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Freestyle – Breathing to Both Sides

Sure, most people call it “bilateral” breathing, but when you’re working with developing swimmers, try to keep the language as common as possible.

Why do it:

Trying to make sure you build a balanced freestyle when you’re younger, gives you the decisions later about which side may be more powerful, or easier to breathe to long term, or when you’re in a heated race.

How to do it:

1 – Learn to count to three.  A three count freestyle stroke is the lowest logical number you’ll get to when working on breathing to both sides during training.  Breathing every 5 will be too much for some, and breathing ever 1 is a bit silly for training.

2 – Keep a count in your head for hand hits, 1 – 2 – 3 breathe, 1 – 2 – 3 breathe… continue.

3 – Make sure your head is stable and not swiveling around between those breaths.

How to do it really well (the fine points)

Sometimes learning to breathe effectively to both sides isn’t about bilateral breathing, but rather, making sure you take as many breaths to the left, as you do to the right.  Feel free to mix things up a bit.  Breath only to the right for a length, then only to the left, and then breathe every third.

Mixing up what you do,  while maintaining technique goals and focus, will teach you a more complete stroke.