Freestyle Underwater Pull Series: Phase II

The Front Quadrant Propulsive phase of the freestyle pull occurs when the hand reaches the 3 o’clock position on the 2 foot underwater circle and continues until the 6 o’clock position. During this phase the hand stops acting like a wing, applying downward force for lift and suddenly changes directions and accelerates backwards.

13 Responses to Freestyle Underwater Pull Series: Phase II

  1. Triman 70.3

    Great video series – been swimming for 40 years and coaching for 25 and still learned some new things. Keep it up!!!

    • Garyhallsr

      Thanks…appreciate your interest in our series. Gary Sr.

  2. Nancy Machinist

    When to engage the core rotation to maximize the power of the stroke? This video makes it very clear that the rotation really begins only when the shoulder is in the positive position post lift phase. This way the power from the core explodes directly into the pull and is not wasted earlier during the lift quadrant. Breaking the stroke down into quadrants really helped me visualize the correct timing and speed of the rotation as a function of the shoulder position and initiation of the pull. Practicing this one armed with slow , mindful awarenes of the relationship between shoulder, hand, and torso position as the stroke proceeds through its four quadrants is really exciting- if you are the kind of person who gets excited about method and technique, this series is for you!!  Thanks Coach Gary. 

    • Garyhallsr

      Timing is everything…..even and especially in swimming! Gary Sr.

    • Timothy Allen

      This is really good stuff and confirms the way I teach my juniors. The terminology is different but the main idea is even more expansive…great stuff Coach Hall. I like to always promote “swing and turn” both on back and free…teaching inertia is huge because it all fits into the “timing” stuff you talk about. As far as “Phases” or breakdown its important to understand the movement of the shoulder joint…the actual movement that’s so important is “Medial Rotation” and “Adduction” with proper hand position. Strength does just not come solely from the core and it comes much from shortening your “resistance arm” ( measuring muscular attachments, ligaments etc ie. Tommy John surgery)where you are not swimming with straight arm pulling. Arm wrestlers go by these same principles we talk about in swimming..tork,rotation, shortening R arm..very interesting stuff….Love reading your posts Coach Hall….it so much helps learning or considering different ways of thinking or adding good ideas into the mix…People have no idea how much technique and theory go into this stuff lol…cheers TA

  3. nancy

    I happened to run into this video online. This video really helps me effectively teach my son’s freestyle technique. Thank you, Coach Gary.

  4. Jenelle

    These videos are great. Very scientific approach. But alas, I’m an adult learning to better my swim for triathlons. What is the motion I should think about in my shoulders & supporting muscles when I swim the free? I’m trying to figure out if a high elbow/ EVF is an end result/ consequence of something that I need to do in my shoulders. What role does the shoulder area play in relation to the entry phase of the freestyle swim? Thanks and keep sharing. We are listening!

    • Gary Hall Sr.

      Hi Janelle,

      Setting up the underwater pull correctly is extremely important. One must internally rotate the shoulder slightly in order to maintain a high elbow position. Yet with good body rotation, this motion also requires having good extension capability of the shoulder. Try doing this with one arm only, keeping the elbow at or near the surface to get a better sense of the correct pulling motion.

      Gary Sr.

  5. Maggie

    I am a swimmer that’s ten years old. This video really helps me understand the lift phase and propulsive phase. I have learned when to rotate and when there is least drag/resistance. I have learned many great things that are very important from this video.
    Thanks Coach Gary for improving me! :)

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  8. John Thomas

    I like the way you talk about quadrants. When instructing I talk about rotating onto the arm in the front quadrant, driving it into the water from a high elbow recovery( like you emphasis in boxing gloves drill). With the rotation on to this arm entering in the water going into a weak phase, the rotation of the opposite shoulders out of the water uses gravity to bring the arm into the next quadrant, where it can be pulled back with more strength. Hands entering correctly in front quadrant will form tip vortices when clean don’t you think. You are a big help with all your stuff. Using your breaststroke instruction last season had one of my 11 year old boys drop 7 sec to get a top 20 time in the 50 breast.

  9. Gary Hall Sr.

    Thank you, John. Glad to hear we helped your young breaststroker. The vortices form when a non-streamlined object moves through the water (or air). The less streamlined the object and the faster it moves, the larger the vortex. The hand is actually moving forward when it first enters the water and mostly pointing forward….very little drag in this position. Once it starts to move backward (about 1 foot in front of the shoulder) we want to create as much drag (propulsive) as possible.


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