A swim "paddle" that removes your grip on the water.
A good tool to add to your swim toolbox that provides immediate feedback for an improved catch.
We all know the benefits and the importance of a good catch when it comes to swimming. A good catch with an early vertical forearm is essential to developing and maximizing an efficient swim stroke. The Palm Paddle is a swim tool that is designed to help you do just that, improve your catch by helping you develop that early vertical forearm type of catch.
The Palm Paddle is really more of an anti-paddle by comparison, in that it removes some of the "feel" for the water that most paddles enhance. Rather than giving you a larger surface area to pull with, the Palm Paddle reduces that surface area. The Palm Paddles are roughly the size of a large bar of soap and that's what they remind us of when we have them in hand. The paddles have a rounded off profile that makes the grip you typically feel with your hand very elusive to come by.
The paddles use a single silicone strap that secures (sort of) the paddle to your hand.
The instability of the paddles is actually by design as a way to force you to have correct form. The paddle will slip off to the side of the hand if/when you move the hand through the water incorrectly. This makes for something that we wish we could get with all the "tools" we buy...instant feedback. When you maintain good form and a consistent pull the paddles stay in place and become a part of your hand.
The paddles do take a little getting used to at first, but for most people it will be a very brief learning curve. The first few sets will probably feel a little weird but it's certainly nothing major.
The main thing to remember is to correctly position the paddle in the palm and leave your hand open in a normal position.
Resist the urge to grasp the paddle.
We've all done the fist drill before at the pool. It's a good drill for removing the "feel" for the water from the palm and forcing you to concentrate on pulling with the forearm. The problem with the drill is that it also forces you to place the hand in an unnatural position. The palm paddle allows you to perform the drill while keeping the hand in the normal swimming position.
You may be asking yourself what the difference is between the Palm Paddle and and the similar Finis PT paddle. We knew it would come up so we asked Martin Hill the developer of the Palm Paddle the same question, his comments are below.
The significant difference between the PT paddle and the Palm Paddle is the ergonomic shape of the Palm Paddle - this is intentional.
The symmetrical shape of the Palm Paddle reduces the resistance or feel for the water - much the same as the PT paddle - to help improve the catch and achieve an early vertical forearm position.
However, the symmetrical shape ensures that the swimmers hand is retained in the correct position for swimming as the hand naturally curves around the paddle, rather than against a large, flat and unnatural surface.
A second major difference is that the Palm Paddle is retained on the hand by a single strap that is attached to the middle finger, again a design feature and unlike the PT paddle (this is something that I would recommend for all swim paddles). This single attachment means that the swimmer is forced to makes the correct hand movement throughout stroke otherwise the Palm Paddle will slide out of the palm. The swimmer therefore has constant feedback whilst swimming if not performing the stroke correctly - and this applies from. the initial hand entry through to the final exit.
The PT paddle almost encourages a longer, slower stroke whereas the Palm Paddle, being comfortably retained in the hand, can be used by all types of swimmer.
The thing that takes the most getting used to, the single attachment point, is also the thing we like most about the Palm Paddle. The single attachment gives the paddle a bit of a squirly feeling, but also more than any other paddle we've used, forces you to maintain good form.
For triathletes who do not come from a swimming background (the vast majority), we really like how the paddles emphasize an early catch. We feel like the Palm Paddles do a good job of encouraging an early pulling motion at the top of the stroke, a place where many swimmers are tempted to push down instead of pulling back.
At the upper end when you consider conversion and shipping. A little over $30 USD if our conversion skills are accurate. Only available at www.completefitnesscoaching.co.uk
TriBomb Bottom Line
Whether you use the Palm Paddles in your main set or during your warm up/cool down sets to ingrain good form, these paddles make a nice addition to the swim bag.