Breaststroke Arms & Breathing

Always start with a demonstration of whole stroke. Just ask your “arms” group to watch the head.

The key to learning this simple skill is not the arm action, it is learning how to breathe out completely, just in time.

Specifically, explosive breathing, clearing all the air so they are ready to breath when the chin lifts.

Timing of exhalation is hard to acquire, teaching the arms is simple. You can teach arm movements. Timing can’t be taught – it must be learnt.

Always try and be in a position to watch their faces.

You may benefit from the bobbing and blowing bubbles exercises or even recap on front crawl where timing of correct explosive breathing is crucial. Reminds them of the timing.

Breaststroke should be easier than front crawl because the stroke is slower. Their heads are lifting to breathe rather than turning. Less issues with water going into the nose.

Now start With flippers on in small groups

Using front crawl leg action and keeping the arms straight and still, swim a width in waves.

Now ask them to lift their heads when they have blown out. At least three breaths.

Once they can do this, remind them that they have just done several widths of breathing without using any hand movement at all.

They are now ready to start lifting the head to breathe and moving the hands. Only move to this practice if they are ready. For example: if they are moving their hands at all, they have not cracked the blowing out:they need more practice. Go back to the first drill.

To start with, keep the arms straight and just use a small outward scull of the hands at the moment air is needed.

 “So we don’t need big arms, do we? Big arms slow us down and make us sink. Use a tiny, tiny circle when you are ready to breathe

“pretend you are a vacuum cleaner, ready to suck in the new air as your chin clears the water line”

Only lift your chin to when you are ready to breathe” “Get up and down fast “Hands stay still.”

Get back to the streamline position as soon as you can

Here you can find a more detailed explanation and other fun ideas of teaching the arms and breathing

Use any of the drills that you like to get a fast small arm action at the right moment: Funky Chicken, Karate hands, Romeo & Juliet, Pizza hands or number 5 bus.

Once you think they can do the arms, do the same breathing action but now use breaststroke legs with flippers on still.

If they lose the timing of the arms & breathing, step back. As always.

Two kicks one fast arms (kick, kick blow bubbles breath)

Flippers off and two kicks, one breath.

Then attempt the full stroke KICK- GLIDE- BLOW BUBBLES –BREATH 

Teaching plan, Shirley Swimming Pool 2024 Copyright West End Swim School Ltd