Hand paddle

Example of a hand paddle

A hand paddle is a device worn by swimmers during training. It consists of a plastic plate worn over the swimmer's palm and attached over the back of the swimmer's hand with elastic cords. The plate is often perforated with a pattern of holes.

Handle paddles increase the resistance the hand experiences as it tries to move through the water during the effective part of the arm stroke - the part of the stroke described as the "pull".[1] This gives the swimmer considerably more forward propulsion from the arm stroke that does a naked hand, and affords an enhanced kinesthetic "feel" of the pull. 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.[1] If the hand catches or pulls at an incorrect angle, the increased resistance afforded by the hand paddle will exacerbate the result twisting moment, making the defect clearer to the swimmer.[2] The considerably increased load imposed by the hand paddle on the arm and shoulder can, however, lead to pain and an increased risk of injury, so coaches advise only limited use of paddles and that use be discontinued if the swimmer feels shoulder pain.[2][3]

Paddles are often used with pull buoys to build up arm strength.


The hand paddle was invented by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century.[4][5]

Types of paddles

Different types of paddles include:


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