With the release of the Agility and Instinct strapless hand paddles, it is clear that FINIS has found some advantages in producing paddles without the traditional elastic straps. Coaches and swimmers who have not had the experience of swimming with these training aids will ask us what the benefits of using this type of paddle are. Following the old adage of "if there is one question, there are bound to be more people with the same one", we hope to provide a few examples as to why swimmers will benefit from using these paddles. So why strapless? Doing without the straps reduces the opportunity for one to swim with incorrect form. If there are errors in hand entry, positioning, a low elbow, or any general loss of contact with the water against the palm, the paddle will become dislodged and provide instant feedback to the user. We call this method of training remaining "palm positive", which essentially means continuously pulling water throughout the entire stroke cycle.
Can I swim other strokes besides freestyle? Yes, absolutely. There is something to be learned from strapless paddles in every stroke, as the different motions have their own set of common errors or dead spots in the catch. Only a slight pinch by the thumb is needed to carry the paddles over the water during the recovery, otherwise the hand should always remain relaxed. Gripping onto the edges of the paddles during use defeats the purpose of relying on the catch to hold them in place.
What's the difference between the Instinct Paddle and the Agility Paddle? The Instinct Paddle was brought to life after we experienced a great deal of success with the Agility Paddle. The molds are fairly similar through the fingers and thumb hole, although the Instinct does not cover the palm at all.
The reason for this is that the sculling movement was slowed or altered too much by the added surface area. The Instinct is just wider than the fingers, meaning they will heighten the sensation of the water without grabbing enough to minimize the "feel" against the palm. The Agility Paddles are better suited for swimming motions, although both can be used in either case as needed.