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Old 02-16-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 647

Originally Posted by sterlingtimes View Post
Thank you all for the various response which have been most helpful.

I think that I have a good basic understanding of the timing and synchronisation.

However, I cannot really get a good feel for what is going on with my kick.

If I imagine getting my heels as far apart as possible immediately before the kick, then that gives me maximum propulsion. However, my natural inclination is to bring the heels very close to each other because the heels would then travel further. Clearly, something is wrong.
See if this article helps:

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Old 02-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
Modern thinking about the breaststroke kick seems to favor the narrow kick. Your knees should not be much wider than your hips when you recover the heels towards the buttocks and you should try to avoid dropping the knees and pulling them forwards because that creates drag.

When your heels reach your buttocks the feet should turn outwards and kick out and back (not too wide) and then the feet come together for the glide.
During my recent visit to Tokyo we shot video for a new and highly simplified learning sequence for both Breast and Fly. These will be documented and illustrated in a new kind of learning tool we will begin producing very shortly, called an ibook or vook. This is a relatively brief book - generally 5000 words or less - with photos and embedded video. We'll sell the ibooks from our site. The vooks, which will be somewhat more basic, will be sold from

I'm thinking of calling these - tongue only partly in cheek - "The Ridiculously Simple Way to Learn Breaststroke (or Butterfly) in 1 Hour."

The Breaststroke sequence starts as follows:
1. Superman Glide - with hands and feet separated by a couple of inches. This separation improves lateral stability.
2. Add a Mini-Kick. The best way to describe a mini-kick is to do the smallest and gentlest movement that could possibly be described as a breast kick. Your object is to (i) draw your feet up far less than usual, (ii) separate your feet far less than usual, (iii) keep your knees at approx hip width, aiming to have feet just slightly wider. (iv) Turn heels in and toes out; (v) try to push water directly back - minimizing any downward or inward thrust; (vi) finish by streamlining lower leg with feet slightly separated.

Practice Mini-Kick with arms extended in SG position and head released to 'hang' between shoulders as in SG. No breathing. Stand for a breather when you need air.

When Richard says that current thinking is to favor a narrow kick, I believe this goes double for the 'average' or novice breaststroker -- as opposed to the natural breaststroker.

In my observation, most people try to do far too much with the kick. Consequently they drop or open the knees too far and spread the feet too wide. They're trying to maximize thrust but in reality are maximizing drag.

Those who aren't 'natural' breastrstokers (like myself) find it particularly difficult to create much thrust. Therefore their smartest strategy is to satisfy themselves with a minimized (relatively small and light) kick. They won't lose much possible thrust than if they try to maximize thrust. And there's a very good chance, they could actually increase thrust, while saving effort, because the thrust they do produce is far more likely to be directed back, whereas in the larger, more effortful, kick, much of the thrust is out, in and down.

At the same time, they are likely to significantly reduce drag by minimizing the kick. Net net is a big improvement in propulsion.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 02-16-2011 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 02-17-2011
AWP AWP is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575

Thanks for the heads up (really down :p) Terry. I one of those that thought by having a slightly downward kick that it would assist in raising the hips thus helping to streamline legs and reduce drag going into the glide phase. And come to think of it the times I've felt the most "squirt" forward was when I thought I'd kicked straight back but convinced myself it was because I 'actually' kicked down a bit. I obviously don't know what I'm talking about !
I'll be concentrating on this aspect my next go @ breaststroke, thanks.
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