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How to fix Breaststroke kick so both legs do the same?


Hi Gary

I am a swimming teacher and also the parent of a keen swimming son.  I have recently started reading your book swimming for parents which I  am finding very interesting.

I have a 10 year old student who is struggling with breaststroke.  She is an excellent freestyle and backstroke swimmer, but when she swims breaststroke her legs twist like a corkscrew.  It is getting so bad that she is now turning her head to the side when she swims breaststroke.  Please help!!

Thanks a lot.

Kind regards


Hi Barbara,

A corkscrew kick in breaststroke is one of the harder faults to correct in any stroke.   It takes time and patience and the ability for the child (or adult) to take a couple of steps backwards to go forwards.

I was a strong swimmer when I was young, however I had the same problem in breaststroke and was disqualified in a number of races for it.   What my coach did, and then I have repeated hundreds of times in the last 20 years in both learn to swim, junior squads and with adults is outlined below.

1. Sit on a seat, out of the water with your bottom on the edge of the seat and do the breaststroke kick on dryland.

2. Sit on the edge of the pool with your bottom on the edge and feet pointed straight out over the water. Bend your knees down into the water, turn your feet out and then kick out and around.

3. Once the above two drills are completed and leg and foot movement are correct, hop in the water and do breaststroke kick on your back with arms by your side.

4. Once you can do this correctly, roll onto your front and push off the wall underwater and do four to six breaststroke kicks underwatermaking sure the kick pattern is correct.

5. Once you can do this, give breaststroke kick on your front a go and it should have improved dramatically.

If anyone else has a suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment below.

The SwimmingExpert


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2 Responses to How to fix Breaststroke kick so both legs do the same?

  1. Jo February 2, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    I find teaching swimmers to push off the wall with out-turned feet a good drill, knees bent, soles of the feet on the wall (holding the wall with arms behind you) as they push off the wall snap the feet together to give the sensation of how a good kick should feel against the water. Arms simply fall to their sides, once this has been perfected, add a couple of kicks keeping hands relaxed by their sides.

    • Naomi Fox February 2, 2014 at 7:03 am #

      That’s a good idea Jo, I’ll try it with with screw kick swimmers. I’ve tried the advice Gary gives but they do it all perfectly on their back and as soon as they are on their front they go back to the screw kick! Naomi

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