We have already talked about the paddle in our blog (The power is in your hands) and of the role they play in correcting the stroke, increasing the strength and the aerobic power.
Another benefit of using paddles is holding more water and thus ensuring a larger pushing surface. On the other hand, once removed, you will have the terrible feeling of working in vain, and will take a few minutes to regain sensitivity. One thing certain, the paddles are tools allowing you to focus your attention on the correct movement of the arms in the water.
The purpose of the paddles is to strengthen your stroke, whatever style you choose. A great way to understand the importance of paddles is by using them alternately to classic swimming, or with “bare” hands, or changing your hand position, such as with your fists closed.
In this article you’ll find a few practical exercises on how to best use the paddles to correct your backstroke.
One-arm backstroke (using paddles). The exercise requires control of the legs, therefore you should wear fins. Begin by extending your legs backwards and keeping the arms relaxed at your sides. Start the stroke by moving only one arm. Bring the left arm upward, extend it behind your head and enter your hand in the water with the little finger first. Begin the catch phase. At shoulders height you’ll be in the middle of the pull phase; at this point try to accelerate the final thrust to complete the movement. Repeat with the right arm.
– During this exercise, the attention should be directed to the pull and final thrust. The former will allow you to push a greater amount of water due to the paddles. The final thrust should be fast, to ensure faster propulsion.
Double-arm backstroke (using paddles). Put on the fins and begin to swim on your back with your arms stretched at your side and moving your legs. Move simultaneously the arms. Once the hands enter the water, keep your position counting to 3; the arms are above your head and your hands just below the water surface. At this point pull the arms along the sides, being careful to pulling and pushing phase.
– During this exercise, you should pay attention to the position of your body, which should not wobble, and then to pulling and pushing, which to be properly performed should be executed slowly.
Backstroke with hands in a closed fist. Put on the fins and position yourself perpendicular to the pool edge. At this point begin to quickly move your legs, and after 3 seconds begin the backstroke with maximum stroke frequency, taking care to make the transitions smooth and continuous.
– Unlike for the previous drills, during this exercise the focus should be on speed and smooth transitions. During the previous exercises, the paddles were ensuring resistance as the focus was on improving the catch and the push. In this case, the focus is on improving the speed by using the correct movements previously learned.