Focus: Front part of the catch aka "Early Vertical Forearm"
Goal & Problem: Today we will focus on the early part of the catch, the one that's usually messed up via various reasons;
1) Dropping the lead hand while you breath - thus using it for balance/stability in the water instead of forward propulsion.
2) Flexibility - you cannot fully extend your arm, straight, to hold the water.
3) The Wave - My personal crutch, waving your hand side to side on top of the water to "hold the water" while you breath, then starting the catch.
4) A slew of other reasons.
The Fix: By using a few drills and shorter sets you can focus on that early catch, and if you happen to lose it for a few 50's, don't worry, we'll be repeating the drills to bring you back.
8x25 drill/swim in groups of two on 30/35/40/45" (drill/drill/swim/swim, repeat).
- Hold The Paddle Drill: see below
300 swim/kick x50 w/fins (fins being optional, but I know I hardly move without them).
8x25 drill/swim x25 on 35/40/45/50"
- Doggie Paddle: see below
(800 yard warm up)
30x50 on 50"/1:00/1:10
Repeat the below 5x in order to get 30x50:
#1: Hold the paddle drill
#2-3: Freestyle, focusing on not "breaking" the wrist at any part of the pull.
#4: Doggie paddle drill for a 25, normal freestyle for a 25.
#5-6: Freestyle, focusing on pulling your elbow up and outward to start the catch phase.
- Take enough rest so you can focus on the catch and stay engaged.
(1500 yard main set, 2300 total yards)
100 swim (yes, still thinking about your catch)
(2500 total yards)
Notes: Pick the interval that'll give you 10-15" rest on the 25's and 15-20" rest on the 50's.
Doggie Paddle explained: Simulate the freestyle stroke but keep your head above water and your arms under the surface of the water during the entire exercise. Don’t recover over the water as you would during a normal freestyle stroke. Instead, after you finish near your hip, slide your hand/forearm under your body, close to your body, back to extension in front of your head.
Doggie Paddle drill resource: http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/02/training/swim-speed-secrets-drills_71785#9AuYQyCAMhQzuuZI.99
Doggie Paddle Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_5CdVxX3Q
* Just look at how happy that guy is doing the doggie paddle!
Hold the Paddle explained: (see below photo) - Designed to connect your hand and wrist so you cannot (hopefully) bend your wrist to start your pull, which drops the elbow and causes you to have a less effective pull.
Notice how I am holding the top of the paddle in my fist. I am not using any of the straps, just grabbing the top of the paddle instead.