|Closed Fist Drill
The Closed Fist drill is a terrific
freestyle stroke drill that helps the swimmer optimize the
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Without even thinking about it, most of us rely on the
palms of our hands to pull us through the water and
propel us forward when swimming freestyle.
And why not?
It makes sense.
For when we swim
freestyle we use our arms and hands like the paddle of a
canoe. When paddling a canoe, we use the wide, flat end
of the paddle, that which provides the greatest surface
area, to propel us forward through the water. We
certainly do not use the pole portion of the paddle to
drive us through the water. So it goes without saying,
the surface area of the hand, like the base of a canoe
paddle, provides us with our greatest underwater pulling
Unlike the pole portion
of a canoe paddle, our arms and specifically the
underside of our arms, do provide additional surface
area and thus additional power to our overall freestyle
And developing a feel
for our arms under the water will only enhance our swim
stroke and boost our overall distance per stroke.
Unfortunately, most of us being triathletes do not
consider the importance of the arm, and in particular,
the underside of the arm, during the freestyle stroke.
Now, some of you may
think you are getting plenty of power from your arms and
hands and do not see the need to improve the feel of the
underside of your arms during the underwater
pull-through. However, you will be surprised just how
much you do rely on the palms of your hands. And the
"Closed-fist Drill will reveal this.
The Drill: The
drill is fairly self-explanatory. You are basically
swimming freestyle with a closed fist. However, some of
us tend to want to cheat just a bit once we discover the
lack of "feel" we have for the water when we
aren’t using the palms of our hand. And in doing so,
we open our fist slightly, similar to that of a Karate
Chop. This is not correct! Below, you will see an
example of the right way to swim this drill and the
wrong way! Keep the fist closed! It won’t take long
for you to realize how much you have been relying on the
palms of your hands for power during freestyle.
Initially, you will feel like you are going nowhere when
swimming freestyle with a closed fist. And, at first,
you will be slower. But you will develop a feel for this
as your arms begin to play a significant part in your
underwater pull-through. Remember, the pull-through must
be complete for this drill to work (see section on
Drill Set: 10 x
25’s Closed Fist Drill. 15 seconds rest between each
25 yard swim. Adjust your rest accordingly.