Here’s a brief progression to help your swimmer practice keeping the breaststroke arm stroke out in front of the body, avoiding pulling too far back underneath the chest.
4 x 25 breast drill
100 breaststroke swim on your back
Round 1: 25s are breaststroke kick with thumbs locked in front and the breath taking place just prior to the feet reaching the anchor point of the kick.
Round 2: Straight arm breaststroke – do not bend the elbows. This forces the athlete to do a small “scoop-and-shoot” using only the hands and wrists.
Round 3: Half-stroke breaststroke – press outward with the palms, and begin to catch with high elbows, but release the water with your hands early and shoot forward into the glide phase.
Round 4: Full-stroke breaststroke – just proceed a bit further than in Round 3, consistently keeping the hand in front of the vertical chin line.
Breaststroke swim on the back is exactly as it sounds. Athlete initiates the pull underwater above his head and pulls out and towards his feet until reaching shoulder level, at which point the hands are lifted out of the water and pushed forward over the face to the starting position. This drill helps the athlete become more aware of the position of his hands relative to his torso.