Most swimmers and coaches find a use for their paddles almost every day. Until recently, there were fewer variations of style one could choose when purchasing their equipment. FINIS has released a number of hand paddles that have challenged all of our expectations when it comes to pulling and training.
When making their paddles, FINIS chose to steer away from the traditional formula of creating a surface that was bigger and more obtrusive than previous designs. Instead, FINIS has found value in creating products that serve to teach the use of proper technique. Across the entire line you will find that the majority of the paddles are not much larger than the contour of the hand and arm, which reduces the risk of injury and does not compromise a swimmer’s “feel” of the water.
First, the ever popular Agility Paddles have changed the way that coaches look at pulling. Their strapless design has taken the swimming world by storm and has earned FINIS the Red Dot Design Award in 2013. The Agility Paddles are extremely durable and do not require any time to adjust bands or straps in between sets, so coaches can ask their swimmers to slide them on and off on short rest intervals. Although their original release consisted of only one size, strong demand for both smaller and larger paddles was satisfied just a few months later. The strapless design requires the user to maintain pressure on the palm of the hand throughout the entire catch or else run the risk of having the paddle slide off the side of the hand. An early catch is critical to becoming a great swimmer across all four strokes, making the Agility Paddles an extremely useful training tool.
Next, the PT Paddles help the swimmer construct the other portion of the catch by taking away the “feel” on the hand and encouraging an Early Vertical Forearm (EVF). The ability to catch water with the forearm is a critical step in becoming a great swimmer. The rounded surface of the paddle sheds water rapidly from the palm and requires the user to catch water from the elbow, down.
The Forearm Fulcrums are not a paddle in the traditional sense, in that they also do not add an additional pulling surface. Similar to the PT Paddles, they encourage the use of a high elbow and EVF by locking the wrist into a single plane with the forearm. The power generated from the catch here is entirely from the use of your own pull, which serves to help the swimmer “feel” the correct placement of the arms. The Forearm Fulcrums are useful for all four strokes and can also be used one side at a time to help distinguish between stroke techniques.
Finally, the Fulcrum Hand Paddles are the closest thing to a “traditional” pulling paddle that FINIS offers. Although there is a broad pulling surface around the fingers and hand, there have been a few alterations made that make this paddle unique. While using this paddle, you will find that a portion of the pulling surface reaches passed the wrist and down along the sides of the forearm. This, once again, encourages the user to reach with their fingertips pointed downwards and to engage the forearm and lock the wrist. Pulling using proper technique and a high anchored elbow will help reduce joint strain and avoid many of the injuries that large paddles are too often responsible for.
In conclusion, FINIS offers a number of tools to keep you fit, healthy, and swimming smarter. Whether you are swimming for fitness or for Rio 2016, the products at FINIS will help you maximize your potential and truly enjoy the sport of swimming. Swim Better, Swim Often, Train Smarter. FINIS.
I love Finis. I use and even sell their paddles. I encourage people to check out the stroke specific paddles and FinWings, and Ankle stretchers etc. at CompetitiveSwimmer.com. Our newest paddles, both in arm version and hand version are called Thornton Paddles, named after Nort Thornton who taught us that pulling with the ring and pinky fingers balances the stroke and engages the rear deltoids and lats in ways straight pulling dominated by the index and middle fingers does not. I encourage you to try our bent FAST paddles that force you to rotate (too big to pull with your shoulders alone). We encourage you to try our reversible paddles which are designed to annoy you if your drop your… Read more »