This week at swimgym FEEL FOR THE WATER

Creating more propulsion is not just about adding more strength. It is about creating the right pressure on the water with your hands and forearms. This is what we call the feel for the water. Optimize the propulsion without using more power. The best way to do that...? Sculling! Lots and lots of sculling.

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Skills & drills Combination Scull

By doing this drill you will increase your feel for the water. The combination scull is a follow up drill after you learn how to scull in different positions. You start with the front scull, then move towards mid scull and end with back scull. Use a pullbuoy and snorkel.

How to do it 

  • Start in the front scull position with your hands shoulder-width in front of you, fingertips pointed slightly towards the bottom

  • In ten repetitions you move gradually to mid scull and the to the back scull position

  • After the final scull movement, push the water backwards and bring your hands back to the front

  • Repeat this movement until you reach the wall.

Focus points 

  • Maintain a steady tempo in your sculling movements to create enough propulsion

  • Fingertips pointed towards the bottom throughout the combination.

  • Focus on your hand position, there should be tension on your wrists

Coach tip

This drill requires some practice, but eventually you should understand what we mean with ‘feel for the water’. Only practice this drill when you have mastered the single scull positions. You will feel an increased propulsion in your stroke. 


pull buoy, snorkel


"Feel for the water" means you know how to create optimal propulsion without using any more strength than necessary. Sculling is a classic drill that will improve your feel. Swim the main set with minimal strength but proper technique and good stroke length for the best result.

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