Breaststroke kick is so different to the other competitive strokes that many people struggle to perform the correct technique. There are some common problems that the majority of people do when learning how to do the kick so we have dedicated this page to how to best correct them. There are only 3 main problems that occur through the learning stage.
Common Problem 1 – Toes pointed towards the sky
Normally the first stroke learnt is freestyle or front crawl, then backstroke. This is a natural progression for a beginner as they are the easiest to learn. The kick in these 2 strokes pushes the water with the top and bottom of the feet. This causes a problem for learning the breaststroke kick. In breaststroke you actually push the water with the inside of the feet and as a result need to pull your toes towards your shins and turn your feet outwards. Becoming uses to freestyle and back stroke kick the beginner often will not do this and when they bring their heels up for the kick their toes are pointed towards the sky.
This is the hardest problem to overcome. Once you have corrected this, the rest will come quickly. In order to correct this you need to get them out of the pool and walk them through it step by step. As they bring their heels up to their buttocks slowly push their feet down so that they are flat at the top. Then ask them to turn their feet outwards. Next ask them to kick around. Touch them on the inside of the foot so they understand where the sensation should be.
After this perform the exact same sequence but in the water. You may need to support them with a floatable device so they can simply focus on the kick. Do this in a stationary position first, then moving forward for each kick. Take your time with this. Once this is mastered the swimmer will begin to progress quickly.
Common Problem 2 – Hips Flexing
Part of the kicking technique is to first bring the heels up to the buttocks. Now the best way to do this is to flex from the knees and bring the heels to the buttocks. One common, incorrect way to do it is to flex from the hips and bring the knees to the chest. This causes lots of resistance and also makes it very difficult to get any propulsion from the kick.
The best way to correct this is kick on your back. As you can see in the video below, put the hands out in a streamlined position on your back and simply kick away. If you bring your knees to your chest your knees will come out of the water, so the goal is to keep the knees under the water. This gives you the sensation of using your hamstrings. If you or your beginner is struggling to stay afloat it is ok to hang on to a kickboard out in front or across the chest. Some people hold the kickboard over the knees but we have found that this can cause the hips to drop. Once you get a feeling for this then try it again on the front. When swimming breaststroke normally there is SOME flexion of the hips but you need to try and minimize this. This drill will really help.
Common Problem 3 – Knees Outside Feet
The final common problem is that during the propulsion part of the kick, they allow the knees to point outwards and they actually become wider than the feet. This stops all power in the kick and you will see the feet and hips sink quickly. The goal in breaststroke kick is to get the feet outside the knees. This allows the feet, lower leg and groins to produce lots of power.
We are again going to get you to kick on your back. Again you can do this with or without a kickboard. There is one major difference with this drill than the one above. You are going to kick with your knees together. At no stage are your knees to come apart and you need to focus on kicking your feet outside the line of your knees. You will move very slowly with this drill but it will give you the sensation you need. Once you are comfortable then move back to kicking on your front and try to kick your feet outside your knees
You can find a full progression on how to teach or learn breaststroke here
Find more breaststroke drills here
AUSTSWIM – www.austswim.com.au
GoSwim – www.goswim.tv