Too many unnecessary movements could be one of the reasons why your breaststroke is so slow
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t take breaststroke seriously enough.
Mostly because it feels like the easiest to any casual swimmer, and it’s technically the slowest in comparison to other competitive strokes. What they don’t know is that breaststroke is arguably one of the hardest to master because of the technique required. If you think you got it in the bag, you might be surprised to know that your form might not be as perfect as you thought.
Kicking too wide
Your kick makes or breaks your breaststroke. Your legs are primarily responsible for propulsion but many people tend to be sloppy. People think that bigger movements mean stronger kicks but going too far actually causes you to lose power. When you kick, your knees are only shoulder-width apart. Avoid pointing your knees outwards and making a scissor-like kick.
Pull too wide
Following the same logic with the kick, some people think wider pulls equate to stronger ones, too. Exaggerated pulls or when your arms go past your shoulders causes more drag than pull. People do this because they’re trying to use their arms to pull themselves forward, but it should be more like pushing water away from your body. Keep your arms at shoulder width then scoop downwards. Keep your arms close and your elbows in line with your arms.
Timing is off
One of the trickiest things about breaststroke is getting the kick and pull to sync efficiently. They don’t exactly happen at the same time but that doesn’t mean your legs have to wait for your arms to go back to streamline before moving either. Some people bend their arms and legs at the same time. The problem here is that your kick is faster than your pull, so doing it simultaneously would mess up the timing of your glide.
Others wait for the arms to completely streamline before they start moving their legs, which causes a slight pause and a weak recovery. The way to do it is to start your arm pull and when your head is up to breathe, your legs should still be stretched out. When your arms are about to return, start to bend your legs. With the right timing, your pull and kick would sync to a strong glide without imposing on the movements of the other.
Excessive head movement
For breaststroke, your head goes up the water instead of sideways, but some people make the mistake of moving it too much. Actually, there’s very little head movement for this stroke. Don’t bob your head up and down when you’re going up to breathe as this ruins your form and adds drag. Rather, keep your head steady and have your arms pull your chest up but only high enough that you can get air.