A bugbear of mine whilst swimming at my pool is people who use hand or finger paddles! Personally I just don’t see the point of them, and the use of them by swimmers on a Sunday morning lane swimming session really annoys me…!
I understand what they are used for, swimmers can increase their (stroke) strength by using them. However I strongly feel that they are counter productive (especially for a Sunday morning swimmer, who judging by their body-type does not undertake any other form of strength or conditioning training!).
- Firstly, you will never be able to use them during any event or race
- The sudden added resistance could potentially cause an injury in the very complex shoulder joint
- Your technique changes when wearing/using them, but will that really benefit your stroke when you don’t have them on? (I can see people just slipping back to their usual technique when not using them!)
- It could mask (and even promote) a poor technique because your times are good due to the extra force they create…
Personally I feel that casual swimmers simply use them as an ego boost at the pool, and it really bugs me when lane swimming in a busy pools’ fast lane that those users don’t space themselves, insisting on banging into my feet for the few lengths (at a time) they wear these things for. It doesn’t prove anything, and for the rest of the swim I simply adjust my stroke or starting space accordingly so as not to impact on their swim (as generally I am faster than them over a sustained swimming distance).
For me it is far more important and sensible to work on several stroke techniques, one for powerful strokes to sprint or create extra lift when you need to, and one for endurance and efficiency, keeping energy in the arms whilst maintaining a decent pace over distance. To enable me to develop my power I have been supplementing my swimming with a varied strength and flexibility training program, which is seeing real positive gains in the pool/lake/sea whilst greatly restricting any injury issues…
I’m no expert, but I’m starting to dread my pool sessions because of these people… I hope they aren’t out in force tomorrow morning!
Rant over… 😉
P.S. I would love to hear what swimmers reading this think, please leave a comment… do you use paddles? 🙂