Those of you who have participated in our clinics (Ellicott City/Columbia, Maryland) will remember that at the end of the sessions, we spend considerable time working on the front and the side sculling drills. These are immensely important for developing the right feel for the water and getting your catch and stroke started efficiently when you transition to your full stroke.
What Makes Sculling So Important
- Enhance Feel for the Water During the Catch Phase
Learn to maximize propulsion by establishing proper hand position
- Heightens Stroke Technique Awareness
Emphasizes technique imperfections making it easier to identify and correct technique
- Creates Muscle Memory
Making subtle changes in hand pitch and speed will change propulsion and body position
The Drills: Broken Down
- Front Sculling
Purpose: Establish a firm hold on the water at the front part of the stroke
How to do it: Using a pull buoy between your legs for support push off from the pool side with your head out of the water looking forward and begin sculling left and right in front of the head. Come slightly wider than your shoulders and bring your hands together so that they nearly touch in front of your hands. At all times keep your fingertips lower than your wrist and wrist lower than your elbow. Try to keep elbows stationary and close to the surface of the water. Keep your back and chest as high as possible in the water for added pressure on your forearms.
Video: Front Sculling
- Mid Point Sculling
Purpose: Similar to the front skull (above) but focuses on a slightly later point in the stroke as you enter the pull phase underneath your head.
How to do it: Position yourself as in the front skull (above). Scull the water directly under the head by keeping the elbows fixed in place and near the surface of the water. Skull from just wider than your body’s width into the center.
Drills with Sculling Specific Paddles
Sculling Paddles (such as those made by Finis) are shorter swimming paddles that cover the fingers rather than the entire hand. The shorter design allows you to focus on sculling technique and maintain the feel of the water against their hands. The paddles heighten stroke awareness and emphasize stroke imperfections, making it easier to identify and correct technique. Sculling Paddles are a great way to build forearm and finger strength by accentuating the entire stroke from entry to finish. The smaller design also minimizes pressure put on shoulders, avoiding potential injury that can be caused by traditional paddles.
Additional Benefits of Paddles for Sculling
- Small, Finger-Tip Design
Provides instant feedback if sculling technique is incorrect
- Reduces Shoulder Stress
Smaller design puts less pressure on shoulders than full-size paddles