The hand paddle is a device worn by swimmers during training. It consists of a plastic board that is worn on the palm of the swimmer’s hand and attached to the back of the swimmer’s hand with a bungee cord. The hand paddles usually has a pattern of holes in it.
The swim paddle increases the resistance experienced by the hand during the effective part of the arm stroke, known as the “pull” part of the stroke. This gives the swimmer more forward propulsion during the arm stroke than the naked hand and provides a more dynamic “feel”. It also enhances the swimmer’s feel of the “catch”, the phase prior to the pull, where the hand turns from a streamlined position to grasp the water and begin the pull. If the hand catches or pulls at an incorrect angle, the increased resistance afforded by the hand paddle will exacerbate the resultant twisting moment, making the defect clearer to the swimmer. However, the hand paddle greatly increases the strain on the arms and shoulders, which can cause pain and increase the risk of injury, so coaches recommend only limited use of the hand paddle and that swimmers stop using it if they feel shoulder pain.
To get the most out of your paddle, you must make sure that the paddle helps to establish good underwater technique. Use a paddle without a wrist strap or side straps, regardless of brand, and use only the center main finger grip.