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Let’s Talk Backstroke.




Did you know competitive backstroke swimmers swim 90% on their side and only on their back for starts, turns and finishes!  Why? To make our arms longer and to stretch back further, the body needs to be rotated.

How to get the most out of your Backstroke?

The start
The propulsion from the wall comes from the push and the underwater butterfly wriggle on the back. The head is the steering wheel, driving the body over and into the water for the start. The combination of the two, powers the underwater streamline position. Once on top, the head must keep completely still, as an extension of your spine, with the body rotating with each arm stroke. Imagine a rod through your spine, head in a neutral position, with the water lapping around your goggles. This is the aquatic spine and the correct body position for backstroke.

The Kick
Long legs, fast kick, knees under the water. The kick moves with the rotation of the hips to both left and right.

Arm Rotation
The arm and shoulder rotation move together. The opposite shoulder of the rotating arm pops out of the water. The arm action is straight up with the thumb leading. When your fingers are pointing to the sky, rotate the hand ready for entry. On entry the arm is straight, bending when the hand is in line with the shoulder. The hand sculls through the water, pushing the body past the entry point. Sculling drills are introduced to complement the ‘feel’ of the sculling power. Also double armed survival backstroke is a great fun activity to reinforce the muscle memory of the stroke.

The challenges – turns and finishes
Backstroke can be challenging, especially when you can’t see where you are going. Count your strokes from the flags and know when the wall is approaching. Our focus is to practice every length, every time. The repetitive action trains the brain to become an autonomous action, empowering a swimmer to perform turns and finishes with their eyes shut!