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Old 12-20-2010
yann yann is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Posts: 49
Default Setting the grip


For the last two months I trained my breaststroke using the "Breaststroke for every body" DVD. Today I went to the pool with a colleague who had competed in his youth. When he saw my breaststroke, he told me I shouldn't open my arms in a Y position, but directly go from the streamline position to a grip position (like the freestyle grip but with the two arms). Then I should focus on my arms and forearms to squeeze them to my body.

If I think of his advices as focal points (feel gripping the water and feel I'm using my whole arm to propel me) it make sense. But I realized I can't argue about setting my arms in a Y position, because I don't know what's the purpose of this step.

So can anyone explain it to me?

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Old 12-20-2010
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

Don't feel limited to using only the "Y position." The far more important focus is returning to a fully streamlined position, barely below the surface, between strokes. You should spend nearly two-thirds of the time in each stroke cycle there.
When I'm streamlined below the surface, I pay attention to the effect of natural buoyancy - combined with forward motion - returning me to the surface. When I feel that my head is about to break through, on its own - no lifting at all, I simply 'help' with my hands, as gently and briefly as possible. While stroking I also focus on keeping my hands and feet as far apart as possible.

Let me know if those Focal Points help.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 12-20-2010
AWP AWP is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575

In 'helping' my daughters with this, and as I work on my own, I've also told them to eliminate the Y position and, as you mention Terry, to get back to the streamline position immediately.

I felt in observing them that the Y thought was bringing about the stroke too soon. Better to stay there (streamline) and as they rise just hug the water and scoot back "under the covers".

Now, when you mention hands and feet as far apart is that before or during the stroking, both, and why?

My breaststroke in particular the kick is probably my least effective and I'd like to fix that or come up with a way to enhance my limitations. Thanks.
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Old 12-23-2010
yann yann is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Posts: 49

Thank you Terry for your answer, I'm most honored you answered me.

If I get your comments well:
  • The Y position is not an important point to focus on.
  • The purpose of the out sweep in TI Breaststroke is not to gain propulsion by the mean of gripping and pushing water behind me, but simply to help me to breath. (The fact I gained elevation during the breathing can be still transformed to propulsion by sculling)

What I found interesting while trying the focal points of my colleague, is that I got a grouping position which I felt compact a bit like the one I saw from Shinji's breaststroke demonstration on the DVD or in this Shinji's video on youtube. When I look at 0:11 or at 0:14, I notice his elbows get quite backward (behind his shoulder).

Before I didn't bring my elbows before my shoulders, then with my colleague's advice I did and noticed Shinji does it too. And now with your last advice, I'm a bit confused:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
While stroking I also focus on keeping my hands and feet as far apart as possible.
In short, how far should my elbows go while stroking?

Otherwise I was already applying the 1/3 2/3 ratio. But I found the advice of waiting in streamline until "I feel that my head is about to break through" very helpful.

Thank you for all your insights and material, you made swimming a great pleasure in my life.

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