Catch Lesson

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    Admin Mediterra

    Where We Are Headed

    Let’s review the four essential features of the freestyle stroke we need to make sure are in place for you to experience the ‘magic’ of the stroke:

    1. The Torpedo Frame
    2. Long, firm Skate Position
    3. ‘Send Force Forward’ through the Recovery Arm Swing
    4. Optimal Arm-Switch Timing

    In the second lesson we worked on feature #3 and touched on feature #4. In this lesson we will build another piece of #3 and then tie it back into #4.

    In the last lesson we began to pull pieces of the stroke together – the recovery swing, entry and arm switch timing. When these come together they allow you to  ‘touch the magic’ – that moment you feel some acceleration in each stroke that comes from well-shaped, well-timed movements.

    To build upon the arm switch timing learned in the last lesson, we examined the catch (a.k.a. the underwater pull/push as it is known in the conventional swimming world). We call it the ‘catch’ and ‘hold’ because our orientation is about holding a point in the water and sliding the body forward, past that point. Our emphasis is on the body moving forward, not on pushing water backward.

    The Catch

    You may have been given one or both of these images/analogies to work with:

    • the ‘beach ball’ of water molecules (or ‘swiss ball’, or ‘pilates ball’ if you prefer)
    • the ladder under your body, parallel to the surface

    The beach ball of water molecules represents the pressure zone of water you create and direct with each underwater stroke. You form this pressure zone then send it under your body, especially under your hips and legs to help those ride higher in the water.

    The ladder gives you a directional grid to set the placement and trajectory of your movements. The two rails correspond to your two arm tracks, and your arms extend forward on that rail, and your catch holds that point on the rail; the rungs represent the point ahead where you set your catch (get a grip on the water); the depth of the imaginary latter determines the depth of your catch, where that pressure zone is created so that your body-frame can slide over it.

    The Catch Drills

    • standing rehearsal with catch shape
    • 1-Arm Drill (other arm tucked at the side)
    • Superman to Skate (with a weighted object in lead hand)
    • Swing Switch (two arms) with pause at Entry moment
    • Whole Stroke

    Focal Points

    • Set the catch
    • Hand stays on track
    • Elbow slide out and upward to make shape of arm
    • Touch the ball with entire forearm and palm
    • Hold the ball and rotate body past it
    • Press the ball straight toward the hip – hips rolls out of the way at last moment
    • Press the ball straight toward the toes – send the ball of water under hip and leg
    • Press on ball steadily
    • Catch hand and extending hand move (on their tracks) exactly opposite to each other, at approximately the same rate of speed
    • Hesitate ever so slightly after ‘Set The Catch’ in order to Load The Torso
    • Pull with hip (not with shoulder)

    The entry and extending arm is the main actor, while the catch arm is the supporting actor. Set a good catch and then focus upon sending force forward into your best Skate Position. The better your Entry, Extension and Skate, the farther you will slide forward on each stroke!

    There are more focal points for the Catch on our 101 Focal Points page as well as some demonstration of the 1-Arm drill on the Video Tutorial page.

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