Breaststroke Kick is one of the hardest things to teach and the easiest thing for the swimmers to get wrong. After YEARS of teaching new swimmers how to BR kick, we figured there had to be an easier and quicker way to teach this while minimizing the problems like scissor kicking. Here is what we came up with.
START BR KICK DRYLAND
Lay them on their stomach on the bench. Have them do the kick in parts: “Up, Out, Point, Around” I like to move their feet so they feel the different steps. Make sure that eventually each step is done at a fast pace once they get the technique down. Do this for 5 mins calling out each step a few times and making sure they are getting to each step perfectly. While doing this, you can narrow in on who is going to have trouble with pointing their toes out.
KEY: DO NOT MOVE ONTO THE NEXT STEP UNTIL ALL SWIMMERS ARE IN THE RIGHT POSITION AND WITH GOOD TECHNIQUE!
Do this in dryland for a couple weeks BEFORE introducing this in the water.
Step 1 – ‘Up’
Heels come up to the butt
Step 2 – ‘Out’
Calves swing out to the side
Step 3 – ‘Point’
Point the toes to the side
Step 4 – ‘Around’
Kick the feet around together
TAKE IT TO THE WATER
Now, facing the wall with the hips at the surface and hands on the wall with a snorkel, go through each step. The easiest way to do this is with the ONEFocus Headset. With the Headsets everyone is on the SAME step and the coach can double check every swimmer’s form like in dryland. Most of the time by doing the kick in steps they will avoid the scissor kick problem BUT there are always those swimmers who still have that problem despite the work in connecting the dryland to the water.
Do the steps with the swimmers facing the wall with a snorkel. They will feel the power from the ‘Around’ as they surge towards the wall. This also makes it easier for the coach to spot the swimmers who will have problems moving down the lane. BUT we like facing the wall as it translates directly to lane swimming.
Another way to do a similar drill is doing it vertical. Abbie Fish with Swim Like A Fish explains how to do this. This is a good way to make sure that the swimmers are not pulling their knees under their body but bringing the heels to the butt. Read Abbie’s Blog Here We add in this drill as they can BR Kick down the lane without pausing at each step.
Do the steps down the lane with hands down by the sides and with a snorkel. At first, do this in 25s so you can remind the swimmers of each step. REMEMBER with Headsets, the coach is in control of the steps and how fast all of the swimmers go through the steps. Using Headsets also minimizes the scissor kickers by constantly reminding them to point their toes. After they get used to the drill, have them swim 50s just the kick, and focus on getting into each step fast and with good technique. For the swimmers that are still scissor kicking, add the BR Train Fins.
ADD BR FINS – This will help ALL of the swimmers be more intentional with each step. The BR Fins- TRAIN will correct the scissor kickers because they will not get any power/forward motion from the kick. The Train Fins hold the foot to the fin by an elastic strap so when the kick is performed like a flutter kick, the elastic will open making the fin slice through the water instead of pushing to get propulsion. This will make the swimmer hyper aware of the position of their foot.
ADDING RESISTANCE TO THE BR KICK
Once the swimmers can do the steps properly in and out of the water you can start to add resistance. There are a ton of different ways to add resistance both in-water and in dryland.
Resistance in Dryland
In dryland, there are a few ways to add resistance. The easiest is adding the BR Kick Trainer while doing the BR Kick laying on a bench. Another way to add resistance in dryland while also working balance is using the short cord and the TRS Stirrup (off a Backstroke Flag Pole and doing the BR Kick while standing on one leg (pictured below) You can also do this laying down on the stomach on a bench for younger swimmers who aren’t as balanced. Another Way to do this same function is with the ONEBow.
For more exercises targeting the BR Kick muscles check out this free Dryland Google Sheets Train Savage
Resistance in the Water
My favorite and the simplest thing is adding the BR Kick Trainer (pictured). This helps the swimmers with a fast recovery (‘UP’) and a powerful kick (‘AROUND’). Another easy way to add resistance is to add our Latex Knee Band. In the water this will help the swimmers be aware of the width of their knees as they kick. Other ways to include resistance to the kick is adding the BR Power Fins, the Power Bags over the calves, and more.
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In another blog we will explore the ways to increase the flexibility of the hips, knees and ankles to improve the Breaststroke Kick (coming soon).