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Breaststroke – High Heels Progression

To get the most out of your breaststroke kick you need to connect your feet to the water as high up as possible in your kick. The higher — or sooner — you connect with the water, the more time you’ll spend in the propulsive phase of the kick.



 
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This quick, 4-length progression combines many standard drills into a quick session, focusing specifically on the feet, or getting the most out of your kick.

Why Do It:
Learning to utilize the ENTIRE range of your kick will give you a more productive kick. While you have to be careful not to expose the thighs and knees TOO much during these exercises, sometimes focusing strictly on minimizing resistance means you’ll miss the power, or propulsive phase of your kick.

How To Do It:
This progression is really 4 drills, or focal points, tied together in a set of 25s. Personally, I like the progression approach to stroke building, and starting with a particular aspect of the stroke can help you focus on that all the way through to full stroke.

Step/Drill #1. Start with a pushoff and pulldown, then start doing underwater breaststroke kick with your hands held behind you. Now this drill is as old as the hills, and is no longer used by MANY coaches simply because it creates so much resistance. There’s hardly a better way, however, to teach how high up the heels can come in the breaststroke kick. Simply go underwater, drag your hands down your sides, and on each kick touch your fingertips to your heels. Stay under as long as you can, making sure you touch your heels on EACH kick.

Step/Drill #2. Push off in streamline and start doing underwater breaststroke kick with your hands in streamline. This is a pretty typical drill, but rather than trying to reduce the resistance you feel, try to maintain the height of your heels from Drill #1. Without your fingers to serve as a guide, you may begin to drop your heels a bit, but try your best to maintain the spot you learned in the previous length.

Step/Drill #3. Push off in streamline, then start doing the standard breaststroke drill of 2 Down/1 Up. Give the drill a slightly different twist by focusing on your HEELS. Continue to bring them up, and grab the water high in the kick, or close to your rear end.

Step/Drill #4.  This is simply LONG breaststroke. Take a full stroke, and focus on how far you can glide between strokes. If you really are trying to go as far as possible, you’ll need the most effective kick you can muster. Remember to carry through the feeling of grabbing the water early in the kick, or HIGH in the kick to send yourself forward.

How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Focus, and learn. Make sure you really pay attention to the first length. When your hands are dragging behind you, it’s important to record in your mind how your legs feel when you’re touching your fingers. How are you legs bending, how does it feel in your thighs, your hamstrings, etc. Try to carry these same sensations into the next length when you’ve moved your hands back out front.

Focus will make the biggest difference, and feeling what’s happening when you really try to set up your feet EARLY in the propulsive phase of the kick.