Mastering The Breaststroke
Many swimmers gravitate towards the breaststroke because of its slightly slower pace, making it seem less rigorous and more inviting. Unfortunately, these swimmers are often sadly misled into thinking this stroke is easier because they’re actually executing it wrong! With a few easy corrections, however, you can start swimming the breaststroke correctly in no time! Take these CoachUp certified tips with you the next time you enter the pool or grab one of our great coaches to help you out along the way. Either way, improvement in this stroke is totally up to you, so get to it!
Fix the Kick
The most common mistake in a breaststroke is an improper kick. First of all, you always need to move your legs simultaneously so that their motions match. Secondly, constantly think of the appropriate sequence while kicking — up, out, together, repeat. Begin the kick by pulling your ankles up towards your butt. Be sure not to drop your knees towards the bottom of the pool. This is the number one mistake swimmers make in breaststroke because it only drags them down, preventing efficient forward movement.
Next, spread your legs straight out to each side, creating a V-shape between them. Finally, snap your legs all the way together, so they are perfectly aligned — this movement is critical because it generates all the power. To maximize the momentum from your kick, hold this position briefly before repeating the sequence.
Tuck Your Chin
Swimmers tend to keep their heads up so that they can see where they are going, but this only creates water resistance around your neck . Use the black lines and T at the bottom of the pool to keep your trajectory in a straight line. Tuck your chin so that it is approximately two inches from your neck. A great way master this correct positioning is by swimming with a tennis ball wedged between your chin and chest. It’s tricky, but it will teach you the perfect head positioning.
Quick Arms A bad tendency many breaststrokers have is bringing their arms too far back, which effectively traps them next to or under their bodies. By allowing their arms to get stuck, swimmers completely break the fluidity of their stroke. To avoid this issue, begin by scooping your hands out and around your mouth. Then, quickly shoot them out into a streamlined position — this will allow yourself to glide briefly before taking another stroke.
(Related: Read about the ways you can improve your freestyle technique here.)
Try to keep these tips in mind whenever you’re about to swim the breaststroke competitively, they’ll help make a world of difference. Even in practice, following these technique fixes will have you swimming more confidently. In the water, you want to swim quickly and efficiently, which can only be achieved by minimizing water resistance. By kicking properly, tucking your chin, and using quick arms, you will swim the breaststroke on a straight, streamlined trajectory. If you’re having trouble with this tricky technique, consider hiring one of CoachUp’s private trainers to direct you towards success. Our impressive team will have you crushing it physically and mentally in the pool in no time — what are you waiting for?