Last month I did a one-on-one stroke correction session with a swimmer and she was entering too early in her freestyle. So she was entering her hand before she needed to which meant that she was creating a drag as she extended forward. So we needed to move her hand entry out a little bit. Out a little bit further forward so that she wasn’t creating so much drag as she extended forward.
Now, my favorite drill for doing this is fingertip drag freestyle where you drag your fingertips on the surface of the water as you recover forward. The reason I really like this drill for improving your entry is because if you enter too early, you’ll find that your hand and your arm will catch and it will throw your shoulder down and you’ll feel the drag that’s created when that happens. If you enter too far out, you’ll enter with your elbows so you’ll know that that’s not the right way to enter.
The fingertip drag freestyle allows you to feel the right place where you should enter your hand in freestyle. In fingertip drag freestyle, main things to focus on are: it should be like painting the water with your fingertips and as you drag your fingers on the surface, imagine you’re painting the wall of a house. That’s how you should do fingertip drag freestyle.
The main mistakes I see made with this is that swimmers will be too tense when they do it. If you’re tense in your recovery, what I mean by that is that you are really forcing your arm and your hand forward, then that means you’ll be pushing the water forward with your fingertips rather than dragging your fingers on top of the water. So if you’re doing that, then switch off the energy in your hand and in your forearm so that your arms relaxed and you can paint the surface. And this drill, fingertip drag freestyle, it’s really good for helping swimmers learn to relax in their recovery. Because if you’re tense in your freestyle, in the recovery, then you’ll find that you don’t have as much energy to pull through the water because you’ll be using more energy than you need to.
In the Mastering Freestyle Program, a lot of the drills are geared towards helping you switch off in the right places in your freestyle. Because swimming freestyle isn’t like running as hard as you can for a hundred meters. Swimming freestyle is about relaxing in your recovery and using your energy for propulsive moments like your pool. The Mastering Freestyle Program is filled with drills and exercises that will help you learn how to do that.
The fingertip drag freestyle is an excellent drill for learning to become relaxed in your recovery and to find the right entry in your freestyle.