Catch, pull, push and recovery, these are the four key phases in a freestyle arm stroke.
A proper freestyle swimming action will allow you to develop a more efficient stroke and increase your speed in the water.
The correct starting position for an optimum arm stroke is with your head facing downwards, keeping your back and hips high in the water. At the beginning of the arm stroke the palm of your hand must face downwards and your wrists should be higher than your fingers.
-Begin the catch phase with your elbow high, use your forearm to pull downwards. When your hand passes beneath your shoulder, your head should begin to rotate so that you can breathe properly.
-Continue the pull phase keeping your body in the right position and making sure your hand and arm are under your body and not alongside it. Try to catch as much water as possible with your forearm. Having completed the pull phase, the palm of your hand should be facing upwards.
During the final push phase, your arm pushes backwards until it comes out of the water. During the recovery phase, raise your elbow and when your hand is halfway along your body rotate your head so that it is facing forwards again.
As soon as your hand reaches your shoulder, rotate it forwards so that it is just touching the water and extend it out in front of you to complete the stroke.
Hand paddles can help you improve the position of your hand during every phase of the arm stroke, improving your control and allowing you to catch more water.