Endless lengths in training with paddles could be doing you more harm than good, especially if you have technique flaws in your stroke. But judicious use of paddles can help identify and correct flaws in the catch and pull phase of your stroke. Which paddles should you be using if you want to do more than just strength and power work? Here are our three favourite types of paddle for technique work.
These strapless paddles just have a thumb hole to keep them in place and rely on you having a good catch to stay on the hand due to water pressure. They also provide feedback on any lateral movement of hand and help you engage your forearm for the pull.
These are the long triangular shaped paddles with pointy ends and a ‘keel’ on the bottom. Use only the middle finger strap to hold in place and don’t curl your fingers around the edges. These provide feedback on alignment issues such as thumb first entry or hand in front of head. They also assist with good catch mechanics due to their shape.
Sculling or finger paddles
These are the small, half-moon shaped paddles (available from several brands). Fit over the fingers only. These are effective paddles to help train catch initiation.
See Fiona Ford’s Paddle to perfection for two training sessions to fine tune your catch using paddles.