Here's how to improve your freestyle catch and pull through to Swim Smooth like Becky Adlington!
Swim coaching - and especially teaching - folklore still says to this very day, that describing an S-Pull shape underneath the body is an efficient way to pull through and propel yourself forwards. Today, we'll put that myth to rest once and for all!
NOTE: whilst we know that many of you prefer to read a blog rather than watch a YouTube video, given the visual nature of today's topic (the “elusive” catch & pull through) specifically, we feel you'll really benefit from watching the visualisations in the video, which is why we've gone to town on them this week especially - hope it helps! 🙏
Welcome back to Week 4 of the Swim Smooth Stroke Correction Hierarchy, I've got a cracker for you this week, arguably my personal favourite aspect of the stroke and the one I enjoy coaching the most - the freestyle catch and pull through! The catch and pull through phase of the stroke really encompasses the full phase of the stroke from the initiation of the catch, right through to the exit of the hand by the hip. Swim coaching - and especially teaching - folklore still says to this very day, that describing an S-Pull shape underneath the body is an efficient way to pull through and propel yourself forwards. This purportedly increases the length of the pull pathway via a series of sweeps in and out of the hand as it makes it's way from the initiation of the catch, right through to the rear. That all said, since starting Swim Smooth in 2004, I have never agreed with this depiction of the stroke. One of my major issues with it has always been that it promotes a thumb-first entry into the water (which can be bad for the health of the shoulder as discussed last week), and it does not accurately account for the rotation of the body in 3D space. The S-Pull shape considers a movement path relative to the body (which is fixed), ignoring the fact that the body should roll along the long axis of the spine which serves to cancel some of the lateral movement of the hand and arm relative to the body. In today's video, we draw upon some very old archives including that of the website the website https://coachsci.sdsu.edu/ "COACHING SCIENCE ABSTRACTS" by Brent S. Rushall PhD of the San Diego State University who wrote 59 books and technical manuals, has had 162 refereed articles and book chapters published, and has produced close to 15,000 on-line abstracts and articles (wow!), and produced an absolutely brilliantly constructed argument on this matter - which we reference today - looking at the efficacy of using static cartoon illustrations to describe how someone should pull through. So, on that note, let's look at what YOU can do to improve the mechanics of your catch and pull through underneath the water based on these principles of biomechanics!