8/11/03 Breaststroke Timing Technique Tip:
One of the common characteristics of most great breaststrokers is their timing.
Timing includes both the order and the spacing in between the parts of your
stroke (pulling, kicking, etc.). One of the simplest and most effective ways to
teach breaststroke timing involves using what some coaches call
In self-talk you speak your swimming cues to yourself, consciously affecting
what your body is doing. The self-talk that you use with breaststroke is
Pull-Breathe-Kick-Stretch. By speaking to yourself, you can
positively impact technique flaws, especially in timing.
Some of the common technique flaws in breaststroke timing and the ways that
using a self-talk can overcome them include the following:
Over-lappers: Beginning the pull before the kick is finished. By saying
"stretch" to yourself after each kick, it will help you to finish
each kick and streamline the body at the conclusion of each stroke.
Over-gliders: During the stretch phase of the stroke, if you glide so long that
your body loses much of its momentum, forcing you to speed up and slow down
every stroke cycle. If your self-talk sounds like
Pull-Breathe-Kick-Stretch-pause-pause-pause-pause-pause you may be
over-gliding. A self-talk allows you to recognize immediately pauses and
problems with your timing.
Stop-and-Goers: During the cycle, the pull is finished and the head is down
before the feet begin to kick. When we refer to the kicks place in our
self-talk, we are talking about the power phase of the kick (when the toes are
pointed out and they are pushing the water back and together). While you are
doing the outsweep of the pull and your head is rising to breathe, the heels of
your feet should be coming up toward your hips. This will ensure that when it
is time to kick, your legs are bent and youre ready to kick. This kick
timing will also help your hands to recover quicker while your legs are driving
The breaststroke self-talk can be modified to fit into many drills that most of
you already know.
1 Pull/2 Kick Breaststroke "Pull Breathe Kick
Stretch Kick Stretch"
Streamline Kick or kicking with hands on the bottom of a kickboard
"Breathe Kick Stretch"