How to Master Swimming Starts With The Slingshot – Video

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

Slingshot Starts (courtesy of The Race Club, a SwimSwam Content partner)With the introduction of the back footplate on the swim starting blocks in 2008, the dynamics of the technique of starting changed. Swimmers and coaches quickly learned that during swimming starts considerably more force could be applied by the creation of a more favorable surface angle for the back foot with the plate, similar to the start of a track sprint race.

At The Race Club, we tested the speed of our Olympic swimmers to 15 meters with and without the back footplate and found that by using the back plate with a sling-shot starting technique, the swimmers’ times decreased by .1-.3 seconds.

In this Race Club Swimisode, you will see Olympian Rebecca Soni and World-class freestyler Zach Hayden demonstrate how to use the sling-shot start with the back foot plate. The head and body position, the degree of pull back and the tension on the upper arms are critical to getting the best possible start.

Getting off to a great start is an important way to begin a race. No one wants to play catch up after the breakout.

Enjoy this Swimisode and learn how to explode off of the starting blocks and get going in The Race Club way.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

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The Race Club, logoThe Race Club provides facilities, coaching, training, technical instruction, video, fitness and health programs for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Race Club swim camps are designed and tailored to satisfy each swimmer’s needs, whether one is trying to reach the Olympic Games or simply improve one’s fitness. Our programs are suitable for beginner swimmers, pleasure swimmers, fitness swimmers, USA swimming or YMCA swimmers, or triathletes; anyone who wants to improve swimming skills. All of our Race Club members share an enjoyment of being in the water and use swimming to stimulate a more active mind and body.

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5 years ago

Almost reminds me of USRPT… Implementing what everyone has been doing for years, and then coining a new term and claiming it’s new and revolutionary.

Is there an e-book we can buy on this? Lol

Reply to  John
5 years ago

Great comment John. With no history, background or experience in the sport, Gary Hall Sr. should just keep his mouth shut…..he has no idea what he’s talking about.

Jack Baker
Reply to  John
5 years ago

Gary Hall Sr. has excellent and useful resources for swimmers to utilize. There are too many occasions where most age group coaches don’t work on starts – and kids are left to imagine how they should be done. Considering that 60% of a SC race time is influenced by the start, underwaters, and turns, who cares what it’s called as long as it helps a swimmer. Dr. Hall is also great at discussing the relationships between power and drag – and how – as you grow older – drag becomes a detriment to the swim stroke. Also – why criticize USRPT John? Maybe you should research it more – maybe you should implement it – maybe you will come around… Read more »

Reply to  John
5 years ago

I’m not quite sure what basis your comment is made on. He’s not saying it’s new, or that he made it up. He’s simply trying to share his knowledge (and get some exposure for the Race Club).

5 years ago

No one said he doesn’t know what he is talking about nor about the effectiveness of it.

It’s nothing new, just rehashed.

And I’m not sure why I’m even replying to someone that defends USRPT…lol later

Reply to  John
5 years ago

You’re right about the USRPT rehash. The old videos of George Haines training Mark Spitz and company at Santa Clara High School that were posted this past year on Swimswam pretty much show that he was doing back in the 1960’s what we now call USRPT. You’re also right about the slingshot being around for ever. As for Dr. Hall, well, he was the 1960’s/early 1979’s version of Ryan Lochte to Spitz. Dr. Hall was one of the greatest all around swimmers of his era (fly, back, IM, middle distance free), who arguably would have been heralded as the greatest all around swimmer of his time if it weren’t for Spitz. Plus, he also did a high 26 in the… Read more »

5 years ago

As a self-coached Master’s swimmer, I really appreciate this tutorial from an extremely reliable source. I haven’t had the opportunity to use these blocks yet, but I’m sure they’ll start popping up at more meets. It’s good to have the knowledge before you get there.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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