PDA

View Full Version : the mystery of breaststroke



The Fortress
October 4th, 2006, 01:46 PM
It is not a stretch to say that breaststroke is about 1/3 of my IM. I know my timing if off, but my kick really stinks. I have no excuse; I have a short axis body type and strong legs from running and weights. What can I do to fix my kick? Thanks!!

ande
October 4th, 2006, 02:17 PM
first you'll find lot's of great info at: wayne's
http://www.breaststroke.info

I've written about breastroke in Swim Faster Faster
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4229

the trick to breastroke is mastering the technique and getting strong

one key is body position
you want your arms out in front and your head neutral
when you fire off your kick
be in a superman streamline position

do kicking drills where you work on improving your feel for the water with your legs and feet

also kick with a board, kick 200 - 400 breast per practice
occasionally do 50 and 100 kicks for time

you've got to master correct timing
many swimmers could go faster in breastroke but
their timing is off, their body position is wrong, or they're just not pressing as much water as they could

once you have better technique and timing
work on speed, strength and conditioning

last year I worked with tyler blessing
in december he split 38 on his IM
by nats he split 34

do timed 50's where you swim into the wall backstroke,
start the watch when your hand touches
flip and swim a fast 50 breast

also in the IM it will help if you don't kill yourself in the fly and back
hold back a little so you'll have a stronger breast and free

rest also makes a huge difference for breastrokers
I'm known many breastrokers who make awesome drops during taper

good luck
hope this helps

ande



It is not a stretch to say that breaststroke is about 1/3 of my IM. I know my timing if off, but my kick really stinks. I have no excuse; I have a short axis body type and strong legs from running and weights. What can I do to fix my kick? Thanks!!

The Fortress
October 4th, 2006, 03:06 PM
Thanks Ande. I'll check those websites. I probably just need to buckle down and do more of it. I've just been avoiding it like the plague. I didn't swim it all summer because 50 straight meters of breast without a turn in an IM seemed like a waste of an event. Can't kick with a board though, bad shoulders. And fly and back are my best strokes. If I'm not ahead after those, I'm done for!

scyfreestyler
October 4th, 2006, 03:19 PM
I think you are better off kicking without a board anyhow...for shoulder reasons and technique reasons. With breast kicking you want to avoid dropping your knees too far down and creating a virtual anchor. When you kick on your back you can work on your kick technique by not allowing your knees to break the surface of the water. This will teach you to get your propulsion in the kick without causing the anchor effect. It helped me out significantly and it saves my shoulders to boot. For the record, I never use a kickboard. I prefer to kick free on my back because it saves my shoulders and doesn't teach me to kick uphill.

aquaFeisty
October 4th, 2006, 05:26 PM
Hi Leslie,

All of Ande's ideas are great. Breaststroke gets a lot of power from the kick and (provided you are in a good streamline) a lot of that power relies on pressing the water the right way with your feet. Breaststrokers have flexible ankles in flexion and side-to-side... try doing the alphabet with your feet once a day for a month and see if it helps any. If you kick without a board like Matt suggests, you can also work on your streamline and kick at the same time. I like to kick on my stomach (no board), breathing every kick cycle, and trying to hold under 8 kicks in a 25 yard pool.

KaizenSwimmer
October 5th, 2006, 07:07 PM
What can I do to fix my kick?

Leslie
Try using the smallest possible kick. A compact, sharp movement, not unlike a dolphin kick, but with feet turning out.
Those of us not gifted with natural duck feet can sometimes benefit from getting the kick "out of the way" and particularly by linking it as much as possible to core-body action. The smaller, quicker kick helps achieve both.

Try these steps to experiment:
1. Kick on back with arms streamlined overhead. Keep your knees underwater and fairly close together on the recovery. Also keep feet fairly close as you draw them up under you. Don't strain to bring them up very high. Finish the thrust by "clapping" feet into a toe-point so feet streamline behind leg line. Glide.
2. Kick on stomach with arms extended. Very small scull as you recover legs. Re-streamline arms as you thrust legs. Breathe only as needed, rather than every cycle. Focus on small, compact kick, with glide. Also focus on streamlining head after each kick. Hold glide for at least 2-count tween kicks.
3. Swim whole stroke. This will sound odd, but focus on keeping hands and feet as far from each other as possible the entire cycle. This will help you keep both pull and kick compact. Hands can outsweep fairly far, but should stay forward of your nose at all times.

