FINIS Tip Of The Week: Breaststroke Pull Outs

Welcome to the “FINIS Tip of the Week.” Swimming World will be bringing you a topic that we’ll explore with drills and concepts for you to implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), each tip is meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

The tip for this week centers around breaststroke pull outs. The breaststroke pull out is an extremely powerful movement that is an integral part of any breaststroke race, and perfecting the perfect pull out can be the extra edge you need in a close race. Check out some of our tips below to help you maximize your breaststroke pull outs.

Fit Through A Pinhole…

Coming off the wall, you want to feel think about sliding your entire body through a pinhole. Obviously anytime you are in a streamline you want to think about this, but through the pull out you want to make sure you are aware of your body position and how you are using your core to minimize any resistance.

At the end of the pull phase, make sure your arms are tight against the body, and keep them close to your chest and under your body as your bring them back in front of your body to set up for your first stroke. Also be sure to make sure your legs are returning back to line after your dolphin kick. There are only a few movements during the pull out, but they are able to generate a lot of power and speed. Make sure you are thinking about maximizing those movements by staying aware of your body position through the pull out.

Partner Up To Reduce Your Drag…

Partner your swimmers up and have them watch for any spots in the pull out where their partner may be slowing down. This peer coaching will not only give each swimmer another set of eyes above and below water to watch for any inefficiencies in their pull out, it will also get those watching thinking more intentionally about what they are doing underwater.

Using cords as an assist is also great way to find any “dead spots” in your pull out. Simply have someone pull a partner down the length of the pool while they do pull outs underwater. Swimmers will reach speeds far greater than what they normally would and will have a heightened sense of any motion that may be slowing them down.

Timing…

Breaststroke is all about timing, and this applies even to your pull outs during your breakout. As you prepare for your first full stroke cycle, make sure your hands are essentially back in a streamline before initiating your first breaststroke kick to the surface. This will help you hold on to whatever speed you have generated off of the wall and carry that speed through the breakout and your first stroke. Breaststroke is the most difficult stroke to generate momentum, so the faster you start the better position you’ll be in to be fast in the middle of the pool.

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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