A BRIEF BREAKDOWN OF THE BREASTSTROKE FOR THE AGE GROUP SWIMMER

During training it is best for the coach to introduce components of the stroke rather than teaching/coaching long distances or repeats of the full stroke.  There should be maybe a 20%-30% only of the full stroke.  In modern Breaststroke the swimmer has to maintain high hand and heel speed which becomes very tiring if done for long distances.  It is important to maintain proper stroke mechanics at all times.

BODY POSITION
As in all strokes the body position should be streamlined and horizontal.  The swimmer must “ride the line” at the surface.

KICK
The rules of the stroke say that the legs must be simultaneous and symmetrical at all times.  They “mirror” image each other in other words.  In teaching the kick it is not always possible to get the learner to do the “Whip” kick due to their body structure or flexibility.  Whatever the case always aim to make the stroke legal.

The kick begins in a streamlined, horizontal  position, toes pointed.  The knees bend and the heels are drawn up towards the buttocks with speed.    There should be no bend from the hips.  The knees are pointed towards the bottom of the pool about hip width apart with the soles of the feet looking at the ceiling.  The feet flex out as if to look at the lane line and the heels kick back, down and together as fast as possible.  At the end of the kick the feet are flexed so that the soles are together and pointed for a more streamlined effect.

ARM PULL 
The arm stroke must always start and end in the full extended position no matter how brief.  Stress extending into the “Outsweep”.  There are 3 sweeps in the arm pull.

OUTSWEEP,  INSWEEP, RECOVERY

  • Outsweep:  starts off  slow and arms must remain straight with even speed.  This is where the set up is made for the most propulsive INSWEEP occurs.  The arms sweep out to a position wider than the elbows, but not too wide, thumb down.  The distance of the OUTSWEEP depends on the swimmer.  Men usually can pull from a wider position than women.
  • Insweep: Speed increases, fast, insweep which is carried through to the recovery phase.  The inside edge of the arms ”the blade” , thumbs down takes the lead. “The blade” extends from finger tips to elbows and sweeps out, down and round with the elbows remaining high and anchored in place.  Keep the elbows high through out the insweep.  The “blade” is like a propeller with the little fingers  sweeping together, elbows trailing.  The hands are higher than the elbows at this point.  Through the insweep phase the shoulders and back lift while driving forwards. NOT BACKWARDS OR UPWARDS.
  • Recovery (faster): Hands are kept together with the elbows, also close together, through to the extension in front. The hands recover facing palm down.  Hands must travel straight forwards – NOT DOWNWARD.   As the arms recover the head is kept in line with the back and “settles” between the arms ending the stroke cycle in a streamlined position.

T.P.

  1.   Hands come up in to a “Cat’s Paw position”
  2. Hands pull the forehead forwards and down to a streamlined position.

TIMING
The arms should almost be back in the streamlined position before kick.

T.P.

  1.  Pull, breathe, kick, glide
  2. Heels high, knees point to floor.
  3. Kick with the heels
  4. Fast feet.  Ankles kiss.

BREASTSTROKE DRILLS
KICKING  

  1. Use a board, hold the end of the board, fingers on top.  Breathe, kick, glide let face full in.
  2. 8 x 25m kick 45secs at the wall 15secs rest interval.
  3.  3 Full strokes under/ 3 strokes on top.
  4. 2 kicks + 1 pull variations re numbers can be done.
  5. Kick free or fly with breast arms.
  6. Use a tennis ball under chin to get correct head position for the breathing.

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