Teaching Breaststroke by Anita Nall (2000)


Published


I did grow up swimming in Pennsylvania, and then I spent the majority of my career with Murray Stephens at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.  My experience with breaststroke has been such that I have had a great number of teachers and I’ve been very fortunate to have that in my life and in my past career, so most of what I am going to tell you today is not really me, it is actually an assembly of all the different coaches that I’ve picked up little bits of information from.

 

I’ve  broken the stroke down into three different areas and I think that we will just get right into it.  The first area I decided to choose was the kick.  And the breaststroke kick to me and for me has become pretty much the most powerful part of my stroke and what I believe to be the key to a good breaststroke.  When I was younger we did a lot of exercises and drills that built my leg strength up and I believe that was really one of the biggest keys to my success as well.  When I was probably seven years old, I couldn’t’, I actually started out swimming as a backstroker, Murray believe this or not, my backstroke is not very good to this day, but I began as a backstroker because I couldn’t do the kick right.  I couldn’t figure out, as most kids you’ll see they each do the scissors kick, they kick out with their legs, their feet will be turned inside.  They can’t turn their feet out.  So it wasn’t until one day when a coach, when I was younger, took me aside and actually manually showed me how, pushed my legs in the right direction, and that is one of my biggest tricks that I like to use with little kids.  But, since we are going to talk about the kick don’t focus on my upper body and these pictures are not totally professional.  I  put them together with a friend of mine, so this is just the starting point of the kick, you will see that my toes are pointed, my feet are closed together and my legs are squeezed tight.  The next part you’ll see is the uplift.  I like to call it that and what I was taught by Joseph Nagy from Hungry was that you try and keep your feet almost pigeon toed as you’re bringing them up toward your back.  The hardest part for young kids to do is to bring their ankles up to their behinds without bringing their legs up in front like this.  So like I said you have to try and bring your ankles up to your behind without dropping the hips, so that’s one of the things that I try to work on with young kids as well.  When I pull them out of the pool I like to show them different exercises to put pressure on their hips so they don’t have that tendency to drop.

 

Now to get the quads flexible you’ll notice that a lot of breaststrokers have very flexible quads and we do a lot of stretches similar to this one.  This is of course just the one leg.  If most children, or most actually middle aged teenagers, if they haven’t been accustomed to stretching like this they should start out with one leg.  Once again, this is working on getting the ankles up to your behind so you have more flexibility there.  So we start with one leg then of course you gradually move on to two.  This is a position that was hard for me to do the other day because I am retired from the sport only a few weeks and I didn’t maintain my flexibility, and that just shows you how quickly you can lose flexibility, so that is one of the main things that you have to stress with young kids, I believe is to maintain flexibility throughout your whole career, because the older you get the faster you lose it.

 

This is another good stretch for quads. We have all seen these kind of stretch cords that you can use and it’s really also a hip flexor stretch and it is great.  It’s really a feel good stretch and it also gets the job done.  And then you can take and actually have someone, Joseph Nagy was really good with doing this and putting me in a lot of pain doing this. I remember a few years ago I was at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, with Joseph from Hungry, and the first day he started doing this to me and getting my legs able to move in this fashion, but what he used to do that I’m not doing to this little girl cause I didn’t want to kill her, is put his whole body into my legs so eventually my legs would touch the floor.  He also told me that when he was training Mike Barrowman and Roque Santos, that they used to put books underneath their knees so that would give even more of a stretch of the quad.  I can’t do that right now, I think my legs would have broken off.

 

You can see I’m stretching a young girl who hasn’t been doing this stretch. She is stretching me and you’ll see my legs tend to, my legs are able to go a little bit more than hers, I didn’t want to push hers too much and you don’t want your kids to push too much either, because certainly they don’t want to have any injuries.

 

The second part of the kick is turn the feet out, and this is difficult for some young kids. After the uplift, when your ankles are still at your butt, you want to get your feet turned out like a duck and this was actually, I’m very surprised to tell you the truth, that I am a breaststroker because when I was born, my feet were almost completely turned around inside, pigeon toed almost backwards and I had to have casts on my legs to maneuver them out and my mom swears to this day that that’s the reason why my legs were so strong, was because I had to carry around these big casts on my legs when I was just a baby. So I don’t really know how I got such good flexibility outward.  But, that is just another different angle of the feet turning out, another angle, that is actually pretty good.  I’ve got my feet out pretty good there, and what this allows you to do is to set up a good power phase of the kick. The better you can turn your feet out the more water you can catch. It’s almost like in the pool you have to catch with your hands so in your kick you have to catch with your feet and use your feet like they are your hands.  So we’ll do this stretch, same stretch but this time turn our feet out and I guarantee that this one is a lot more difficult and this is more of an advanced stretch. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who can lay back on their knees without feet being straight out first.  Oh, this is just a little girl, doing it one more time.

