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longgone's avatar

Any tips for a controlled breaststroke?

Asked by longgone (16437points) December 9th, 2014

I don’t feel very coordinated when I first start swimming. After about 15 minutes, I find my rhythm, but even then, I’m not sure what I’m doing right. What’s helped you swim well?

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10 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If I haven’t swam in a long time, I’m a little out of practice, so I just keep at it until I’m moving well. I’m usually like a fish in the water. I don’t usually breaststroke because I like to cover a lot of water in a hurry. I suppose if you worked on the arms or legs first and got one of those down, then worked on the other it might go easier.

JLeslie's avatar

Good form really matters and being able to breath well. Your stroke needs be timed with when you need to take a breath.

Are you using the proper frog kick with your breast stroke? Also, are your hands with fingers together and slightly cupped? Although, with breast stroke I think I cup less then with my freestyle/crawl.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I used to have a really great technique but after not swimming for years, my style is terrible. I’m going to take a couple of lessons to help me refine my technique. Perhaps you could do the same? I think you probably need someone who can see how you’re breathing and the position of your body etc. to be able to guide you effectively. You probably won’t need more than a session or two.

Pandora's avatar

My husband was a swim instructor in boot camp and taught my kids to swim and helped me to improve. He would tell us to concentrate on each individual stroke. Make sure your fingers are aligned when coming up above your head. You first practice being as smooth as possible without creating too much splash till it becomes second nature. Then practice for speed once your arms will swing into motion without you giving it thought. The idea is to think of swimming like breathing. Every motion should happen like breathing.

longgone's avatar

Thanks! Trying all the tips out next week – I like the idea of having someone watch me, too.

linguaphile's avatar

I was a swim coach for a few years…

The best way I can help is to share the tips I gave my swimmers:

* Keep your knees close together when you whip your lower legs around- they shouldn’t be more than 6–8 inches apart. When you splay your knees, you lose the power of the kick. One trick to find out how your knees react is to do a W sitting position to the best of your ability. That W sitting position is not recommended as a sitting position, but that’s the exact position that the legs go into when doing the breaststroke. If your knees struggle to be flexible, then doing a breaststroke will be harder.

* Your elbows shouldn’t go above your shoulders, but shouldn’t drop below your breasts either. Your elbows need to stay pretty high on your body plane. Imagine you’re trying to push yourself up a ledge—you’re not going to want your hands too far out to the sides or too close. You’ll instinctively place your hands in the right place to pull yourself up a ledge—that’s exactly the placement your hands/elbows should be while doing the breaststroke pull.

* Your hands go up after a pull together (can be a prayer position, or as if you’re taking communion) along your medial line (from chest, up past face, above your head. Keeping hands separate creates two separate water drags—together becomes one water drag.

You could watch this video for tips—breaststroke video

* One way to warm up is to do just the kicks for a few lengths, or just the arms.

Let us know how it goes!! Just keep swimming!

longgone's avatar

^ Oh. My head is pretty much completely underwater, unless I’m taking a breath. The point about knees is great, too!
Thank you! I’ll let you know on Tuesday! :)

linguaphile's avatar

I just edited—I coached 10 years ago and went ahead and checked current physiology research so I wouldn’t be giving you bad info… Some changes in the past 10 years! This was fun! Here’s Phelps! I think I’ll do laps tomorrow… :D :D

Saw several videos—quite a few different tips. Seems to be a difference in opinion about a few techniques. If you watch the variety of videos on YouTube, figure out what works best for you, plus it’s good to get visuals rather than text. I disagree with the ones that allow the knees to splay because I’ve seen better results when knees don’t splay. That’s just me :D

longgone's avatar

^ You edited out the part about being below the waterline – does that mean the new technique requires holding your head low? Thank you for the links – the video on timing is bound to be helpful!

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