Arm Recovery Drill


The first movement from the back of the stroke 

  1. Lift the elbow to do this use your front part of the deltoid (see link below)
  2. Keep your hand and forearm relaxed throughout the recovery
  3. Roll the shoulder around to set up your entry of the hand and forearm

HOw to Practice?

Practice this by just doing the recovery movement – Complete this one arm at a time with your other arm on a kick board or using a pipe.

STOP the arm at the end of the stroke - body rotated in the optimal position.

POP the elbow up and then drop back into the water.

Consider how you are lifting your elbow and the direction it is lifting. Elbow should be lifting straight up and the front of your deltoid should be helping to lift the elbow.

ROLL the elbow through the recovery.

Consider the width of the arm (wider is easier). Elbow leads the hand and forearm until you hand elbow is inline with your shoulder then let your hand and elbow come through to the entry BUT you must keep your shoulder high for the entry to be effective and to get a stronger catch!

Remember why we are doing this

  1. Relaxed recovery (low effort)
  2. High shoulder position
  3. Set up a high elbow entry position
  4. Separate your body rotation and arm movement (ie. Your body rotation opens up so you can drive your arm to the back of the stroke)

Key Points

  1. Wrist needs to face the front and fingers tips should be down and relaxed 
  2. Initiate the recovery by lifting the elbow rather than lifting your hand up and then swinging your arm from the outside in. this action generally creating a cross over at the front and in turn causes the shoulder to drop at entry for a weaker catch and pull position.
  3. The elbow leads through the recovery not the hand and forearm

Common Errors

  1. Swimmers tend to push the arm over their back (to the side of the pool) which makes the recovery movement more difficult.
  2. A swimmer can't separate the PUSH phase of the stroke from the start of the arm recovery
  3. Body rotation closes down to quickly through the recovery inhibiting the arm movement  through the recovery
  4. Not enough emphasis on the final 1/3 of the recovery – don’t drop the elbow or shoulder into the water once the hand passes the head - it needs to be stable!