 

The next part is, I didn’t get a really good picture of this, cause it is a very hard picture to get, but it’s what Murray has taught me, when your feet come up they catch here and then they start to, they have to push the water back, the feet tend to go out and back, so as I said before when you’re kicking you have to pretend that your feet are your hands.  This part you can see that I’m catching water and pushing water back with my feet which is propelling me forward and giving me power.  And then at the end you will start to see the squeeze and what I like to call this is squeeze and point.  As you squeeze of course, I like to teach kids they have to squeeze their feet together and point almost like a ballerina with toes facing the opposite direction.

 

I know one of the major problems I’ve had with kids is that they tend to squeeze but they do not point and their feet just drop, and when the feet drop that causes drag and resistance so the more you emphasize them squeezing and pointing I think the more power they’ll get out of the kick and the better their kick will be.

 

This is a great drill, I use this with a lot of kids as well in my clinics and they tend to like this because I can go around and look at them from the edge of the pool and what I’m doing is I’m pressing my hips into the side of the pool.  You have to have a deep pool to be able to do this, at least deep enough so that the kids aren’t kicking the bottom.  So I’m just going through the same kicking motions, the uplift, the feet turned out, the push back but it is actually down here because we are vertical, so this is the end of the kick on the side of the pool.  What I like about having the kids on the side is that it gives them the feeling of having that pressure against their stomach. The first mistake children will make when we are doing that exercise, is that they will poke their butts back and it would be, if you all can see me, they will look like this, and I try and tell them you have to push your belly into the side and feel the side of the pool against your stomach at all times.

 

This is another I like to use where I’ve had children who like I was, I couldn’t get it right, and a lot of times because children learn different ways, I like to pull them out of the water and actually show them with my hands and give them a sense of feeling and a visual and audio all going on at the same time and that sometimes that makes it lock into place for them.

 

We are going to begin now with the beginning of the arm pull.  This one is a little bit more difficult to explain, we are going to start just with the streamline position.  Now you have to understand that anything I’m talking about with the kick in the arms is hard to find a starting point because they are circles. They are complete circles that take place, so like here we are starting from this point but in all actuality when I’m swimming I believe that the pool actually starts here, which you will see in the next picture, which is the Y.  I like to stress that it’s, your hands glide at about 11 and 1:00 and that is about how far that they’ll go and I have drills to show this, drills that help children get this a lot better.  What you will find with a lot of children that I teach, they tend to forget this part, or make it very fast, and the quicker you grab the more water you lose and we all know that our arms are not the strongest muscles we have, which is why I stress that the legs are the most important part of the breaststroke, because your arms, just by sheer biology are smaller.  So that was just the first initial part of the pull.  Here is another good picture of it, a little bit wider here and my pinky’s are facing up towards the sky just like this.  This sets you up to be able to grab water with your hands just as you would with your feet and the kick when you turn your feet out.  So that is the common denominator here, is being able to, what we like to call in swimming, the term is feel the water.

 

And a lot of kids ask me what does that mean, I don’t really understand how you are talking about felling the water, how do you do that? This is the part where an athlete, a swimmer has to be able to feel the water.  This is just a little bit wider yet, but I’m actually starting, you can see my head is starting to come up. I’m starting to push back and this is the part that is going to give someone like me who has a very high breaststroke the lift.  The initial push back of the arms, and along with my body, this is the part that is going to start my forward momentum.

 

Next from the start of the push back comes the in sweep, and this is the part that is always tricky for me to explain and I do have to admit that it’s something that comes with a lot of practice and it’s something that I have lost over the years, is the part from getting from this part to this part, to the in sweep, the initial press to the in sweep. It takes a lot of practice and it takes a lot of body arm coordination, and this is actually the part in the stroke where you have to have quickness.  As you can see here, my legs are doing nothing, so if I’m not quick from in sweep to the end of the arm stroke, my body will sink and I’ll lose all momentum that I had.  This is just another position or another angle you can visualize that from.  Notice in that last picture that my elbows were not out here, for me.  The best way that I can swim is to get my elbows in more toward my body, and Murray used to stress that.  Actually for me, was getting the elbows in so that they can go forward as quickly as possible.  And that is the end of the arm pull.  Here I actually have a flaw, I don’t know if anyone can pick it up, does anyone have any idea? My head, exactly, my head, is up too high and I needed to have my head actually in between my arms more, my shoulders.  Same thing here, I was having head problems this day so Murray knows I had those a lot.  O.K. that is all for the slides.

