The Deepest Part of the Breaststroke Pull

Welcome Back! We are super excited to be dissecting the Deepest Part of the Breaststroke Pull, as hand depth is something I’ve really been studying and researching recently within the swim strokes. I recently uploaded some pictures to Instagram that I’m excited to build on here to help you better understand the depth of this pull and how to best cue it to your swimmers!

Let’s Get Started!

I still believe that there are 4 Steps to a Breaststroke Pull. The third steps being the most IMPORTANT in terms of speed, but I’ll also prove that to you in regards to depth too. For a quick refresher on the 4 Steps Required for a Breaststroke Pull, watch the video below.

If we zone in on hand depth within the Breaststroke Pull, we also notice the Deepest Part of the Breaststroke Pull is during the start of the ‘Scoop’ Phase – as swimmers ‘catch’ onto the water! See the images below:

1.) “I” Phase

Swimmer Demonstrating the “I” Phase of the Breaststroke Pull

2.) “Y” Phase

Swimmer Demonstrating the “Y” Phase of the Breaststroke Pull

3.) Scoop Phase

Swimmer Demonstrating the Beginning of the Scoop Phase of the Breaststroke Pull
Swimmer Demonstrating the End of the Scoop Phase of the Breaststroke Pull

4.) Shoot Phase

Swimmer Demonstrating Shoot Phase of the Breaststroke Pull.

If you zero in on those images of the Scoop Phase, you’ll notice the swimmer’s hands are actually Scooping UP towards the surface of the water – kind of following their body position at this point in the stroke. I do believe that all Breaststrokers have to hit a GREAT Bodyline at the beginning and end of their strokes, as it helps keep their surface drag low.

The “Y” Phase to me is also interesting too because there is a slight ‘lift’ from the arms (aka they go more shallow) to help get them ready to engage and go deep – which in actuality causes this pull to follow the half moon or smile trajectory from start to finish.

What Does this Mean for Swim Coaches?

I’ve been on many pool decks and watched TONS of coaches coach their athletes and the most common feedback I hear about Breaststroke is teaching swimmers how to glide and hold their glide. But gliding isn’t the only key to FAST Breaststroke Swimming. We need to start cueing our swimmers that during the “Y” Phase, they need to be laying their body DOWN and getting their hands UP – almost like the chest press in Butterfly to get them prepared for a good, DEEP Scoop.

We also want to AVOID what we see above during the Shoot Phase. It’s super hard to have swimmers keep their hands RIGHT UNDER THE SURFACE while shooting forward. This is not because that movement itself is complicated, but rather the body is going down too. The body often shifts the hands lower as they shoot out, which is super hard for swimmers to feel. This is a great scenario where video analysis feedback can be an awesome tool to show your swimmers this, and we be happy to help you out with that. Click here to see our Video Analysis Packages.

Example Trainer Video Analysis Package

Having a swimmer’s hand shoot down during their Shoot Phase increases their surface drag and then requires them to lift the hands to get back into their bodyline for their “I” Phase. If you look back at the photos above, the “I” Phase is ideally how you want to see your swimmers arms, depth-wise, at the end of their Shoot Phase. The start and finish of a Breaststroke Pull should look the same.

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on Breaststroke to help you and your swimmers, consider check out our Foundations of Breaststroke for Coaches Course. This course is 6 hours in duration with 58 lessons for coaches to better their knowledge about Breaststroke. We’ve gotten really good reviews and helped a lot of coaches around the world!

I’ll see you all next time.

Abbie Fish

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