Please let us know if any of this helps.

The Fortress
October 5th, 2006, 07:17 PM
Terry: Thanks so much. I tried Ande's suggestions today at the pool and I could feel an improvement. I definitely need to just practice the stroke and kick more rather than engage in avoidance. I've done #2. I will try #1 and #3 and let you know. I know my kick needs to be smaller. My breaststroking daughter has told me many times. How did I produce a breaststroker?! Leslie

KaizenSwimmer
October 5th, 2006, 07:21 PM
How did I produce a breaststroker?!

Recessive gene?

Peter Cruise
October 5th, 2006, 07:58 PM
Progressive gene!

The Fortress
October 5th, 2006, 10:12 PM
Definitely a progressive gene, you breaststroker. My friends kindly refer to me as a non-breaststroker. My son is a distance freestyler and prefers the open water. Another recessive/progressive gene, no doubt

ande
January 18th, 2007, 05:19 PM
how's this project going?
any progress?


It is not a stretch to say that breaststroke is about 1/3 of my IM. I know my timing if off, but my kick really stinks. I have no excuse; I have a short axis body type and strong legs from running and weights. What can I do to fix my kick? Thanks!!

quicksilver
January 18th, 2007, 05:57 PM
This link is a bit dated. But the technique tips are still relevant. My breastroke was the weakest link to a good IM time. This helped.

...it's written by Mr. T by the way.


http://www.breaststroke.info/grotebreast.htm

FlyQueen
January 18th, 2007, 06:16 PM
Fort, avoid it at all costs. Avoid IM, too. Stick to the other three strokes until I am named Supreme Ruler of the World and I change that breaststroke rule ... the one about it having to be swum in the IM ... I'll still let the crazy people like Rich, Alan, and Wayne swim it ...

SwimStud
January 18th, 2007, 06:58 PM
Fort, avoid it at all costs. Avoid IM, too. Stick to the other three strokes until I am named Supreme Ruler of the World and I change that breaststroke rule ... the one about it having to be swum in the IM ... I'll still let the crazy people like Rich, Alan, and Wayne swim it ...

ATTEMPT
In comparison to those guys!

The Fortress
January 18th, 2007, 07:13 PM
last year I worked with tyler blessing
in december he split 38 on his IM
by nats he split 34

also in the IM it will help if you don't kill yourself in the fly and back
hold back a little so you'll have a stronger breast and free


Very funny, Ande.

Very funny. :joker:

The project is not going well. I think I'm getting worse. If it's possible. It probably is despite all the fabulous advice I received. I try to keep it in mind when I swim, but so far to no avail.

I think I need individual help like Tyler Blessing. My teammate Wally Dicks is not helping out enough. I'll have to get a private lesson. There are no breaststrokers on my team to speak of. A lot of backstrokers who all hate breaststroke. My coach hates breaststroke too. We're just a big happy no-breaststroking kind of USMS family.

I also have utterly ignored your advice about IMs. :joker: I just take my 100 IM out as fast as I reasonably can the first 50 (once I went out in 29.8) and then I just hang on and pray. This tactic seems to work reasonably well. Happy to report that I just beat my secret nemesis this way in December in SCM. Fortunately, she can't do backstroke, and couldn't catch up. I have witnesses. In fact, at this rate, everyone is going to know who my secret nemesis is, thanks to your advice to get one, and she will not be "secret" anymore. I hope those that know her identity will keep the silence! You know who you are. Or I will be an ogre again.

My new approach to breaststroke is to wait for FlyQueen to be named Supreme Dictator of the World. :banana: :banana: :banana: :woot:

Or, I will have to take myself off to a real breaststroke clinic. I can't even get lessons from the rude hormonal one. She doesn't believe in constructive criticism, just criticism, e.g., "Mommy, I'm 5 seconds faster in the 50 breast than you," etc. Who needs that?

