FINIS Tip Of The Week: Right Side/Left Side Breaststroke


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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.

This week’s drill is Right Side/Left Side Breaststroke, a great drill to work on breaststroke timing, body line, and whole body coordination.

The drill alternates between a pull and kick with either the right or left side of the body. You can adjust the drill to focus on one side for a single length, alternate sides with each stroke, or add a full stroke as part of the pattern (i.e. – right side/left side/full stroke cycle). While pulling or kicking on either side, the opposite arm and leg should be in a static, prone position on the surface of the water.

This drill is difficult for a number of clear reasons. Isolating the pull and kick to just one side of the body requires coordination and patience, and makes it difficult to hold a proper body line and maintain forward momentum with each stroke.

However, the challenge of the drill is precisely what makes it useful. The drill teaches body coordination, helping swimmers fine-tune their timing, and develops a better awareness of how swimmers are using their stroke to accelerate through the water. Keeping the opposite side of the body still while the other side moves also mimics the timing of breaststroke, albeit in a totally different way.

Encourage your swimmers to go slow and to isolate each movement as much as they can to get the full effect of the drill. Once they return to normal breaststroke, they should feel a more heightened awareness of their timing and where they may be unintentionally losing acceleration in their stroke.

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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1 comment

  1. avatar

    Another useless drill thought up by a freestyler. Almost all breaststrokers have a difference in their right and left arm strength, and often a pronounced shoulder tilt. What should be emphasized is timing of the pull and getting into the kick and glide with the head under water in a streamlined position. Quite frankly the kick and glide are 80 to 90% of the distance covered in a stroke cycle, and yet are less than 50% of the time stent in the stroke cycle.
    The faster the are stroke can be completed the ore time is left to complete a great kick and glide.

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