One of the most important things to think about when you swim breaststroke and butterfly is WHERE you are sending your energy.
Many swimmers try so hard when they do basic short-axis drills (drills for breast and fly) that they use too many moves, and spend too much time going up and down.
One way to fix this common problem is to use a pool tool called the Zura Side Kick Board. It helps swimmers identify specific pressure points, and can help get them moving FORWARD rather than up and down. The Zura Side Kick Board was really meant for freestyle and backstroke drilling, and I donï¿½t know what the folks at Zura were thinking when they sent a test board to a BREASTSTROKER, but I quickly discovered that this cool little board is not only the best kick board I’ve used, but also is PERFECT for fixing small technical troubles with breast and fly drills.
Why Do It:
There are specific body motions and feelings you want to set up when you start to work on the slinky movement ï¿½ the movement common to both breast and fly. Most important, you want to feel that youï¿½re using your ENTIRE BODY to help move forward. This feeling sometimes gets lost if you relax the hands too much, if you point the hands at the bottom, or if you send your head too deep in the water.
When you send things too deep, you have to spend a lot of time sending them back UP to the surface. This causes you to spend too much of your energy going up and down, rather than simply going FORWARD. TheZura Side Kick Board helps you capture the correct feeling. It helps you focus on keeping the hands close to the surface, and helps you keep the hands in a streamline position.
How To Do It:
1. Hold the Side Kick directly out front with both hands. Continue your slinky movement, trying to maintain the depth of the Side Kick at 4 to 6 inches below the surface.
2. Keep your hands close together, and pierce the water with your entire body. Make sure you’re head doesn’t go under water.
Feel how the board helps to keep your hands higher than normal, and feel the stretch through your underarms and down your sides. Feel every move you make sending the board forward.
3. Play with this for a while, then try to keep your hands in the same place ï¿½ but without the Side Kick. Focus on stretching forward and on keeping your hands shallow.
Without the board, it will be a little tougher to keep your hands close together, but keep them inside of your shoulders. Make sure your head stays at about the same level as with the board ï¿½ donï¿½t dive too deep.
As you progress forward with this, go ahead and add some breaths. Make sure you fit the breathing into the rhythm established by YOUR BODY. If you’ve had a hard time breathing in rhythm on breast/fly drills, the Side Kick will really help. It provides just a little leverage out front ï¿½ and this is usually enough to show you what you’ve been searching for.
How To Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Practice, practice, practice.
I know what youï¿½re thinking: I can do this with a regular kick board Well, yes, you can, BUTï¿½ it’s a regular board is not nearly so effective because it gives you too much buoyancy out front. You’ll end up pressing too hard and it won’t feel nearly as natural. If you canï¿½t already tell, Iï¿½m totally sold on this zippy little board. It’s turning out to be the perfect mix between no-board, and a tool that really adds to the interest of the practice.