:dedhorse:

ande
January 21st, 2007, 09:28 PM
glad you found it funny
you announced an intention so I was just checking to see
how you were doing on your follow through
you know that thing about talk vs action

private lessons might work,

the 100 IM strategy is way different than the 200 IM strategy
you pretty much need to go for it in the 100
you need to be a bit more reserved in the 200 and
very in control on the 400

it's good you have a secret nemisis

ride the glide

ande






Very funny, Ande.

Very funny. :joker:

The project is not going well. I think I'm getting worse. If it's possible. It probably is despite all the fabulous advice I received. I try to keep it in mind when I swim, but so far to no avail.

I think I need individual help like Tyler Blessing. My teammate Wally Dicks is not helping out enough. I'll have to get a private lesson. There are no breaststrokers on my team to speak of. A lot of backstrokers who all hate breaststroke. My coach hates breaststroke too. We're just a big happy no-breaststroking kind of USMS family.

I also have utterly ignored your advice about IMs. :joker: I just take my 100 IM out as fast as I reasonably can the first 50 (once I went out in 29.8) and then I just hang on and pray. This tactic seems to work reasonably well. Happy to report that I just beat my secret nemesis this way in December in SCM. Fortunately, she can't do backstroke, and couldn't catch up. I have witnesses. In fact, at this rate, everyone is going to know who my secret nemesis is, thanks to your advice to get one, and she will not be "secret" anymore. I hope those that know her identity will keep the silence! You know who you are. Or I will be an ogre again.

My new approach to breaststroke is to wait for FlyQueen to be named Supreme Dictator of the World. :banana: :banana: :banana: :woot:

Or, I will have to take myself off to a real breaststroke clinic. I can't even get lessons from the rude hormonal one. She doesn't believe in constructive criticism, just criticism, e.g., "Mommy, I'm 5 seconds faster in the 50 breast than you," etc. Who needs that?

:dedhorse:

Muppet
January 22nd, 2007, 01:25 AM
Happy to report that I just beat my secret nemesis this way in December in SCM. Fortunately, she can't do backstroke, and couldn't catch up. I have witnesses. In fact, at this rate, everyone is going to know who my secret nemesis is, thanks to your advice to get one, and she will not be "secret" anymore. I hope those that know her identity will keep the silence! You know who you are. Or I will be an ogre again.

I am accepting all bribes :2cents: :drink: :2cents: to reveal the secret identity. Now whether or not I actually know said identity or will reveal the right name....
:dedhorse: :dedhorse:

The Fortress
January 22nd, 2007, 10:03 PM
I am accepting all bribes :2cents: :drink: :2cents: to reveal the secret identity. Now whether or not I actually know said identity or will reveal the right name....
:dedhorse: :dedhorse:


I know you know said identity. I know you know why. That would be real mean. I would have to make you do a 850 free again. And I would not cheer for you in your races with you know who and you would know why. Now, if you want to reveal a "name" that is not you know who, then you should feel free to make up a you know who. You know?

P.S. I do not have a secret nemesis in breaststroke. But maybe I should pick Kyra/SeaGurl.

P.S.S. Ande: I am not all talk and no action. It's just the action doesn't seem to be producing a reaction. I guess maybe even more action is needed.

Seagurl51
January 22nd, 2007, 10:34 PM
This may do more harm than good, but it sounds like things are pretty bad already so it could be worth a shot........

I learned breaststroke with a frog kick rather than the whip kick, but knowing frog made it easier to switch. I teach swimming lessons and kids can't seem to understand whip kick, but they always catch on to frog. Anyways....my point....

Frog kick...bring your feet towards your bum with the bottoms of your feet together, knees out. Then straighten your legs, feet turned out. Snap your legs together, and while doing so point your toes so that when you ankles hit your toes are pointed. Keeping your feet flexed the whole time takes you absolutely nowhere no matter how hard you snap. I learned it, Frog. Airplane. Solider. As you get better at this then work on keeping your knees closer together and working with just the knees down except for a good snap together.

I could be totally wrong, but it worked for me. Just my :2cents:

Good Luck!!



p.s. I'd love to be your "secret" nemisis....*evil laugh*

SwimStud
January 22nd, 2007, 10:43 PM
This may do more harm than good, but it sounds like things are pretty bad already so it could be worth a shot........

I learned breaststroke with a frog kick rather than the whip kick, but knowing frog made it easier to switch. I teach swimming lessons and kids can't seem to understand whip kick, but they always catch on to frog. Anyways....my point....

