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    SwimPath Blog — Training & Technique

    Breaststroke Tips and Tricks

    Breaststroke Tips and Tricks

    Breaststroke is one of the most technical strokes and one of the trickiest to master. It's important to remember that Breaststroke is all about skill and efficiency so if you just move faster that doesn't mean you're going to move quicker. This post is designed to give you a couple key tips and things to work on at all levels to ensure that you are able to get the most out of your training time. 

    • Your Body Position after each stroke on the glide phase should be as flat as possible. The glide phase is when you are moving the fastest so being as tightly streamlined and flat as possible will result in be even quicker and is one of the easiest things to do.
    • Spend time sculling using a snorkel to see your hand movements ensuring they go wide enough. They should be in a Y position at their absolute widest, remember not to go too wide as most of the forward momentum comes from our kick.
    • 2 kicks 1 pull drill is the perfect drill to ensure that your body is in the correct position after the pull. This drill should not be rushed, by slowing it down you will also be adding a small amount of Hypoxic element to your training which will help your under waters late on in races.
    • Whilst kicking ensure that your legs snap back together at the end of your kick, this is made easier by squeezing your bum towards the end of the kick. Doing this will also put your legs are in the correct and most efficient position.
    • The Breaststroke Pull Out is something that shouldn't be rushed, the movements should be quick and snappy but they each one should start when you feel yourself slow down after the previous movement.      

    Event Specialisation

    When is the best time for swimmers to specialise in a certain event, stroke or distance? There's a lot of grey area and questions about when to focus on one event, but every individual swimmer is different. 
    Deciding when to specialise is a discussion that all swimmers need with their coaches and together a plan can be made to reach the swimmer's goals. 
    Even when a swimmer has grown to be better at a certain stroke or event, there are many benefits to continue to do some training on all of the strokes and competing in different events:
    • Improves overall general fitness working on more muscle groups rather than the one stroke you are specialising in,
    • Working on other strokes can benefit performance, by helping with recovery and adapting work load,
    • Reduces the pressure of trying to beat the time in one event as the swimmer will have a number of events and Best Times to beat rather than just one,
    • Racing in different events increases race practise and helps improve racing skills and speed,
    • The best type of training is racing! There are lots of top swimmers that still race in a number of events for training purposes, which helps towards their main event,
    • You might surprise yourself with a good time in an event you wouldn't normally do,
    • It keeps training and racing fun!

    From an Olympians' experience- What motivates a swimmer to get out of bed in the morning to go training.

    Looking back on the years of training and dedication that got me to 2 Olympic Games and 3 Olympic Finals, I think about what was it that got me out of bed on those mornings I was so tired and wanted to stay in bed. I often get asked, "Did you ever not want to go training or feel like quitting?" And the answer is yes, and the answer will be the same for the majority of World Class swimmers. Competitive sport is extremely tough and challenging and it's completely normal for us to have feelings of wanting to give up. Here are some motivational ideas/ thoughts that
    pushed me to get out of bed and commit to my training:
    - Ask yourself, Why am I doing this? To do be the best I can be, to beat my personal best, do get under 1min for 100 Fly, to win, I want to be on that Team.
    - Remember how it felt when I missed out on that Final and the time I missed out on making a team?
    - Is going to training going to get me closer to my goal or further away?
    - I don't have to go, but I'm going to feel worse if I don't go training.
    - Put your personal time goals on your bedroom wall, a reminder of what you want to achieve. It was such a good feeling achieving a personal time goal and being able to rip apart the piece of paper with the old time on and create a new goal time.
    - Everyone else will be at training, I'm going to miss out.
    - What will my competitors be doing?
    - If I get up I can have Breakfast!
    - Deep down I want to be doing this and I know I'm not ready to stop swimming.
    Everyone will have different goals and different ideas that motivate them to go training. What works for you?
    Motivation. Dedication. Goals.

    Strong Shoulder Stability for Faster Swimming

    Over time Swimmers will perform Millions of Shoulder rotations and arm movements, while expecting our Shoulders to deal with it and just power through. Unfortunately our shoulder's are very unlikely to deal with this amount of stress without proper strengthening and stabilising of our Scapulas.

    The majority of Swimmers will experience Shoulder pain during their careers and there's nothing more frustrating then missing out on a competition or only being able to Kick in training due to an injury. 

    Strengthening and stabilising the Scaps will allow swimmers' Training to be more consistent. Stronger Shoulders and Scaps allow swimmers to create more power while pulling and travel faster through the water with less energy! 

    Scapula exercises can easily be done anywhere around training sessions to improve stability:

    Pre- pool workouts- activates the muscles we want to use while swimming to reduce stress on the shoulders, increase Power from our pulling action, decrease chance of injury and missing training.

    Around Pool sessions- Increase strength and stability of the shoulders to maximise performance in the pool and reduce chance of injury and pain.

    Exercises can be done for a small amount of time each day and is definitely worth it for all of those swimmers with goals and who work hard everyday!

    Thera bands are a great tool for training the shoulders and can be found here- Thera bands! Video for exercises to follow!