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6 mistakes to avoid if you want to improve your breaststroke

by ZwemZa on October 12th, 2017
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 06:  Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa competes in the Men's 100m Breaststroke heat 5 on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 06: Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa competes in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke heat 5 on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

Have you ever felt you were doing something wrong when swimming the breaststroke and not known what to do in order to improve? This article will attempt to explain to you the most common mistakes and how to correct them thanks to some extremely effective drills.

The breaststroke is the most technically complex and highly coordinated swim stroke. Unlike the other swim strokes, your legs provide more forward propulsion than your arms. That is why it is so important that the forward drive through your legs is as effective and productive as possible

So what are the main mistakes you can make when performing the breaststroke leg kick?

1. Feet not rotated outwards properly. Even if you perform the movement properly, if your toes are not flexed towards your tibia, your forward propulsion will be powerless, limited and ineffective.

Try swimming with your arms along your sides, focusing solely on your leg movement and your ankles in particular.

2. Relax the muscles on the insides of your thighs and claves during the outsweep. Focus on these muscles because “forward motion” comes from the inside of your legs. There is a danger of moving your legs without generating any force, making lots of useless movements.

Swim 6-8 x 25 m counting the number of leg kicks you make during one lap of the pool. Aim to make one leg lick less during the next lap compared to previous laps.

3. Non-simultaneous movement. Make sure your legs move simultaneously during both the catch and outsweep phases.

Have you ever swum standing on the spot, making breaststroke movements with your legs with your arms along your sides? Start doing it now! This drill will teach you how to move both your legs at the same time.

What has been said about your legs also applies to your arms. In other words, focus on the symmetric simultaneity of the swim technique.

What are the main mistakes?

4. Keep your elbows in line with your hands throughout the entire arm stroke. Remember “Wax on, wax off” from the film “Karate Kid”?. Well try “cleaning” the water as you swim, imitating the kind of circular motion you make when cleaning a surface.

Swim with clenched fists or holding small balls in your hands without letting your head drop below the water during the extension phase. This will allow you to keep an eye on your arm movements.

5. “Break your wrist”. Make sure you do not rotate, fold or drop your hands in relation to your forearms. When you swim you must forget you have a wrist or that can move your hands without moving your arms.

Try using Arena’s Elite Finger Paddles slowing down your arm stroke and focusing solely on the movement of your arms. You might also try swimming first with one arm and then with the other, keeping the arm you are not moving stretched out in front of you.

6. Going beyond your shoulder line with your hands during the pull phase. Your arm movement should always be in front of you, if you lose sight of your hands because they are underneath your body, beyond your shoulder line, then you are making a mistake.

Try moving your arms faster than usual while swimming, thereby reducing the amount of time between one arm stroke and the next. “Begin by counting to 3 between one arm stroke and the next, then only to 2 and, finally, just to 1.

The breaststroke is all about rhythm and coordination. Make the most of the forward thrust provided by your leg kick and make sure you do not move your head, always keeping it in line with your shoulders.

In any case, remember that the breaststroke is the most customisable swim style, like a tailor-made suit, so learn how to correct it and handle it to the best of your ability.

Arena Coaches

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