Your Middle Finger

If you have a tendency to crossover the centre line in your stroke, here's a useful visualisation. Try swimming thinking solely about the middle finger on each hand. As you enter the water and extend forwards think about keeping your middle finger pointing straight in front of the same shoulder, extending gun-barrel straight down the pool:

You may have been told to extend wider to correct a cross-over but we don't like this instruction as whilst it may help correct things in the very short term there's a real tendency to drift ever wider which will reduce your rotation and harm your catch. Instead of thinking wider, think straighter!

Two thirds of swimmers we work with have some degree of cross-over in their stroke - treat removing yours as a priority.

Swim Smooth!


Dan said...

love this blog. i have a question about a different finger...namely the thumb.

when i began swimming i naturally just found myself doing my catch with my thumb perpendicular to the rest of my hand (out to the side). for some reason i felt like this made my hand the largest it could be. recently i have experimented with keeping the thumb tight against the palm, and although i see less bubbles on my hand entry, it feels very strange on the catch. has this improved my hydrodynamics at the expense of my catch? what is your opinion on this? do i just need to get used to pulling with my thumb like that?

i have seen footage of world class swimmers doing both styles. grant hackett seems to enter with his thumb together and then he extends it in the water almost (at least with his right hand). YOU, yes im talking about you, John, seem to swim incredibly smoothly and really well with the thumb tight against the palm. would love your advice on this. thanks in advance!

Portland, Oregon

Dan said...

whoops sorry Paul, dont know why i wrote "John"

Adrienne Willing said...

In my experience, the thumb against the hand is less effective than if you slightly let is splay from the hand. Too far away and it'll turn into a knife slicing through and you'll lose the surface area of a paddle your trying to make. Too close and you have a smaller less effective paddle and will exacerbate stiffness in their stroke. You need to keep it close enough to create a web, like the man from Atlantis, there will be enough resistance through your catch and force through the water to keep the water from slipping through your fingers. Most good catch swimmers will have the thumb looking like the letter J not the letter L.

In reference to the article above.
If the swimmer has a good roll in their stroke/upper body, I like to cue them to brush their shoulders against their cheek/jaw as the arm enters the water and they should not see their arm cross past their nose. If their head is in a neutral position slighty looking forward this should be easy to grasp.
Drill to help, holding a rod on each end shoulder width length. Do catchup drill using the rod to guide the right entry.

Adrienne Mojo365 Let's revive it!

Anonymous said...

Adrienne thanks for the tip. i worked on that today in the pool.


Unknown said...

Just a couple of other variations to achieve same effect. Swimming down the black line, always see a gap between your stroke entry and pull and the line on both sides. And, holding a kick board on the far left edge, swim one arm right arm - if you hit the board, it is crossing over. And vice versa. Bruce

Anonymous said...

i have tendency to sway/drift to my right, especially after some 400m, and it usually happened only on "returning laps" meaning to say "even numbers" laps.

For example 400m with 8 laps:
i can swim pretty straight on "odd numbers" lap = lap 1, 3,5, 7. And struggle to maintain straight balanced swim on "even laps" = lap 2, 4,6, 8,etc.

Why do I have such weird swim which confuses and frustrating to me?


Adam Young said...

Hi speedofive,

I'm not sure to be honest, what breathing pattern are you using?

I suspect that you always have that tendency to drift to the right but for some reason are correcting yourself in one direction. Could the black line or lane ropes be influencing you differently in different directions?

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