While breaststroke is very much about the power developed in a good kick that propels the swimmer forward, the mechanics of the pull are worthy of further attention. When working with junior age-group swimmers, I like to focus on the following five aspects of the pull while training.
- Develop a feel for massaging the water. When commencing the pull, rather than having the palms facing down, they should be at a 45 degree angle, as the swimmer begins the out-sweep.
- The out-sweep in breaststroke should have swimmers concentrate on forming a Y at the top of the stroke. A Y-scull drill is excellent for working on this and sweeping the hands outwards at a 45 degree angle.
- Avoid dropping the elbows. Throughout the pull there is a need to maintain the elbow above the forearm, which is above the wrist.
- A common mistake young swimmer make is that they pull too far back behind their shoulder line. Elbows should be in front of shoulder at the commencement of the in-sweep.
- Getting the most out of the surge forward from the kick is dependent on the swimmer’s body position. Bent elbows in glide need to be eliminated with a full extension. A two-kick to one pull drill can help the swimmer understand the streamline position needed. Even better, have the second-kick performed under the water.
Richard is currently Secondary School Principal of Suzhou Singapore International School, one of China's leading international schools. He leads workshops across the Asia-Pacific region for the International Baccalaureate in the areas of pedagogical leadership and approaches to teaching and learning. Richard consults with schools on the topics of school improvement and effective implementation and use of technology.
With a background in public and independent school education in the UK and Australia, Richard is enjoying his international school adventure in China. He is passionate about developing and supporting educational leaders, as it is essential to improving all schools.
Richard is a proud family man and feels lucky to be married to Kim and father of their son Austin.
In his spare time Richard enjoys to swim, bike and run and is a now retired football player and coach (with occasional guest appearances)