Basic breastroke technique instruction for beginners and improvers, what you need to know to get started using known practices

Basic breastroke technique/ introduction

We shall first go through a general over view of basic breastroke technique, how my page about basic breastroke technique can help you achieve your swimming goals. You may be rusty and have not been swimming for some time or you may be a complete beginner whatever reason you have taken the first big step by reading my page.

You should first make sure you are comfortable in the water and you are in a depth that does not make you feel nervous, dip your shoulders in and get a feel for the water. This could take a minute of two of several minutes but who is counting? Always make sure that you enter and exit the pool safely. Either by the steps or sitting and lowering yourself into the water from the side of the pool.

Now if you are frightened of the water believe me you are not alone, most people who are learning to swim have certain fears which need to be overcome. Sometimes people think that they will sink to the bottom of the pool not realizing that the water will support you. Fear is a very miserable feeling which could be the result of a bad experience you may of had, lack of knowledge or maybe listening to stories people may have told you. You will soon learn that the water will support you no matter how deep you are if you let it. I do understand when beginners do not always believe me when I say that no matter how deep the water is it makes no difference when floating or sinking. Don’t worry as you get more relaxed and confident it will come to you.

A skill should be gradually built up in stages little by little and not rushed to learn too quickly, make your goals easy and achievable so that you are not put of before you start. So you build on a skill using successive progressions and breaking down a skill helps you to understand what as well as why you need to do a certain skill in a particular way. Please try not to give up trying the first skill, you will either pick this up quickly or you gradually progress until you achieve your goal. Just give it time and practice. Basic brestroke technique/ If you want to read about breastroke swimming in more technical detail click onto this link to view my page about breastroke swimming

Basic breastroke technique/ push and glides

If you have read any of my other pages you will probably find that most of them talk about push and glides. Push and glides are very useful especially when you are learning to swim, they help you to achieve a good body position in the water as well as help to build your confidence. So let’s get started, first you will need two hand floats and a woggle. Basic breastroke technique/ click on this link if you are not familiar with hand floats and woggles to view my page about swimming equipment which includes


Click on this link if you are familiar with this equipment and wish to purchase floats or other pieces of swimming equipment from the fun swim shop Hold one float in each hand and place the woggle under your arms like it is demonstrated in the photograph, as you can see in the photograph you are completely supported by the floats you are also balanced because you have a float in each arm.

You now need to put one foot against the pool wall, then begin to push off the wall, as you push off put the other foot against the wall and continue to push until your legs are straight.

Keeping your legs straight glide across the pool until you run out of momentum this could be 1-5 meters depending on your confidence, how hard you push, and how strong and long your legs are. To put your legs down simply push down on your hand floats under the water then bend your knees at the same time this will cause your legs to come underneath you then put your feet on the floor.

Don't worry if you have problems with this sometimes it takes a few tries until you feel confident with it, if you are new to swimming basic breastroke technique, it does feel a bit unnatural but keep practicing until you feel happy and confident with this. You could ask a friend to stand in front of you about 2-3 meters away to catch you and then gradually increase the distance until you can do it on your own.

Basic breastroke technique/ legs

Before we start I would like to reflect on breastroke legs, this part of the basic breastroke technique is the most difficult and even when the legs are moving in the correct direction you can still not be moving at all. Why? because the feet are pointing in the wrong direction which I will talk about in more detail. I always demonstrate this in my adult swimming lessons showing two different leg actions one with feet not pointing out and the other with. This emphasizes the importance of a very small movement of the feet makes all the difference to the stroke. It takes some practice but is worth it. When you have it correct you know because you can feel the kick and you will move. If you are doing it wrong your legs will sink and you will not move across the pool. Make sure you persevere with the legs before moving onto the arms because you may feel like you are progressing, your arms are a lot easier to do because they are being performed in front of you but what happens that your arms will then compensate for legs. There are a lot of swimmers who swim like this for years but do not realize that their legs are moving behind them without creating any propulsion.

I do hope that I have not put you off, but this will offer you some degree of comfort if you find that you are struggling with the legs, most people do and it can take weeks to prefect the basic breastroke technique unless you are an unknown natural which I have met from time to time. So to begin with you will practice your legs against the wall, simply hold the side of the pool and bringing your legs up. Then you can practice your breastroke legs. Start with your legs straight and together knees and ankles touching, you start and finish in this position. If you are not to sure then look at the next photograph which illustrates holding the wall and the start position.

The next phase of basic breastroke technique the breastroke legs is to bring your legs up towards your chest whilst opening them at the same. This is the point when you point your feet out as you can see in the photograph they are turned out and facing the opposite direction of your body ready to push you forward, this is the point which I warned you about. Make sure your feet are out turned or you will not move at all. This part of the leg action is called the recovery phase. Look at the photograph below and see for yourself what I am explaining in this phase.

The next phase of the leg action is called the propulsive phase, this is the part of the stroke gives you your propulsion forward as long as your feet are pointed out. You simply now kick your legs out by straightening your legs keeping them apart no wider than your hips not to cause any drag. To see a demonstration have a look at the photograph below. Remember that this is the propulsive part of the leg action so you will need a nice hard kick to propel you forward.

The final part of the leg action is to simply bring your legs back together ankles and knees touching, now you should be back in the position that you started. This part of the leg action is also part of the propulsive phase so make sure that you bring your legs together at the end so that you are not creating drag. There is no photograph for this because it is the same as the first leg action with your legs together.

When practicing the breastroke legs against the wall make sure that the legs are all one action rather than three separate actions I only explained it in separate parts to break the action down for you to make it easy to understand. When you get to the part of the leg action when the legs are straight you pause for one second so to create a glide across the water.

Make sure that you know and are used to this leg action before you move on to my next practice.

Basic breastroke technique/ leg action with floats

Once you have mastered kicking your legs holding the wall it's time to start swimming the breastroke legs with hand floats and maybe a woggle depending on how confident you are feeling. You can always start with maximum floats and loose floats as your confidence builds. Start yourself off with a push and glide as you glide start kicking your breastroke legs as you did against the wall, your legs should be behind you and at about a 45 degree angle from the surface of the water.

Don't worry if you do not move at all, this is quite hard to master to begin with although you may have perfected it against the wall. Don't be disheartened just keep on practicing until you start moving you will know when it is right because you will feel that push as you kick and you will move.

Look at the photographs below each photograph shows progressions from two floats and a woggle, two floats then one float. The last photograph is an alternative to floats showing kicking legs with just a woggle.

You could hold out arms for balance and glide or hold onto your woggle whichever feels most comfortable here I am keeping balanced with my arms outstretched whilst I kick breastroke legs.

I do hope that my page about basic breastroke technique has been of some benefit to you and you have enjoyed the experience of learning a new skill. This is only half of the stroke as you know you now need a full understanding of the arms to complete the stroke. My page about breastroke arms, putting the arms and legs together is the next stage you need to learn.

Good luck, Dale Dudley.


Click on this link to move to part two and learn breastroke arms and much more


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