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Thread: Teaching breaststroke

  1. #1
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    Teaching breaststroke

    Hi Swimming Teachers!

    I worked in the UK as a swimming instructor and recently moved to Israel and I have come across two main differences in teaching styles.

    1. In the UK generally front-crawl is taught before breastroke, in Israel the opposite is the case.
    I think the difference can be explained in the following. In Israel swimming is still regarded as seasonal, largely parents send their kids for a course in summer maybe 2 yrs running. 12 x 2. In the UK they join a club for a long period of time. Hence kids in Israel are less used to water and need to be taught to get across the pool and back as quick as possible rather than becoming really good at swimming. Therefore rudimentary breaststroke where the head comes up to breath every stroke is easier to teach for fast crude results.

    2. When doing dry land drills to learn the breaststroke kick in Israel they generally teach it on the floor, or lying entirely on a bench. I received a lot of stick when other instructors saw me getting the kids to lie at the edge of a pool or at the end of a bench with the entire legs hanging off the bench. Essentially the argument comes down to whether the whip kick involves movement in the knee.

    Any thoughts?

    Much appreciated.

    Kevin

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching breaststroke

    I always used a lawn chair, and I had their legs hanging off the end. I mean, whip kick always involves movement of the knee, but the question probably boils down to this: Is having their legs hang off the end of the chair, bench, w/e going to promote their knees being the first thing to move, and is it going to promote the knees moving <-- and --> ? These days breaststroke kick is all about a narrow, fast kick. You want the lower legs brought up behind almost like beginning a butterfly kick, then whipping them around, keeping knees closer together.

    For kids that just need to "learn" the stroke, I don't think it matters one way or the other. But I think whatever helps enforce good habits is best. If the kid with his legs hanging off the back of the chair isn't bending his knees out with the first motion of his kick, he is fine. But for a kid who IS doing that, having the upper part of their legs on the bench will probably help reinforce the proper kicking motion!

  3. #3
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    Re: Teaching breaststroke

    Okay thanks very much. What do you think about breaststroke vs crawl?

  4. #4
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching breaststroke

    Quote Originally Posted by aqua mayim View Post
    Okay thanks very much. What do you think about breaststroke vs crawl?
    After over three decades of doing both, I think that one is bad for the knees and the other is bad for the shoulders (when done in excess!).

    But I won't quit because like the Beastie Boys once said, "you can't, you won't, and you don't stop."

  5. #5
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Teaching breaststroke

    Historically, everyone in Europe learned breaststroke first as crawl didn't really exist before late 19th, early 20th century. Evidently, some areas still teach breaststroke first.
    In my experience, poor breaststroke technique is easy to teach, good is much more challenging. This leads to many people having to unlearn bad habits.
    Last edited by Allen Stark; February 29th, 2020 at 06:01 PM.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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