Double Arm Catch Drill


  1. Float with both arms out in front @ shoulder width apart Elbows Up
  2. Ensure that you finger tips are below your wrist and wrist is below your elbows

As you start the motion

  1. Get your fingers tips down and palm pointing behind you
  2. Slowly move your hand and forearm to about 45deg (Make sure you elbow and shoulder stay stable)
  3. Then push to the end of the stroke driving this action from your hand and forearm rather than pulling your elbow to the end of the stroke
  4. SLOW to start the CATCH and the FAST as you PUSH through the stroke
  5. Finish in a soldier position with your hand in front or beside your thigh
    • This posture is over exaggerated but ensures a strong posture to finish the stroke

Look at the Parts of the stroke to further understand this

Image from:  

Image from: 

Key points

  1. High Elbow position to start with (as if you were going to get yourself over the lane rope)
  2. High elbow – pull & then push yourself forward
    • Every time you catch the water you need to try and bring your core up to your hand (like jumping over a fence)
  3. AIM to keep you head at the surface of the water in the position above throughout the motion which requires a strong core position
  4. Head position neutral – so don’t look up as you complete the double catch (like butterfly) you’ll create a lot of drag


  1. If you push down with your arms to start with your body goes up (not forward)
  2. If you scoop with a straight arm at the back of the stroke your body goes down
  3. If you lift your chest up as you bring your arms through the catch phase it will start feeling strong but you'll simply drop down (sink) in the water as you move through the pull/ push phase. 
  4. Don't pop your bum up as you drive through the Pull/Push phase this will drive you down under the surface of the water.
  5. Firm hand and forearm not the whole arm
  6. Stable shoulder position
  7. Try not to lead with the elbow creating a ‘whip type action’ which lacks the pressure on the water which is essential to develop the timing.

Use these points above to check that the forces you are putting on the water are driving you forward - you should finish with your body on the surface of the water just like how you started except your hands at your side! 

Quick Learnings

THE SCOOP – Up & Down Pressure

A scooping stroke pushes straight down under the body then scoops up in a ‘U’ Shape. There is small section in the middle of the stroke where you’ll be moving yourself forward but your main movements will be pushing the body up and down. A lot of the wrong type of pressure!

  • If you push down on the water to start the movement your body will go up but not forward
  • If you scoop through the stroke then at the back of the stroke you will be pushing water up not way from you so the body will be pushed down.

THE SWEEPER – Outside, In Pressure

“A sweeping stroke pushes water to the side of the body to start and then toward the body to finish – the movement is nearer the surface of the water. It will create some pressure on the water to move a swimmer forward but only in the first part of the stroke.

The Whip – Not much Pressure

The stroke movement is initiated from the elbow so there is very little pressure on the water as the hand and forearm go through the stroke. This is an invective stroke with very little pressure that has high arm turnover and creates very little distance per stroke.


There are also some swimmers that will use a combination of these tactics depending on their physical strength. Many swimmers can initiate the first movement correctly but half way through the stroke will change to a whipping action where they pull from their elbow rather than push like a tricep extension to the end of the stroke.

How to pull?

Learn more about the pull and the drag components created by the varying arm positions in the water. 



The transition to single arm is the next stage so make sure your read through the Catch Page. Remember the difference is that'll you need to use body rotation to generate power and let the arm flow through the back end of the stroke ie. don't lock up the shoulder or pause at the end of the stroke.