The breaststroke kick ca cause difficulties at introductory strokes development group level depending on the quality of teaching at the learn-to-swim stage. Common faults are:
- foot turned up on one or both legs
- knees brought up under hips
- legs frog-kicking too wide with knees apart
- trailing kick or unfinished kick.
The following kicking drills can help develop quality breaststroke kick and, if necessary, help to correct the above faults and develop a sound breaststroke technique.
Wall vertical kick
The swimmer presses gently against the side of the pool in an upright position to practice the breaststroke kick. Knees, hips and chest are pressed against the side of the pool and chin remains at water level. This close-to-the wall position ensures that the knees do not come u under the hips. The kick can be practiced in group situations provided that the side of the pool is suitable (ie deep enough and without ledges). It may progress form holding the side, to hands by side with palms pressed against the wall or in a streamlined position with hands above head. It may then be practiced midpool away from the ledge. This drill should correct problems 2 and 3 above.
Biofuse Fitness Fins
Biofuse Fintess Fins
Inverted breaststroke kick
This kicking exercise may be practiced with a very small pull buoy or a ‘slice’ of a pool buoy placed between the thighs. Hands are by the side with heels touching hands at the top of the kick.
It may also be done with a kickboard over the thighs and knees, the knees remaining underwater with the lower abdomen and hips pushed up. Like all strokes, it may also be done in a streamlined torpedo position.
An emphasis should be on heels touching the buttocks at the top of the kick and kicking back heels first with toes pointing to the side in a fast, explosive action. The ankles must be squeezed together at the end of the kick while the head, back, hips and trunk are slightly pushed upwards.
To practice the knee-in, feet-apart, toes-out, arched-back position and head position, swimmers can do the ‘limbo’ at home on the carpet or practice walking like a duck on the pool deck as part of their dry-land warm-up routine.
Breaststroke kick without a board
Swimmers can practice with:
- hands by side with heels touching hands
- hands extended over the buttocks to touch heels
- normal torpedo position
- holding a rubber band with arms locked forwards, thumbs down and little finger up, for timing the breath and stroke commencement.
Another drill is to pull the feet up slowly to the buttocks, not allowing the feet to turn out until they reach the highest point of kick recovery. This is followed by an explosive backwards kick and finished by squeezing the ankles together. This drill enhances kicking ability. The emphasis is on pulling feet up slowly, turning them out and kicking back (toes pointing sideways) quickly.
Tip: the most effective swimming propulsive movements go from SLOW to FAST – that is, the movement starts slowly (usually providing the opportunity to ‘feel’ then ‘hold’ the water), then the limb accelerates as the movement progresses.
For instance, in breaststroke kick, the kick begins slowly as the heels are drawn up to the buttock. The swimmer then ‘feels’ the water with the instep of each foot and kicks backwards aggressively, accelerating the feet until they come together.
This ability to accelerate limbs during swimming movements is a fundamental aspect of fast swimming.