top of page

See How Easily You Can Improve Your Pull With Simplicity

My last Q&A dealt with some of the confusion around the arm pull.

Today, I’d like to start to provide some ideas as to how you can most effectively learn to create a great pull.

To be clear, the pull IS complicated.

It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time, both in terms of my own swimming and helping others learn it.

The challenge is that there’s a LOT going on, yet focusing on those details isn’t very helpful.

It’s too much to think about during a movement that happens fast.

Whether I was swimming myself or coaching other, I was getting overwhelmed.

One aspect would improve, another would get worse, and round and round I’d go.

Eventually, I realized that getting better requires a SIMPLE approach.

You have to focus on what’s really important and practice those skills.

I know when I shifted my focus to the big picture, the results were a lot better and a lot more consistent.

Here’s what I learned.

To pull effectively, there are two key skills you need to execute-

  • Set up the stroke

  • Pull straight back

That’s it.

If you can perform those two skills reasonably well, you’re going to improve your pull.

If you want to learn ANY skill, the fastest and most effective way to learn that skill is to FEEL it.

Getting the FEEL of the pulling movement can be difficult.

If you’re lucky, simply performing exercises in the water like the one below will get the job done.

Because the pull is complicated, and it’s a really unnatural movement for most people, many need a little more help.

So, to improve your pull, you need to find a way to feel the key components of the pull.

Here’s how to do it.

Setting Up The Stroke

When your hand enters the water, it’s moving forward.

To pull effectively, you need your hand is going to need to be moving backward.

All that ‘setting up the stroke’ entails is reorienting your arm so that the hand goes from pointing forward to pointing down, and facing backwards.

You may see or hear some complicated explanations, but that’s all it really is.

Here’s what it looks like.

Just keep it simple and reorient the arm.

Fortunately, you can practice this movement ANYWHERE.

It’s really easy to practice in the pool between repetitions.

More on that in a bit.

Pulling Straight Back

Once you’ve set up the stroke, you just have to pull back.

Sounds simple, but the execution can be difficult because it doesn’t necessarily FEEL like you think it would.

The solution is to put your arms in the right position and get a feel for the action.

Here’s how to do it.

The focus is on getting in the position you establish when setting up the stroke, then applying backward pressure.

It’s really useful for FEELING what it’s like to pull straight backward.

Pay attention to the muscles you feel working and the pressure you feel on your forearm and hands.

Applying These Ideas

How do you use these exercises for the biggest impact?

Perform them BEFORE every repetition.

Spend 10 seconds ‘Setting up the Stroke’ or performing ‘Wall Pull’.

Then swim and try to create the same sensations, regardless of what you’re doing.

Then repeat.

Keep playing with the different sensations until you get it to click.

The closer you get to replicating the sensations, the better, and any progress is a big win.

Be patient and focus on FEEL.

Get Started

How do you make this work in the water?

Check out the sets below for some ideas about how to implement these ideas into your next practice session.

Regardless of HOW you decide to put it to work, remember the key concepts-

Integrate these exercises BETWEEN swimming repetitions, so you can FEEL what you need to do, and then make it happen.

In my next couple newsletters, I’ll show you more simple strategies you can use to improve your pull.

Whenever you're ready, there are 2 ways I can help you take your swimming to the next level:

1. If you’re looking for do-it-yourself solutions to improve your swimming, check out my resources Freestyle Made Simple and Addressing Adult-Onset Swimming.

2. If you want a more personalized learning experience, we can work together to analyze your stroke or develop a technical training plan.

Exit the water...


Recent Posts

See All

Breathe Easy For As LONG As You’d Like

Doing drills is not going to lead to bulletproof breathing that holds up while racing. It’s not enough to just do some drills and call it good. You need a plan to be able to sustain great breathing fo


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page