If you’re already missing being outside and the rush of drills, it may be time to start doing off-season lifeguard training! Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you can’t improve your skills. If you want to work on drills and skill development, the breaststroke swimming technique is something you may not often think about. Though it's a widely used athletic and leisure swimming stroke, lifeguards don’t use it as much because of its slow speed. However, the breaststroke is essential for improving your swimming abilities and staying in shape during the off-season. If you're looking to improve your breaststroke in the off-season, Perform the drills outlined here to get ready for your best season yet.
What Is the Breaststroke Swimming Technique?
For many years, the breaststroke has been one of the most popular and widely used swimming strokes. It's excellent for beginners and experienced swimmers alike because it allows you to breathe freely and keep your eyes open without needing goggles. So, how do you typically execute a breaststroke?
Start by floating in the water with your legs together and your arms straight out in line with your head. Your head should be looking straight down.
To propel forward, move your arms out to the sides through the water, staying fully extended the whole time, until your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Then, swiftly move your hands toward each other until your palms touch. Continue moving forward until you have fully extended your arms to the front again.
While your arms are moving backward, your body should naturally transition from a 90-degree angle to a 45-degree angle in the water. Your shoulders and torso will be mostly out of the water, with your hips and legs still submerged. When your palms meet and your arms extend forward, the rest of your body should follow until it again makes a straight line from toe to fingertip on top of the water.
While moving your arms backward, your legs should generally stay in the same position. Once your elbows are almost in line with your shoulders, bend your knees and move your feet closer to your butt. When your arms are moving forward, move your knees apart while separating your legs outward and backward, resulting in a propelling kick. Then, move your legs inward until they are together and extended again in the beginning position.
Tips and Drills to Improve Breaststroke
Once you have perfected the breaststroke swimming technique basics, you should learn how to improve your breaststroke in the off-season. Doing so is especially critical for lifeguards who only work in warmer weather. Staying in shape and practicing in the off-season is essential to keep your skills honed and ensure you can still perform safety and rescue skills.
The advantage of practicing your breaststroke is that it will help keep you in shape and improve your muscle function for swimming without wearing you out. Go to your local YMCA or pool at least once a week and work on these drills to hone your breaststroke technique.
Timing: Timing is a critical skill to practice for improving your breaststroke. Either your arms or your legs should be propelling during this stroke. However, they shouldn’t be doing so at the same time. Simultaneously working both will result in unnecessary fatigue. Practice your breaststroke while counting to make sure you are moving your legs while resting your arms and vice versa.
Don’t look down: An easy tip to improve breaststroke performance is to properly focus your eyes. It’s a common misconception that you should be looking straight down toward the bottom of the pool during the breaststroke. Instead, to improve focus and performance, look three to six feet ahead.
Foot position: Do you point or flex your feet during the breaststroke swimming technique? Trick question — the answer is both. Improve your breaststroke in the off-season by paying attention to your feet. When your legs are propelling backward, flex your feet for maximum pull. However, once your legs come back together in the flat position, point your toes to glide smoothly and fluidly through the water.
Breathing: As with any stroke, improving breaststroke in off-seasons also depends on breathing techniques. Perform a breathing exercise to improve your breaststroke in the water. Submerge your face as you would during the stroke and hold your breath for one or two seconds longer than usual. Then, bring your face out of the water and take a deep breath before submerging again. Repeat this breaststroke drill at least 10 times per swimming session. It will help you with this stroke while improving your overall breathing skills for swimming.
Kicking: To develop a more powerful breaststroke kick, you can perform kick drills. Hold on to the edge of the pool with your hands. With your legs, kick as if you were swimming through the water doing the breaststroke. Focus on what your legs are doing — your knees should be hip-width apart and slightly below your hip line when kicking. Repeat this drill each time you go to the pool to strengthen your legs and make your kicking more fluid.
As with any other stroke, your ability to maintain buoyancy, arm strength and leg strength is critical to improving breaststroke in off-season training. Doing weight-retrieving drills, strength training and working on other strokes are also crucial to developing your backstroke and overall lifeguarding skills.
Get the Right Swim Gear for Training
Need some training gear for the off-season? Get in shape with top-quality gear and apparel from All American Swim. From resistance gear to diving rings and bricks to speed apparel that will help you glide through the water, All American Swim has everything you need to improve your breaststroke during off-season training and prepare for the upcoming season. Get in your drills to improve breaststroke technique and your other skills during the off-season and depend on All American Swim to supply anything you need.