I believe strongly in the wave-style breaststroke. I also believe that doing the same drills day after day and week after week will not create the same adaptation that the drill would have done when they were first started. Adaptation requires a change in either: intensity or volume (or both). So a few lengths of “2 kicks – 1 pull” breaststroke may have got your swimmers along when they were 12yrs old but it no longer does
anything when they are 14 or 16…or 26. Basically they are too good at it.
I have a lot of swimmers come to see me in a 1-2-1 capacity which gives me the advantage to see if the drill I prescribe actually makes a change in the right way. I have been forced to develop new drills. I find this very exciting and rewarding. I want to share some of these drills with you.
If a swimmer swims with poor balance in breaststroke and their head needs to get lower I recommend these drills:
Granny Breaststroke. This drill is head up breaststroke. A swimmer really needs to understand that holding their head up high is hard work. With this drill they really do ‘feel’ how hard it is. This also speeds up the arm pull so it is also a good drill for timing issues. Swimmers love this drill balancing a pullbouy on their head for fun but also it is a good tie-in with the Granny drill.
Spider-man Breaststroke. I did some fun relays with my group in Calgary and found that swimming underwater frontcrawl was a good race and seemed to teach good balance. So all the strokes that are swum underwater became ‘spider-man’ strokes. So spider-man breaststroke is breaststroke underwater. It teaches the swimmer how to
get their head out of the way…and low. I have heard that Kitajima’s coach also did this drill so I was happy to know I was on the right track!
Head Down breaststroke. We have also called this ‘headless’ breaststroke. Some swimmers are so good at this drill that we have considered using this as their ‘normal’ stroke. I don’t see why breaststroke swimmers swim with breathing every stroke and I think it will evolve into a Butterfly breathing pattern, especially in the sprints. Using a Centre-Mounted-Snorkel works really well with this drill.
Snow Plough Breaststroke Kick. This is a great way to improve your swimmers power on their breast kick. Take a kickboard and turn it sideways, use the surface area to create a huge amount of resistance. You can use steps for this drill and go in this pattern, holding these items with the most resistance: pullbouy, kickboard (tombstone way), kickboard (long ways), medicine ball (if you have the kind that can go into the water, or a dive brick), large plastic container (for the big brash lads) and for those who have real ambition and want some fun use a innertube.
Submarine Kick: this kick is done under water and meant to be done with NO PAUSE between kicks. I say “kick-kick-kick-kick”. This style of drill will also begin to show the use of the upward sweep of the finish of the kick.
If you didn’t get a chance to look at this Youtube video clip I made on Breaststroke, then have a look here.