Having described the importance of lateral arm actions in the water, as well as the overall strategies for effective sculling in previous articles, its time to get into how to actually practice sculling.
How should you scull? Great question. Just like you want to learn to scull in many different ways, there’s a lot of value to learning to scull in a lot of different positions. They are all useful and they’ll all have unique benefits. Some are better to start with, and some are more advanced. We’ll explore them all below.
It’s important to note that you may not have access to all of the options, and that’s to be expected. They’re all included because it’s difficult to know what options you will have access to. However, everyone is likely to have access to one.
Work with what you have and get better at sculling in whatever situation you can. Remember that each type of sculling is simply one component of one component of a whole system for improving your feel for the water. It’s the whole system that works, not any one particular task you might do.
Stationary sculling occurs when you’re simply standing in a shallow pool. You don’t need to worry about moving forward, floating, breathing, or anything else. You can focus solely on moving water back and forth. This is ground zero for learning how to scull.
Simply experiment with a wide variety of actions. Make them small and make them big, make them fast and make them slow, make them circular and make them linear, make them close to the body and make them far from the body, make them shallow and make them deep.
Regardless of how you move, try to create as much pressure as you can on your hands and forearms.
Because there is no concern for staying afloat or creating movement, you can really lock in on what you are doing and simply explore all of the options. If you find a sculling action that feels really good, you can spend more time there. If you find one that needs some extra attention you can spend more time there as well. There’s no pressure to do anything in particular.
Vertical sculling is similar to stationary sculling in that you don’t need to create forward motion. However, you now need to learn how to create enough pressure to support your body weight. You need to do enough to keep your head above the surface.
We’ve talked about feedback before in other articles. If you can’t keep your head above the water, that’s pretty good feedback that your sculling isn’t as effective as it could be! As compared to stationary sculling, there is more of a performance requirement which allows you to further challenge your sculling.
The great aspect of vertical sculling is that there seems to be some sort of primal component that prompts you do to ANYTHING you can to keep you head out of the water. This tends to promote effective sculling. Once you’ve figure out how to stay afloat, start experimenting with the different sculling styles below, while also working to reduce the panic factor!
For those that want to increase this challenge, they can add resistance in the form of a weight belt or holding some sort of weight between their legs. This will make it more difficult to keep the head about the water, requiring your sculling actions be that much more effective.
When you’re vertical sculling, be sure to try-
Sculling with your hands up at the surface
Sculling with your hands deep by your hips
Sculling with your hands anywhere in between
Sculling with the hands out wide to the side
Sculling with the hands narrow out front
Sculling REALLY slow
Sculling REALLY fast
Sculling with gradual transitions
Sculling with abrupt transitions
If you find an area that you have difficulty sustaining the pressure, spend more time there. It’s not a weakness, it’s an opportunity!
Don’t have a deep enough pool? There’s a solution. Simply go to deepest section of the pool you have. If that’s 4 feet deep, it should be good enough. Simply start by stationary sculling and then pull your feet off the bottom, tucking your knees to your chest. Now you’re sculling vertically!
If you’re slightly concerned about your ability to stay afloat while only sculling, this is also a great strategy for managing that fear. Vertical scull in the shallow end and simply put your feet down whenever you need to.
These two sculling variations are an awesome starting point because they allow you to work on your sculling skills without the distraction of making forward progress, or wondering why you’re not making progress! You can focus all of your attention on ensuring your key sculling skills are locked in.
Up next, we’ll focus on how you start using your sculling skills to move forward in the water.
Faster. Better. Easier.