 

Breaststroke is one of the most technically difficult strokes that there is, to do, to maintain and to teach.  I think that we have a lot of young girls that swim breaststroke very good in this country for a reason.  I’m not quite sure what the reason is, I have a lot of theories and I think that they mostly stem from flexibility, hip flexibility and quad flexibility and strength.  The ratio of the two probably being the best answer.

 

I have a video that Murray is going to put on here and that I’m going to talk through, and I talked about the different points in the stroke and I think the most important thing you can do in breaststroke, because it is so technical, is drilling.  Murray and I, when I was younger, I would do 3,000 yards of drilling straight, we did that probably every couple of weeks.  And I believe that maintained a lot of the small parts of breaststroke that you need to maintain the whole.  I’m a very big promoter of, you do the small things right and they make the big picture come into reality.

 

We’ll start the video.  This is egg beater, a great drill. It emphasizes getting a really good feel of the feet and the inner parts of your legs.  That was vertical kicking.  Now the next drill is called face forward kick.  We used to do this a lot at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club and it emphasizes body position, body slide, good catch of the feet, strength, it is a really great drill to get timing as well.  You’re timing down together.  This is face forward drill.  Now because I’m not in great shape right now, and I feel like I had lost some feel for the water, I had to use my hips a lot more than I normally did to get lift, and actually I’m glad I did this in not that great shape so I can point out some flaws to you so you can see some things that are not so perfect.

 

This one is, I think I’m doing one leg here, kicking with the kickboard one leg at a time. It emphasizes a lot of coordination which I find a lot of youngsters don’t have.  So this may be more of an advanced drill.  One leg at a time is also good, as you can see it is very difficult to keep the other leg still, but the better you can do one leg, the better you will be able to kick and feel the water with both legs. So the first lap there I did it with a kick board, and you don’t have to use a kick board, but it helps to keep your body up.  Now this one is egg beater kicking, with a kick board horizontally, you saw it vertically in the beginning and this is difficult, it is hard to maintain that quickness for a whole lap.  And it also emphasizes a lot of ankle flexibility and a lot of catching and feeling the water with your legs and ankles.

 

The next one, I have a pull buoy between my legs and what this focuses on is ankle turn out and like I said before, it is important to have your ankles act as your hands on your legs because they have to catch the water and push back.  If you don’t have any turn out you will not move at all here.  And also if you spread your legs too much you will lose your pull buoy, so it actually forces you to focus on quite a number of things at once there.

 

This one is called ankles together, or ankles tied.  You can actually tie a youngster’s ankles together if you are not worried that they are going to drown, but I’m trying to hold my feet together and get a lot of ankle turnout here as well.  At the same time it forces your quads to be flexible, by bringing your ankles towards your rear.

 

Now we are on to some pulling drills. I like to use flippers. I think when I was younger I used flippers a lot more than I did as I got older and this is really good for body movement and head movement and the arms go as well.  I like it because it works on body lunge and it also works on the in sweep of the pool and a quick in sweep.  I like to make sure I do one kick per one arm pull because that is what we do in breaststroke. You will find a lot of kids when they put flippers on they want to kick a lot of butterfly, so I try to stress just one on one.  Just one kick per pull.  This is single arm, this is another arm scull drill, that just works on a lot of coordination and feel for the water as well.

 

The next drill is called Y separation it works on the front part of the stroke and timing as well.  I should actually be bringing my hands in a lot quicker.  Kids have a hard time getting this timing down right on this drill, but I feel that it also increases your awareness of timing of the stroke if they can get it right, so it is that quick out sweep into a Y position and then quick in.  No elbow bend, no hand bend.  Now I put on paddles.  These are the old Randy Reese paddles that come to here on your arms and they just help to also emphasize the feel for the part of the arms.  Once again no bending of the elbow, you can’t bend at the wrist with these paddles anyway.

