Problem: Straight-Arm Catch
The sequence to the left illustrates a single straight-arm catch. This arm motion levers the swimmer's body up, not forward.
A straight-arm catch does not get hold of the water until relatively late in the stroke. In the third shot of the sequence, the swimmer is just getting hold of the water - and his stroke is almost over.
To move forward, try to get hold of a spot in the water by getting your hand and forearm perpendicular to your direction of travel, as early in the stroke as possible.
Treat the catch and the pull as two distinct parts of the stroke. The earlier you catch the water, the longer your pull and the greater your distance per stroke. Work on getting your hand under your elbow before pulling back, while keeping your elbow close to the surface. When doing this, be sure to delay your pull until your recovering hand enters the water, and you begin to rotate onto the side away from your stroking arm.
You may have heard coaches or swimmers describing the early catch by saying it's like reaching over a barrel, or reaching to the back of a high shelf.
What does a good catch look like?
How do you correct this problem?
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