Last week I spoke about hand position entry into the water viewed from the side. This week it is about the angle of your hand as it enters into the water.
Many of you will have heard me saying that you should be spearing the hand into the water with the middle finger tips first (above photo), not with the thumb. In times gone by many people were taught to enter the hand with the thumb first, as a smoother way to enter it into the water. Research has shown that this thumb first hand entry is the leading cause of shoulder pain & impingement in swimmers, especially if done excessively without good flexibility & mobility through the shoulders. So if you are getting some form of shoulder pain then potentially get someone to check your hand angle entry into the water. Below are a couple of examples of differing degrees of thumb entry which could lead to shoulder issues if not corrected.
A good drill to assist in eliminating thumb entry is the traditional single arm drill. I like to get my swimmers to do this with fins on so that they can focus on the stroke and not trying to stay afloat. You are swimming with one arm only and the non-stroking arm is extended out front of the body. With the stroking arm as it exits the water you turn the palm towards the body and keep it turned this way throughout the full recovery, entering the hand into the water with a nice clean fingertip entry.