Touch Under the Arm Drill (TUA)

The recovery part of the stroke is important as the way the arm moves out of the water often reflects what happens in the water especially at the start of the catch. 


The touch under the arm drills is a great way to check that you are implementing the arm recovery correctly.

You to need to start by thinking about rolling the arms in a relaxed fashion through the recovery.  Popping the elbow up helps to achieve a higher shoulder position which in turn reduces the frontal drag part of the stroke (achieved with a low arm recovery and flat shoulder position).

FOCUS on the final 1/3 of the stroke - once you have TUA then hold a stable and high shoulder position to control the entry (don't just PLOP/DROP the arm into the water.

Physical Cues

  1. The thumb touching under the arm to ensure the arm is tracking forward not swinging from outside in
  2. Back of the hand relaxed and facing the direction you are swimming the whole way through the stroke recovery phase
  3. Make sure you use your body rotation to support this movement

Common Faults

  1. Try to keep the arm rolling through in a straight line - often this drill is hard to achieve if the the arm swings from the outside in
    •  As a result of a swinging arm there is a cross over at the front of the stroke
  2. Elbow dropping after passing the shoulder resulting in a couple of different things 
    • A flat arm entry
    • A slapping sound with the entry
    • A disengaged shoulder when it should be engaged as the arm perpares to start the entry/catch arm motion. 
  3. Body Rotation - You can't TUA if you have dropped your body rotation to early
  4. Pop the elbow up - You can't TUA if you have pulled your elbow over your back
  5. Lead the recovery with the elbow - You can't TUA if your hand is leading the recovery (low and flat)