By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2015
An easy way to cut some time in a breaststroke event is to perfect the pullout. In this drill, Ohio State University head men’s coach, Bill Wadley, will take you through a pullout progression that will ensure you’re cutting through the water as efficiently as possible.
Drill Summary: The first step of this progression is the push off. Coach Wadley instructs swimmers to push off with their feet, toes, ankles, knees and butt together in a straight line to improve the streamline. Step two involves gliding and a pull down. Push off the wall, glide, and pull down by turning the hands outward, gripping the water in a rounded grasp, and pull down toward the hips. Finish by shrugging the shoulders. Finally, step three adds the final recovery. After completing steps one and two, recover by leading with the hands, not the elbows, while bringing them back over the head.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2015
Indiana University head coach, Ray Looze, uses these two drills to teach swimmers to pull correctly and maintain high hips while performing the breaststroke. Coach Looze believes it is the pull, not the kick, that is the most important part of a championship breaststroke.
Buoy Drill / Paddles and Buoy Pull
Drill Summary: A buoy is needed to complete this drill. Swimmers place the buoy between their thighs and swim two 25s, focusing on body position and only taking dolphin kicks to keep the hips high. As swimmers pull, they focus on pulling wide and horizontally. For the next progression, swimmers put on paddles, which will increase the surface area of their hands to take less strokes with more power.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Friday, May 1, 2015
14-time NCAA All-American Coley Stickels teaches swimmers the “Circle Fist Drill” to get them to shrug their shoulders and roll them forward, which are both key techniques to a great breaststroke. In addition to providing the correct shoulder motion, this drill also teaches athletes to lift with their forearms.
Circle Fist Drill
Drill Summary: The swimmer pushes off the wall and extends their arms straight out with their elbows locked and fists clenched. Next, the athlete creates a circle with their arms instead of taking a full breaststroke. The swimmer should use their forearms to lift, and shrug their shoulders to their earlobes. This drill is usually done with a flutter kick and speed isn’t important. An alternate version of this drill can be completed by putting on fins and alternating with fists and open hands.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, March 1, 2015
Two time Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Gangloff uses the “Accordion Drill” to ensure his hands and feet always use the right action. Gangloff credits his former coach David Marsh for this drill, which is sure to help any athlete with their breaststroke.
Drill Summary: For this drill, swimmers will need a snorkel. The swimmer starts in the streamline position. The hands will stay in the streamline position for the entirety of the drill, but the swimmer breaks their elbows and brings their hands into their head. At the same time, the swimmer brings their heels into their butt. Once the swimmer is fully contracted, they perform a breaststroke kick and push their hands out simultaneously.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Sunday, February 1, 2015
Check out this drill from eight time NCAA Coach of the Year David Marsh that optimizes the breaststroke kick. Swimmers will learn to propel themselves forward using as much water as possible on every kick.
Alternating Leg Drill
Drill Summary: Swimmers will need a snorkel for this drill. For this drill, swimmers extend their arms forward and use only their legs to push themselves down the pool. Alternate kicking with each leg, focusing on keeping the knees in. Coach Marsh notes that swimmers’ backs should stay flat on the surface of the water. Progression: Alternate two kicks for each leg.