and Go Drill (aka. Catch-up Stroke)
The Touch-and-Go Swim
Drill: Creates a "long" stroke by
forcing the swimmer to reach out in front during
View these other
bad habit swimmers often fall victim to is not reaching
out far enough during the recovery portion of the
freestyle stroke. Often
times, the swimmer will take a shorter arm stroke with
the hand entering the water along side the head or
perhaps just in front of it. See figure 1. This results in short, choppy arm strokes as well as an increase
in the number of strokes over a given distance. It also
reduces the amount of water the swimmer will “grab”
during the underwater pull-through. Which, again,
directly affects the distance the swimmer will travel
per stroke. The
less water the swimmer grabs during the underwater
pull-through, the shorter the distance the swimmer will
travel. Looking at Figure
you will see the swimmer is reaching out farther, well
beyond the head. By reaching out, the swimmer will grab
more water during the underwater pull-though. The result
being, a greater distance traveled per stroke, fewer
strokes taken and less energy spent during the swim
Furthermore, A short, choppy
stroke can also cause the swimmer to
“fishtail” or waddle back forth when swimming.
Because of the direction to which the hand is pointing
when entering the water, the natural momentum will cause
the upper body of the swimmer to also move in that
direction. Combine that with the same motion of the
opposite arm and the result is a swaying or
“fishtail” motion. See Figure 3.
Now compare that to the swimmer in Figure 4 who
is reaching well out in front of the head, body straight
and swimming straight. You can see why a long, reaching
arm stroke yields a more efficient stroke.
What the “thumb-to-thigh”
drill does for the underwater pull-through of the
freestyle stroke, the Touch and Go drill will do for the
recovery or out-of-water portion of the freestyle
stroke. The Touch and Go drill was designed to teach the
swimmer to reach out in front of him/her during the
freestyle stroke and take advantage of the arm length.
As previously explained, by reaching out far enough, the
swimmer increases the amount of water he/she will
“grab” during the underwater pull-through. This in
turn, will help increase distance per stroke resulting
in fewer strokes taken over a given distance.
The Drill: NOTE: This drill does rely
on your kicking as well. So feel free to wear fins until
you feel comfortable with the technique. To
begin, push off the wall, both arms extended in front of
you. With either arm, begin a freestyle stroke while
keep the opposite arm extended out in front of you.
Complete the freestyle stroke with the initial arm and
touch the extended arm out in front at the end of the
recovery portion. See
below. This example begins as the swimmer is
completing the underwater pull-through preparing for the
arm recovery. Remember, keep the opposite arm extended
until the recovery arm touches the hand out in front.
Then complete the drill with the opposite arm. So
basically you are swimming freestyle with each arm
touching the opposite one out in front after recovery.
In all fairness, this drill will probably seem confusing
at first. But after a few tries, it will get easier. And
breath to which ever side is comfortable.
Drill Set: 10 x 25’s
Touch and Go drill. 15 seconds rest between each 25 yard
swim. Adjust your rest accordingly.