Breastroke drills / introduction
Breastroke drills are important when learning or improving breastroke. So to practice certain aspects of your stroke separately by performing breastroke drills you will soon see an improvement. By using hand floats and kick boards you
can improve your stroke arms and legs one at a time. Breastroke is the best stroke to learn when you are and adult because you can easily swim the breastroke
with your head clear of the water throughout the stroke. This allows you to be able to see where you are going.
Click here if you are not sure what what a kick board/ float is to look at my page about swimming equipment which includes this equipment
Breastroke drills/click here is you need to purchase floats, kick boards or other peices of swimming equipment, the fun swim shop
Breastroke drills/ body position
Your body position should be as flat and as streamlined as possible allowing enough inclination from your head to your feet to allow the recovery of your
legs without bringing your lower legs out of the water. Remember to keep your shoulders parallel to the water surface.
Push and glides help you to maintain good body position keeping your arms in front of you as you push off the wall. Keep your face in the water as you
glide do not use your arms and legs to swim with. As you slow down put your legs back to the floor. You can use varations of this by adding a few strokes
if you like.
Breastroke drills/ legs
First of all we will look as improving the leg action by performing practices that promote strength and power to your leg action. I will go through the
practices one at a time and then look at the benefit and effect of each practice.
The first obvious practice will be performing is the leg action by holding the hand rail or wall on the side of the pool. Just remember the key points for
the leg action.
Legs are simultaneous
On the same horizontal plane
Heels drawn towards buttocks
Your leg kick is mainly propulsive
Recover your legs beginning with your legs extended
Flex your knees and lift your heels to your hips in recovery
Your toes will turn out at the end of recovery
Your legs will sweep out, down and follow a circular path
Increase the pressure on the water with your feet throughout propulsion
You could look at my page about breastroke swimming before you start
to check your technique to make sure you are doing the stroke correctly just in case you are trying to improve a technique that may be wrong. I only say
this because practice makes permanent. If you practice something wrong all the time you will always do it wrong so make sure you practice the correct
actions so that they are perfect.
Click here to look at my page about breastroke swimming technique
This practice will help you to concentrate on the leg action without swimming across the pool with and without floats. Thinking of your technique and
pointing your toes out.
Breastroke drills/ with hand floats
Using a hand float or kick board hold it in front of you either at the end or the side. Then kick your breastroke legs, this can be done with or without the breathing
but would be more beneficial with the breathing so that you have a rhythm of breathing if you are swimming for some time. As you bring your legs up for the recovery
is when your head drops under the water to breathe out. Then as you kick on propulsive phase you head rises and you breathe in. Then as you bring your legs together
you pause for the glide.
This will help you to improve your timing, glide and propulsion.
Another variation of this drill is to hold your float vertical in the water to create resistance in the water, which in turn will strengthen your leg action.
Lie on your back and swim breastroke legs with your arms dropping down underwater slightly with your legs kicking with inverted heels. As your heels
come up towards your buttocks you will touch your heels with your fingertips.
This practice promotes good hip flexibility, it also allows the feet to catch the water as well as developing the propulsive phase. If you have any difficulty
with this you could try lying on your back holding a hand float across your chest an kick your breastroke legs remembering to pause between each leg action to
allow for the glide.
Now you can try the same drill on your front, with your arms behind you straight. As you kick your legs they will come up to touch your finger tips.
This drill will increase your frontal resistance because you are increasing the angle at your thigh. This will also increase acceleration from the hip.
This time try holding your arms extended in front of you with your thumbs linked. Then kicking your breastroke legs nice and hard with toes pointing out
to create maximum propulsion.
This action will help to develop your power in your leg kick. It also helps to encourage the lifting of your chin on the water enabling you breathe.
Breastroke drills/ arms
Now let’s look at the arms for breastroke and how you may be able to improve and strengthen them.
To begin with simply stand in shoulder depth water and practice the breastroke arm action in the water, then try walking across the pool and doing the
same arm action again. This enables you to look at your arms at what they are doing so that you can perfect your breastroke arms before you try the
other breastroke drills
Breastroke drills/ pull buoys
Breastroke drills/ now let’s try swimming with pull buoys if you are not familiar with pull buoys then click onto this link you see my page about equipment which includes pull buoys.
They are simple to use once you have the hang of them. All you need to do is to hold the pull buoy between your thighs keeping your legs together so you do
not lose your pull buoy. Then all you have to do then is to swim with your breastroke arms concentrating on your stroke without having to think about
what your what your legs are doing.
By doing this breastroke drill you will develop better shoulder lift as well as encouraging a bent arm pull.
Try swimming the breastroke with full leg action and begin with a small sculling action with your arms fully extended and then gradually develop to a full
This will help you develop your pull gradually and helps to improve your wrist movements.
Another breastroke drill worth trying is to swim full breastroke with the breathing but swim with clenched fists. You will find it a lot more difficult
and realize how much the hands contribute to the full stroke. You will also see how much/little your leg action is contributing to your stroke if you are
struggling with this then your leg action needs work because it is not giving you enough propulsion. This is because your arms may be compensating for
what your legs are not doing.
Then straight afterwards swim with normal hands and see the difference, you will feel like
you are swimming with giant paddles and also realize how important it is to have the correct purchase on the water with your hands to achieve optimum propulsion.
This braestroke drill is a little different from the others but is quite useful. You swim full breastroke arms whilst doing butterfly legs. If you are not
familiar with butterfly technique then click on this link to read my page about swimming butterfly.
This breastroke drill will help you to strengthen your arm pull and it also help you to improve undulation.
The next drill is a swimming pattern and makes use of the arms and legs, I do use this drill quite often when teaching adults and it is quite effective.
You begin by swimming two full strokes with the breathing, then you swim three leg kicks with your head in the water holding your arms in front of you straight
and together with your thumbs linked. Making sure that you pause with your legs straight between each kick and so on till you reach the other side. Do this
for a few more lengths/widths and then swim the full stroke. Remembering the glide and your technique.
Breastroke drills/ full breastroke tip
I find it useful to slow the whole stroke down and emphasize
the glide to help to improve it. For example say to yourself legs, arms, legs, arms as you say it do the action one at a time nice and slow. Or try one, two,
one, two by saying legs are one and arms are two and as you say it do the action and when the arms are pulling the legs are straight and gliding.
When the legs are kicking the arms are straightand together along with the breathing. When you swim full stroke it will feel more streamlined with a better glide.
This breastroke drill encourages good timing as well as developing a better stretch of your legs prior to the full stroke.
I hope these breastroke drills are helpful to you and you enjoy perfecting your stroke, if you have found this page useful maybe you could have a
read of my other pages.
Thank you for reading, Dale Dudley
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