Frog kick...bring your feet towards your bum with the bottoms of your feet together, knees out. Then straighten your legs, feet turned out. Snap your legs together, and while doing so point your toes so that when you ankles hit your toes are pointed. Keeping your feet flexed the whole time takes you absolutely nowhere no matter how hard you snap. I learned it, Frog. Airplane. Solider. As you get better at this then work on keeping your knees closer together and working with just the knees down except for a good snap together.

I could be totally wrong, but it worked for me. Just my :2cents:

Good Luck!!



p.s. I'd love to be your "secret" nemisis....*evil laugh*

I have no clue what my kick looks like LOL. I just do it how I always did. I draw my knees up pointing out from the hip not directly facing the bottom of the pool. It would be interesting for me to get some solid coaching on the stroke to break it down and see if I could tighten it up...ah well that's for the next project...right now I'm focusing on streamline and arching on my breath not so much tossing my head...it's good until the 3rd 50 of the 200...I start to go ragged but then I get it back under control a bit...weird really.

Seagurl51
January 22nd, 2007, 11:02 PM
I have no clue what my kick looks like LOL. I just do it how I always did.

I only know what mine looks like because my coach looked at me one day and said "What on earth kind of kick is that?!"

swim n again
January 23rd, 2007, 10:46 PM
I too am struggling with my breastroke, which by compromised shoulder default is currently my best stroke. Having learned and competed breastroke in the late 60's/early 70's my flat and long stroke is way behind the times. I've worked at the new (new to me anyway since getting back in the water) wave-style stroke and am having an itty-bitty bit of success--long way to go though. What I wonder as I read thru this and other threads about breastroke is what are some of everyone's times! Is it a no-no to ask such a question on the forum? :confused: If so, please forgive me :bow:; if not what times does everyone swim their 50, 100 & 200 breastroke in?

My 50 is about :41; 100 @ 1:33 and my 200 -- I'd rather not say. My hope is to have my 50 under 38 and my 100 under 1:28 by Nationals 2008 provided I am actually able to train for most of this next year injury free! I guess age is somewhat a factor in regards to time--I'm 51.

I really have learned alot from everyone's comments and various article links. Thanks!

Muppet
January 24th, 2007, 03:26 PM
I only know what mine looks like because my coach looked at me one day and said "What on earth kind of kick is that?!"

This begs the question - how many of us have seen ourselves swim? I think I am going to start another thread... or maybe if i have a minute, I can pull a fortress and find an old version of this thread idea...

aquaFeisty
January 25th, 2007, 08:47 AM
Hey Fortress,

Don't know if you have tried it, but here's something that helps straighten my kick out when it is screwy... kick on your back. The focus should be on your knees NOT breaking the surface of the water. So from your shoulder to your knee should be a nice straight line. You can also think about not letting your knees get too far apart. Good luck!

My breaststroke is similarly suffering right now (although the kick is doing fine). Something is seriously messed up with my pull, streamline, or timing (likely a combination). How do I know this? Last week I was going the same speed doing 25's kick and 25's swim. Yes, adding the arms in did NOTHING to my stroke. And it was more tiring. Blech! Then last night we did 2x200, 100 easy fr, 2x200 and I did all the 200's breast. It nearly killed me. What hurt most? My arms. Dangit.

tjburk
January 25th, 2007, 09:07 AM
One of the drills my high school coach taught me that I still use is this:

50 - Hands together kick - Keep your hands together in front of you while you kick for 50 yards, you can pull your hands back a little to help you breathe if needed, but keep your hands together the whole time.

50 - Hands together on your back - Focusing on keeping your knees from breaking the surface of the water for 50 yards.

50 - Double kick Breaststroke - 2 kicks for each pull for 50 yards. Concentrate on keeping your head down and your body streamlined through both kicks. Try keeping your head facing down when you do come up to breathe.

50 - Regular Breaststroke - Swim regular Breaststroke for 50 yards. Concentrate on extending your glide and staying long, then slowly build your arm and leg speed but stay long!!!

Breaststroke is mostly timing.....staying as long as possible but still turning over fast.

Works for me personally and when I teach the youngsters.