 

This is called three kicks one pull.  This is putting the pull and the kick together to work on the full stroke.  Three kicks for one pull, it helps work on breath holding, coordination, leg strength, all of the above.  This is full stroke under water, I have a list of these for you all at the end of this article. This is just really what is so good about doing any stroke under water, it provides pressure on the arms throughout the entire arms scull.  So you get to feel pressure that you don’t get normally in swimming.  This is a great head drill, that you have to make sure that you don’t bump your head on the lane line, so you get your head down as fast as you can.  Of course, someone who is doing this for the first time will probably knock their head around a few times, but I think that they get the picture really fast.  And the smaller your pool the harder it is.  This is another drill I like to use for kids in getting them not to pull their elbows back, this is a big problem with children, they like to pull back on the elbows and make their arms too wide. So as you can see I can’t really pull, I’m trying to, but I can’t really get my elbows much behind my body, because the lane line is up in my arm pits.

 

That drill was also working on the three different tempos of the arms scull that I would like to point out.  The first one is slow, and that would be the initial Y separation.  That is just a slow fly, because you are still having momentum from your kick, so they would be the initial slide out and then the press is just a little bit quicker.  It would be like slow, medium and then the fastest part of the arm scull has to be the in sweep.  Out, from here to here is the absolute key and the most important part of the arms.

 

I’m not sure how long it has been but I think we are probably ready for questions.

 

(Question inaudible) Are you talking about the in sweep of the stroke? Actually what ends up happening at that part of the stroke, it should be so fast that there is no pushing at all, it is simply a body rhythm and a quickness, that allows the arms to get here and that your body is actually coming up but your hands aren’t, your hands are maintaining your body position on the water.  So your hands are almost there as a leverage, they are there as a leverage and almost to just hold your body, I think, so if they are moving quick, my hands are usually in this position, as you can see from some of the pictures and as they come in from this position they are going to go out right away so there is not time or room there to move them.  It is a very naturally fluid movement that comes from here and then out, it happens pretty fluidly.

 

I agree that once the legs get too wide you end up kicking out, and then where do your legs go from if they are out, you just come in and that just pushes all the water in here to just do nothing.  If your legs are a little bit more narrow, about shoulder width, is what I try to explain, and the feet can catch here and push back, instead of just kicking out.

 

(Question inaudible) Do you mean throughout the stroke cycle or throughout the race? I think they probably do that, I’m not real sure how, but my guess would be that their kick is so strong, it sustains their glide in the front.  They have a very strong kick that propels them forward and makes it so they don’t have to grab water right away.  Someone who has a quicker tempo or quicker times or quicker, I’m not sure what you just called it, rate is that it, they have to grab water right away, because they are not feeling the effect of a strong kick, so they instantly have to grab and pull and that means that they, Murray always used to call it, arm it.  And, every time I try to arm it I never went any faster.  As a matter of fact I always went slower and that usually happened, and what I thought I was doing was sprinting, but even though I was tying to sprint and arm it and do a quicker arm tempo, I never really gained any real speed because I was better with my legs and maintaining a constant flow throughout.

 

(Inaudible question) I’ve been pretty fortunate in that I have never had a problem with my legs coming back down.  In these drills because the stroke is taken apart and you get to only see me doing one small part, and not the whole stroke cycle, arms and legs together, I think what happens is you have to compensate in some areas for where you don’t have your arms, so a lot of times I’m doing a quicker up then I would in my stroke or quicker up lift and it looks more emphasized because I don’t have my body and I don’t have my arms to work with.

 

(Inaudible question) No I didn’t but this is the noodle age. But that is a very good drill, I just learned a new one. I think it would be the same idea, and it would probably get the same results I’m sure.  I see noodles everywhere, so it is probably more feasible.  The noodles don’t work someone said because the noodles flex.  That is true, I didn’t think about that, so when the kids bring the elbows back so the noodle is going to go back too.

 

Murray could you answer that, how much drilling I did as opposed to full stroke.  A third to a half he said, but also I remember from younger days of training that I did not do breaststroke every day. I know that Joe Nagy and his athletes that are older, like Mike Barrowman, I know that they did a lot of breaststroke training broken up into segments.  But when I was younger I did a lot of IM work, a lot of distance freestyle, and a lot of breaststroke drilling.  But I didn’t swim breaststroke no more than three times a week.

 

That seems to make people go wow, that is pretty interesting, and I didn’t do a lot of doubles.  When I did do doubles, I did dry land in the morning and then swimming and dryland in the evening.  So I know a lot of people have this perception that the North Baltimore Aquatic Club that we have tons of training and that we overload kids and we kill them and we work them to death, but I’m here to tell you that’s just not how it worked for me.

