FINIS Tip Of The Week: Feet First Sculling


Welcome to the “FINIS Tip of the Week.” Swimming World will be bringing you a topic that we’ll explore with drills and concepts for you to implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), each tip is meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s tip is feet-first sculling, a twist on normal sculling that develops body awareness, forearm strength, and control over buoyancy in the water.

Implied by the name, in this drill you are moving down the pool on your back in a feet first position. Your hands will be by your hips. That alone will throw most swimmers off their game. Reversing our normal direction of momentum in the water forces swimmers to rethink every aspect of what they are doing, most important of which is going to be actually moving down the length of the pool.

The key here is to relax and find your balance in the water before sculling yourself down the pool. You need to be aware of your head and body position to find a tall posture in the water with your core engaged. The actual sculling component of the drill is a great way to build forearm strength and work on the feeling of grabbing water early on in the pull.

The drill is traditionally done on your back, but you can also do it on your stomach using a snorkel. For an extra challenge, you can also try the drill with arms extended over your head.

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.