Sculling is a useful skill for all ages and abilities to learn and continue to refine. Sculling can initially be taught as a swimming safety skill, allowing you to stay afloat in a horizontal position. However it is also the basic skill which builds the foundation of all strokes and many other techniques.
Being able to produce the maximum amount of force with the hand is what many coaches refer as 'feeling the water'. In swimming technique sessions, sculling drills can help you increase your feel for both the water and your hand positioning, improving your catch position and your stroke power as a result. Creating maximum power with correct technique and minimising effort expended develops efficient strokes.
Drills and activities for practicing and improving sculling are suitable for all levels of swimmers.
Tips for sculling technique:
- Angle palms out, with thumbs pointing slightly down and little finger leading outward (outward sweep)
- Then angle palms in with the thumbs leading inward and slightly upwards (inward sweep).
- Apply equal pressure against the water for both the outward and the inward sweeps, with hands angled at 45 degrees
- Keep your upper arms reasonably still and allow the hands and forearms to move outwards and inwards in relaxed, smooth but firm, continuous movements.
- It is important to remember the back of the hand faces the direction you wish to travel in.
- Fingers should be relaxed, rather than squeezed tightly together and your hand relatively flat rather than cupped.
Moving your arms and hands in a sweeping motion is very important for sculling.
Activities and drills for sculling technique:
-Sculling while treading water, in an upright position
-Stationary sculling, floating flat on your back without kicking.
-Head first sculling, while floating on your back and fingertips tilted towards the surface of the water and without kicking
-Feet first sculling, while floating on your back and fingertips are pointed towards the bottom of the pool. Ensure your feet are together and not kicking, as this will propel you in the opposite direction.
-Front sculling, while horizontal on your front with your arms directly out in front of you and elbows slightly bent. To move forward, tilt your forearms and palms backwards towards your body and move your hands in an figure of eight motion.
Sculling while propelling yourself forward can be tough, as you’ll need the strength to meet the force of the water’s resistance against your body. To help reduce this resistance, ensure your body is as flat as possible in the water. If you find your legs sinking, try using a pullbuoy to keep them afloat.
Sculling is a great activity, with so many benefits for water safety and swimming technique for all strokes. Developing your feel for the water can be fun and improve your swimming all round.