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Breaststroke Teaching Progression
Step #1: Teach Breaststroke Body Position

When I teach breaststroke, I follow a 5-step teaching progression. Step # 1 of the Progression is to teach Body Position, and to do this I start the swimmers on land.

I have them stand out of the water with arms extended straight up and hands in the “missile position.”

We use the term “missile position” to describe the breaststroke glide…

…to distinguish it from a common streamline, where one hand is over the other.

This is missile position. The arms are fully extended and the shoulders cover the ears. The chin is off the chest and the head is in a neutral position…eyes looking straight forward. The belly button is pressed in and the hips are tucked under. Engage the core and try to flatten the lower back.

Next…take that position to the water with a coach-assisted missile glide position.

I extend the swimmer’s arms, thumbs touching, so that the shoulders squeeze against the side of the head and cover the ears.

I want her fingers forward with her hands angled down with a slight bend at the wrist.

The head is in neutral and the eyes are looking straight down.

I ask her to lean in on her chest a little, pressing it deeper into the water. The sternum will be the deepest part of the body.

The body is in a horizontal line, straight forward, and her toes are pointed.

I tell the swimmer that each stroke of breaststroke starts and finishes in this position.

I give the swimmer a missile push so they can FEEL the glide.