Think back to the first time you put a paddle on your hand. You were probably overwrought to see a piece of plastic bigger than your own head strapped to your hand with a series of intricate rubber tubing. Maybe you even had a moment where you thought you would actually live out your childhood dream of becoming a Transformer with the added plastic to your body weight. After the imaginations were over and you advanced as a swimmer, though, you probably found yourself becoming frustrated with the cables breaking or the hassle of quickly switching from pull to swim when completing a tight interval set.
Over the years, the evolution of the paddle has become more focused on technique rather the size of the paddle. Paddles with a large surface area are not designed for all swimmers. Most swimmers need a paddle to help them build strength while maintaining good technique but when swimmers have to crank through the water to make a tight interval, technique is usually the first to go. Injury is also a common result of using the wrong paddle design, size and even when doing strokes other than freestyle. As a result, paddles should not generally be labeled as “one size fits all”.
There is a solution for a paddle that is currently a universal size. FINIS created the strapless Agility Paddle that takes away almost every negative aspect of a typical paddle: the straps, the excessive surface area and the poor technique. The Agility Paddles are contoured to the natural shape of the hand with a comfortable thumbhole. Because of the strapless design, swimmers must maintain a positive pressure “palm positive” against the water and encourages the early vertical forearm position. Furthermore, the paddle is designed for technical training and physical conditioning in all four strokes.
Olympian and current African record holder, Jason Dunford, said it best; “The Agility Paddles really help me focus on perfecting my arm catch during the stroke cycle. Due to the strapless nature of the paddles it’s necessary to maintain positive pressure to keep the paddle from moving off my hand. This ensures that my stroke is creating forward motion at all times during my catch phase and maximizes efficiency. Unlike other less technical paddles these are molded perfectly to fit the hand. They allow me to maintain a natural feel, meaning I can better practice the mechanics of my stroke.”
Gone are the days of comparing paddle size, as many coaches prefer swimmers to learn proper technique to yardage in the pool. Paddles should enhance the strength and stroke of an athlete and not harm or compromise the stroke.
Try adding this quick set to your next workout with the Agility Paddles:
- 2x (4 x 100 Free + 2 x 50s Choice)
- 100’s on 1:30 interval at strong pace
- 50’s on 50 sec interval
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Can hardly wait to have my team give these a try. I have not used a strap on paddles for 20 years !
I took the wrist straps off my strokemakers paddles when I first got them eight years ago. I tied them together and use them to secure my ankles on pull sets. The Agility paddle looks to be the next step in the evolution that started back then with myself following the guide of Ron Turner and whomever else was ditching the wrist strap. Can’t wait to try a pair.
I was always forced to use the strokemakers without a wrist strap, but it was still pretty easy for me to cheat by tightening the finger straps way up or by using my big hands to grip the paddle. There is no cheating with these. I was lucky enough to test them during development and they are awesome!