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How Sculling Will Help You Become A Better Swimmer

How Sculling

How Sculling

Updated on 7/11/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
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Perform The Following Drills To Help Enhance Your Overall Feel For The Water.

Try these drills to help improve your feel for the water

Try these drills to help improve your feel for the water

My introduction to the sport of sculling came about while learning how to be a lifeguard in high school.

Since I was the only lady in the class, I took it upon myself to master all of the different sculls taught to us by our instructor. I was the best student in the class at getting the technique. I was a slower swimmer than most of the lads, but I could scull forward, backward, spin, and even hold my legs straight out of the water in an inverted position.

When I first began instructing and coaching swimming, I spent significant time sculling forward and backward with my swimmers. Not only did it help me improve as a teacher, but it also made me more agile and bolstered my physical strength. I was very sure about my ability to scull with my small hands until I had a random brush with a turtle while scuba diving in the Cayman Islands. After that, I completely lost my confidence. The awkward land animal could get himself twenty feet away from me with just a couple of flicks of his flippers. I was some yards behind him, and despite my best efforts, I could not catch up to him.

After all of these years, what was I doing wrong, and what were some ways that I might improve?

What Exactly Is Sculling?

What is Sculling?

What is Sculling?

The motion of sculling is similar to sketching a figure eight with your hands since it involves a back-and-forth motion. Your shoulders should move very little, and your elbows should be completely relaxed the whole time. As you apply pressure on the water, make sure that your hands are facing in a direction that is somewhat perpendicular to the path that you would want to take. The most typical error that individuals make while rowing is that they produce a circular motion comparable to a little breaststroke pull rather than the figure eight.

Why Should You Sculling?

Why Should You Sculling?

Why Should You Sculling?

The best swimmers utilize their hands as an anchor in the water, allowing them to capture and retain the moisture while swimming. They don't move their hands as they swim through the water; instead, they let their bodies travel through the water without moving any of their hands. Imagine yourself in gym class when you were in elementary school, and you were climbing the rope using only your hands to make your way up to the gym's roof.

People who are new to swimming or swim inefficiently may not have as strong of an anchor, often referred to as a "feel for the water" by many swimming trainers. More often, their hands slide through the water rather than holding onto it. Your sensitivity to the feel of the water on your hands will improve if you include sculling in your training routine. You will learn to sense where to put pressure during the catch and pull so that it becomes more automatic while swimming.

How To Sculling For Maximum Efficiency

How To Sculling For Maximum Efficiency

How To Sculling For Maximum Efficiency

To get started, make sure you bring all of the necessary equipment to the pool with you. The use of a snorkel is beneficial to any sculling exercise. It enables you to swim the length of the pool with your head submerged in the water while maintaining a horizontal body position. Make sure to bring a pull buoy with you if you have a history of sinking in the water. My preference is not to have my swimmers kick when they are rowing because I want them to be able to feel any movement coming from their hands.

Maintain a comfortable posture with your shoulders, and keep your elbow movement to a minimum. If you move your hands and wrists in a figure eight motion as quickly as possible and flick or "push" the water toward your feet with your palms, you will advance toward the opposite end of the pool faster.

If you notice that you are bouncing about quite a bit, you should try to calm down and focus on your palms. You shake when your hands direct their energy down the bottom of the pool rather than toward your feet. It is possible to resolve the problem by slightly adjusting the orientation. When you move slowly, you may be pressing down on your palms during the out-sweep rather than the in-sweep, or vice versa. Each will move you forward, so you should take some time to concentrate on both.

When you incorporate a new sculling drill into your routine, you will be exercising muscles that you haven't trained before. Begin by performing a couple of sets of 25 reps, and then take a little break in between each group so that you can complete the exercises accurately and with the appropriate form. In between each set, switch things up by going for a long swim, and then after that, make a few more 25-meter sprints with a different kind of scull to build up your strength. Sculling is an excellent form of rehabilitation after a particularly challenging session and a beautiful component of a warm-up to acquire a feel for the water. It may even be used as part of a cool-down to reset your strokes after a strenuous exercise.

Having Trouble?

Trouble

Trouble

If everyone at practice appears to be leaving you yards behind, and you're having trouble moving around, there is an exercise that you can do at home that will help you.

Try your sculling technique again in front of a mirror using a sheet of white paper 8.5 inches by 11 inches. While standing in front of the mirror, place the form on your palm, and using a figure eight motion, scull back and forth over the paper. It is essential to remember that the action should come from your hand and wrist, not your elbow and shoulder.

If you are having difficulty at first, you might try moistening your fingertips or folding the paper in half. It would be best, to begin with, the hand you use most often and then go on to the other side. When you have mastered both sides, you should return to the pool to evaluate how much you have improved.

Product tested by Board and Kayak
Our Overall Review
4.5

Things we like:

  • Rubber sole
  • ANTI-SLIP OUTSOLE: The anti-slip rubber sole, with an ergonomically molded, protective toe guard.Excellent workmanship to prevent the seams around the toes fray and splitting within a short time.
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Things we don't like:

  • The rubber sole may wear down quickly with frequent use
  • The anti-slip outsole may not be as effective on extremely slippery surfaces
  • The wide toe design may not provide enough support for those with narrow feet
  • The lightweight and flexible construction may sacrifice durability
  • The drainage holes may let in small particles of sand or rocks
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Put Yourself In Danger

Sculling puts your body and hands

Sculling puts your body and hands

In practice, you could perform the same few sculling exercises repeatedly. These include the front scull, the windshield wiper scull (also known as the 90 degrees scull), the finished skull (also known as the hip skull), and the backstroke scull with your hands at your hips. Sculling puts your body and hands in an advantageous position, making it simple to learn and effective at propelling you forward through the water.

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Our Overall Review
4.7

Things we like:

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Things we don't like:

  • The swim cap may not be suitable for those with extremely long or thick hair
  • The swim cap may not provide a completely watertight seal, allowing water to enter in certain situations
  • Some users may find the swim cap to be too tight or uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time
  • The included ear plugs and nose clip may not fit securely or provide a perfect seal for all users
  • The selection of solid colors may be limited, potentially limiting options for customers
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If you want to improve your strength and efficiency, you need to experiment with various sculling techniques and body postures. It would be best to test with sculling feet first with your hands held over your head while resting on your front and back. You could want a pull buoy if you're not experienced in the water.

You can scull for the backstroke by lying on your side and moving one arm at a time. Do you notice a difference in how your dominant and other components feel?

The scull that I call the "traveling scull" is my favorite. In freestyle, I begin in the catch position and scull to the finish from the catch position. I work on both hands simultaneously and move carefully through the motions. If there is a place where I feel like I'm not holding the water as well on that particular day, I might linger there for six to eight sculls before moving on to the following location. When I get to the end, I recover in the water, similar to the breaststroke, and then I begin again.

At the beginning of my career as a sculler, I was successful at the standard sculling drills. After putting myself through a series of challenging sculling exercises in which I assumed a variety of body postures, I can now scull more quickly and with more strength. Even though I probably won't be able to keep up with that turtle again, I have gained much knowledge since the last time we met.