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Top tips for improving your backstroke

Top tips for improving your backstroke:

  • Are your knees above water during the kick? When you’re practicing your backstroke, use a kick board and place it over your knees. Then kick while keeping your knees under the water. Think ‘ballerina toes’ to keep your legs straighter, as it will minimise bending of the knees. You can also practice your kick while sitting on the edge of the pool, with legs straight. Or ask someone in the pool to watch you do your backstroke and have them put their hands over your knees when you swim past.
  • Are your feet out of the water in the kick? Remember that the backstroke kick means keeping your toes pointed and your ankles loose. When you kick with ballerina toes, brush your toes when you kick, you will find that your toes will make bubbles (like water boiling) rather than fountains of water.
  • Are you holding your breath? Remember what we always say about our breath hold with backstroke: breathe in on one arm and out on the other. Breathe in with your mouth when using one arm but blow it out through your nose when you use the other! Stops water going up your nose too!
  • Is your head down, looking at your feet? Try to kick on your back whilst cuddling a kickboard across your chest. When you look at your feet splashing, it’s making your swim a lot harder, because your bottom is creating a lot of drag. Look for airplanes instead. Another fun way to keep your head in the right position is to balance a cup of water or a sinkie/toy on your forehead, whilst kicking on your back. If you’re still unsure, you can practice by the side of the pool, and have Coach correct your head position so you can feel it better.
  • Does your straight arm not brush your ear? Who loves their superhero arms? Did you know you can do it on your back for your backstroke as well? This is what we do when we do our pop and swap! That way our arms always end up behind our ear! Don’t forget to bring our arms to our head, and not the other way around, so we can swim in a straight line as well. This is also a good one to practice on land, next to the pool. In Backstroke we want your straight arm to brush the ear.

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