Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Get more out of your stroke with One Simple Trick - Fingers Open




Open those fingers!

I know it seems counter intuitive but surprisingly you will generate more power in your stroke if you just open your fingers slightly. This applies to both backstroke and freestyle!

What I'm talking about here is kind of something that is more in the realm of swimming coaching than swim teaching but I've found that a a lot of my students like the advice so much that I thought I would include it in this blog.

The discussion usually goes: "Richard how can I improve my stroke"?

To which I reply "Perhaps it's time to go to a swimming coach".

And the student then answers "no I don't want to go into training I just want to get a little better performance out of my stroke with out having to go to the gym or get up at 5 O'Clock in the morning".

So I give them this little tip: "Try opening your fingers a little".

The reason this works is that water does not flow straight through your finger when you open them a little. There is actually a lot of turbulence and eddies created as it passes through. Effectively you are increasing the size of your hand and pushing more water out behind you.

I tried to do a video of this but I just do not have the equipment to show the effect faithfully so your just going to have to experiment with it and see.

Now I have to point out that there are limits. You can't just open your fingers as though you have webbing between them. That would let the water through too quickly. But if you open them just a little, about half a finger wide you should notice that it is a little harder to push the water.

As an Update to this post I should point out that this little technique is controversial and has its detractors. But I still maintain that it is worth a try. Every swimmer is different; a point acknowledged by the article above and there will be some, to whom this change will have little or no effect. But given that it is such a little change and that there is no evidence that it will do your stroke any harm it is worth a try. If it helps it a bonus!
Enjoy
 Richard

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