 

(Inaudible question) So when does the kick start?  I believe it starts after the hands begin to separate, when the hands are at this position I believe that’s when the feet begin to lift up, because at this point you start your press and at that point that’s when the legs come up to your rear, so after the initial separation. Catch?  The catch is during the in sweep, that’s why it’s dead time because your feet are just starting to catch water as your arms are here.  You have to get your arms in front before your feet can actually push, that is why this part is so critical.

 

(Inaudible question)  Head position is well, put it this way, if I was standing here, I’m going to take this off for a second and I was  leaning over the edge of this, I could make myself fall off of this little cliff here just by moving my head.  This way.  I didn’t even have to do anything else.  As well as if I just moved backwards I would just move.  So when you think about head in terms of any of the strokes it has to be in proportion to your body.  If it is too far down, it is going to cause your hips to come up and it is going to cause your hips to sink.

 

Now in the breaststroke you want to get your hips down so that you can get your ankles to your behind.  You’re going to want to bring your head back, because that helps, so any part that the head position can help.  A teeter totter, a see saw position, or action, can help the stroke, so what I’m saying is that when you are coming up and your ankles are coming up to bring the head this way is a good thing.  But when you are going forward to have your head back doesn’t really work so well, so you have to just, it’s hard to say specific as to where the head position should be at all times, because it’s determined by the body, I don’t know which comes first the chicken or the egg, but you have to work with it.

 

(Inaudible question) Well actually I have something that I’m very proud of, I actually also swam the 200 IM at the trials in 1992. I think that I made the top 16 top 24, so I actually through my teenage years continued to swim all of the strokes, not perfectly, but I continued to train them and when we had meets that were local smaller meets, I continued to race them as well, and I tried to stay as diversified as well.  Just this past summer I swam the 400 IM long course, something I probably hadn’t done for years before that.  So I think I just try to continue to keep my interest open in the other strokes as well.  So that I knew that I could do the other strokes and I couldn’t only do breaststroke.  I know that there is a lot of sprinter type, they won’t do anything but sprinting.  But for me personally, it was good for me to keep the other strokes in good condition as well.

 

(Inaudible question) I know that there are exercises that people used to know, maybe you will do fists in freestyle, so you can’t feel it, but I didn’t ever do that. We always worked on maintaining and promoting more and more feel.

 

(Inaudible question) I think it’s a personal difference, cause you will see Kristy Kowall does not come up nearly as high as I did when I was swimming, but she has the same results and even faster.  So I think it is a personal difference, it is something that you go through and you feel whatever works best for the athlete and how the athlete feels about it themselves. It has to be something comfortable, I could never force that on anyone when I was teaching them because if it’s not comfortable, if it’s not something they feel is working for them, then they won’t do it and it won’t work.  So it’s definitely a personal difference.

 

(Inaudible question) I think there are definitely variations but I think there are some core basics that each one of us are doing that can be compared to the other.  For example, the catch. You are going to see all good breaststrokers that can catch the water with their feet, and turn their feet out really good at the top near their butts.  That is a common element that I think is indisputable.  There is leg strength and that is something that is indisputable as well. I think that you will see good breaststrokers have very strong legs and you’ll also see that breaststrokers are able to use their body without using just arms and legs.  They are able to use their body as kind of an undulation to keep the arms and legs in balance, so there are definitely some core similarities but like you said, it does vary.  The outcome I guess is what varies, the look of it varies, but the core doesn’t.

 

(Inaudible question) Well, when I was younger, Murray used to always say something that always kind of sticks in my head and I believe to be true, and that is that there is no better exercise for swimming than swimming.  Now all that being good and being correct there are some things that we added to the program.  I did medicine ball when I was younger, a lot of medicine ball training.  A lot of our program was based on Vern Gambetta’s program. That’s what I did a lot when I was younger, I never lifted weights. I know Mike Barrowman never lifted weights. I don’t know if that’s a common factor, I don’t know about Kristy and I don’t know about Penny Heynes and some of the current breaststrokers but I know that was a common factor between Mike Barrowman and I.  He did a lot of medicine ball as well, and I think what the medicine ball provided was a lot of core body strength as well as upper and lower.  I did a lot of squat jumps, and I don’t mean with weights, the typical squat with weights, we did a lot of fast repetitive jumping and I know Mike did a lot of that as well. Other than that, we did some wall sitting, it is just what some people will call a skier squat we did a lot of that, almost everyday before I swam.

