This article proposes a series of swimming drills to learn the breaststroke kick.
Whereas you previously practiced the breaststroke kick on dry land, you will now practice the breaststroke kick in the water.
In addition to practicing the movements of the breaststroke kick, you will also practice coordinating your breathing with the kick.
The video below illustrates the drills covered in this article:
Breaststroke Kick Holding onto the Pool Edge
In the first drill, you will practice the breaststroke kick movements while holding onto the pool edge.
- Lie across the edge of the pool, with your upper body resting on the wall and your legs dangling in the water.
- Extend your legs backward and bring them together to get into the initial position.
- Execute the breaststroke kick’s phases as described in a previous article: feet recover towards the buttocks, feet turn outwards and catch the water, legs extend backward and outwards then backward and inwards, legs are completely extended and together, and then the cycle starts anew.
- Repeat a few times until you get fluid and consistent movements with your legs in the water.
- Notice how the pressure of the water against your legs pushes you towards the wall.
Breaststroke Kick with Swimming Noodle(s)
In our next breaststroke swimming drill, you will actually move forward using the breaststroke kick for propulsion. One or several swimming noodles will provide buoyancy to your upper body so that you don’t need to use your arms and can concentrate on your legs’ movements. So do the following:
- Grab one or several swimming noodles.
- Go to the shallow area of the pool.
- Place the swimming noodle(s) across your chest and under your armpits.
- Make sure the swimming noodle(s) provide(s) enough buoyancy to keep you floating with your shoulders and head above water.
- Get into a prone position with your arms extended forward.
- Push off the ground and start to kick as you did in the previous exercise.
- Use the kick for propulsion.
- Keep your head above water.
- Stay in the shallow area of the pool as a safety measure for as long as you are learning the kick.
Kicking with a Kickboard, No Breathing
In the next breaststroke swimming drill, you will use a kickboard instead of swimming noodles for additional buoyancy. This lets you assume a more horizontal and slippery position in the water. Do the following:
- Grab a kickboard.
- Go to the shallow area of the pool.
- Hold the kickboard in front of you.
- Push off the ground and try to assume a horizontal position, with your face in the water and your head in line with your spine. Use swimming goggles to protect your eyes.
- Hold the kickboard at arms’ length.
- Use the breaststroke kick to move forward.
- Kick a few times, stop to breathe, kick a few times again, and so on.
Additional tip: If you have trouble keeping your legs up and your body horizontal, try to apply some downward pressure with your head and chest to counterbalance dropping hips and legs. Your head should stay in line with your trunk though.
Kicking with a Kickboard and with Breathing
This swimming exercise is similar to the previous one, but you will now integrate breathing into the drill cycle. So do the following:
- Push off the ground while holding the kickboard in front of you.
- Kick a few times.
- Raise your head above water at the end of the last kick, just before you recover your feet towards the buttocks. Inhale as soon as your mouth clears the water.
- Let your chest and head drop back into the water after breathing and immediately start to exhale. Your legs continue the recovery.
- Kick a few times again, raise your head to inhale, and so on.
- Exhale continuously while your head is in the water.
- After a while, try to progressively reduce the number of kicks between each breath, until you inhale after each kick cycle.
The breaststroke kick is an essential foundation of the breaststroke. Once you have mastered this kick, you can start to practice the breaststroke arm movements.
Learning Path for the Breaststroke
Below you will find an overview of our series of articles to learn the breaststroke.
Each article includes one or several drills/exercises to be mastered.
The current article, which is part of this series, is highlighted:
By completing the different steps of this learning path, you should soon be able to swim the breaststroke.