Coaches use a plethora of drills, but are they adequate for improving technique? Most drills are performed because “that’s how it has been done” or “because everyone else does the drill”, but what about individualizing drills specific for each swimmer. This concept may seem abstract but needs as common as a Charlie Sheen cocaine interview.
Upon discussion with a great up and coming coach, breaststroke with dolphin kick was discussed in detail. Many coaches prescribe this drill to implement undulation during breaststroke, but many athletes bob up and down like a see-saw. More importantly, this drill may force the swimmer to undulate at the wrong point of their stroke. If the swimmer is performing a downward fly kick during their recovery then the wrong movement pattern is being ingrained. The swimmer needs to perform an upkick during the recovery phase, something breaststroke with dolphin kick doesn’t mimic.
Many swimmers have difficulties obtaining enough hip flexion during breaststroke. To help achieve hip flexion I suggest the athlete scull then perform 3 breaststroke kicks with their hips extended, 3 with their hips flexed approximately 20-40 degrees and 3 with their hips flexed 50-70 degrees. This drill may not stress undulation but can help an athlete improve the joint position in the water and comfort in various positions. What is your favorite breaststroke undulation drill?