 

(Inaudible question)  My ankles would be turned out, you cannot get a complete turnout, because that really is not possible, but they wouldn’t be straight forward, they would probably be 45 degrees.  This is a big issue, is how deep do you go in squats. I have been very fortunate, in that I have never had a knee injury. I maybe in my lifetime have had one small stint of having a sore knee or something like that. I know a lot of physical therapists in here.  They will probably be kicking my butt for saying that, but I do it in swimming and have to get to that point in swimming and so I have to do it out of the water as well.  But I know that a lot of kids have knee problems and I think that what a lot of professions in this area say no deeper than 90 degrees. My advice is if they can tolerate deeper go  deeper, if not then don’t push, because you don’t want any injuries.  That’s a mess.

 

(Question inaudible) Breaststroke pull outs were never my strength. The best person in my opinion to ask about this would be Jill Johnson, she was on the ‘92 Olympic team with me and I think that she got second in the race because of her pullouts.  I think that mainly, what Murray used to say to us, was just get the hell out of the water and race.  So, I don’t think that, unless a child or athlete is very strong under the water, I think they need to just focus on getting up and on top of the water and moving, and that was actually something I did very well.  I didn’t stay under very long. I didn’t have a good start. I didn’t have that great of turns and my pull downs were not that great, but my stuff in between was really good, so that was the stuff that I focused on.

 

(Inaudible question) When I teach I do a break down. I go kick, pull, full stroke. With the full stroke I would do three kicks one drill, and I have to be honest, I’m not very good at teaching a child who does not know how to swim at all. What I feel that I can do best, is take someone who has a stroke and make it technically better.

 

The only one I ever work with is slow medium fast, for the arms, slow medium quick, slow medium quick and if you had to just put that down to one word, it would be quick in the in scull, quick, every time they come up, quick.  Something that I didn’t mention earlier is in the in sweep as your arms are starting to go forward a lot of breaststrokers tend to shrug as well and that tends to help get the arms out faster is the shrug.  So you are not just using your arms, so if there is one word that I had to say that would be quick or turn out for the feet, those are really the only words that I can think of .

 

(Inaudible question) I think one of the main areas that Joseph worked on with me was getting my kick more narrow.  I was kicking out a lot when I saw him and I was having a hard time making my kick more narrow, and that was something he tried to fix.  Also my head position, I had my head up too high as you just saw in those pictures.

 

(Inaudible question) No one ever tried to change it, they have all tried to refine.  When I got to Murray actually in the beginning, I think you made some changes that really set me into full speed ahead, I guess I could say, and I think that when I first moved to Murray, when I was 12 just turned 13 actually, I started getting up higher in the water. I started using my body more and that was probably the best change I’ve ever made.

 

(Inaudible question) We didn’t do a lot of swimming like a lot of people do, we did a lot of fast swimming and what we did was very important to specifically racing, so we didn’t have a lot of long slow easy swimming.  To an older athlete might be necessary for recovery, but when I was younger it was a lot of fast swimming.

 

(Inaudible question) Quick, I don’t really care how you do it, as long as it is very fast and very efficient, and like I said before, you can teach that.  The shrug helps, helps get the arms up better because you’re not simply just using your biceps and your triceps.  Also, forearms are very important, your forearms have to be able to hold water coming in this way.  And, to get your elbows from here to here, you have to be able to have some forearm strength and I think I got that from medicine ball.

 

(Inaudible question) Underwater swimming, underwater full stroke, because like I said, when you are underwater you feel pressure on all points on all parts, so it really helps get timing.  Joseph had me do a lot of underwater swimming, which is good for breath holding as well.

 


Breaststroke Drills

(from simplest to more advanced)

 

  1. Kick Drills

 

* Eggbeater Kicking (vertically)- creates a better feel of the water and builds inner leg strength

* Face forward kick- builds strength and coordination

* One leg at a time- works on coordination and skill

* Horizontal eggbeater- great drill to enhance feeling the water on the inner thighs and feet

* Pull buoy kick- works on the squeeze portion of the kick

*Ankles tied- forces ankle flexibility

 

  1. Pull Drills

 

* Flippers- works on body lunge and quick in-sweep without worrying about kick

* One arm- works on coordination skills

* Y separation- works on timing (can be done with paddles)

* Lane line head drill- emphasizes slight head tilt

* Lane line drill- enforces keeping the elbows in front of the body concept

 

  1. Other fun drills

 

* 3 kicks/I pull- works on breath holding and leg strength

* Full stroke under water-provides pressure on the arms the entire arm stroke

 

 

 

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