus on another aspect of your stroke... reach!
Why Do It:
The surface area of the paddle can help your hand slide, or ride forward during extension as it braces your arm against the substance of the water. The larger surface area helps to hold your hand in that extended position.
How to Do It:
1. This drill is about the front of the stroke, so put on some paddles and you can decide if you want to wear a pull-buoy, or just swim.
2. Swim like you normally would, only really focus on keeping your hand extended forward for a bit longer than normal.
3. You should have a "riding" feeling with the hand out front, with the sensation starting with the hand, traveling down the arm, and continuing down the side of your body.
4. Pause for just an instant on each side, and repeat... often.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
After you've had a chance to ride a bit, focus your attention on your hand, and side. When you start the pull, grab the water with your hand, and engage the muscles on your side to help pull it back. Having your body completely extended for just that extra bit of time should awaken the muscles in your side and back, and allow you to connect with the entire body.