Effortless Form: Backstroke

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1 Effortless Form: Backstroke Module One - Kick And Body Position In this first module weʼre going to cover drills that will help you feel comfortable on your back and on your side. The first thing that we need to do in backstroke is get the body position correct. Weʼll progress from kick on our back, to kick on our side with our arm extended. Even if youʼre experienced in backstroke, these drills are still important to go through. They will lengthen out your stroke and help you find the most efficient position to be in. Kick On Back As the name suggests, we start out by kicking on our back with our arms by by our side. Have your eyes looking towards the roof making sure to keep your head in line with your body. Keep your hips high in the water and kick consistently to keep your momentum up. Stay relaxed and don't forget to breath. If you run out of all your oxygen youʼll sink down. The ideal position is to sit high in the water. Kick On The Back (Side Rotation) This next variation is where you rotate your body to one side. We do this this drill to become comfortable being on our side, as backstroke isnʼt swum on our back as much as it is on our side. Keep your arms by your side for this drill. You can see Jeremy rotates quite far onto

2 his side because he has a strong kick. I recommend rotating about half as much for most swimmers. Kick On The Back (Arm Extended) The next progression involves extending your bottom arm in front of your head. This is the position you will begin your backstroke pull from. To balance, scull your hand back and forth as Jeremy does in the underwater shots. Itʼs also good practice for finding the starting pull position. You may be more comfortable rotating less than Jeremy, and this fine. As long as you are on your side that is the important part. Kick On Back (Side To Side) This drill helps us with our side to side rotation because weʼre having to rotate to each side using only our kick and core muscles to rotate. To do this drill, Begin kicking on your back with your arms by your side. Rotate to one side and then to the other side. Keep going until you reach the end of the lap. This drill requires a good kick so you may need fins to do this. Again its important to stay relaxed in this drill and keep high in the water.

3 Module Two - Pull Now weʼre starting to use our arms in backstroke. Weʼve worked on our kick and body position, so we know how we should be positioned in the water. Weʼre comfortable with being on our side which is really important for backstroke. This module is focused on pulling with power and holding the water strongly. Weʼll also cover some drills which will help keep your stroke smooth. Letʼs get into it Half Pull This drill is similar to kick on the back with arm extended, as this is the position we start the drill in. In half pull drill, weʼre practicing the first part of the pull through as this is where the majority of the power comes from. From the sculling position on your side, pull through to your waist, getting a strong catch as you do it. Notice Jeremy moves from the straight arm extension into a bent elbow position during the main phase of the pull. Imagine youʼre grabbing a heavy weight from behind you and youʼre pulling it towards you. Lift, Lower & Stroke In backstroke itʼs important to get each shoulder out of the water during the recovery. Lift, lower and stroke drill practices the a clean and smooth recovery. To do this drill, start in the kick on side arm extended position. Lift the arm thats next to your hip up so its pointing to the ceiling, drop it back to your hip, and then take one stroke so youʼre on your other side. Now do the same thing on your other side. Lift, lower and stroke. Take this drill slowly,

4 donʼt rush the lift and lower phase as the more comfortable you get doing this the more controlled your backstroke swim will be. Single Arm Single arm backstroke helps you to focus on what youʼre doing during the pull by only pulling with one arm. To do this drill, keep one arm by your side, and the other arm pulling through. The most important thing during this is to make sure the opposite comes out of the water as youʼre pulling through. This is great practice for good rotation and a smooth stroke. It should feel is though youʼre grabbing the water and throwing it towards your feet. Keep a consistent kick going and try and pull through with as few bubbles as possible. 12 Kicks / 1 Stroke This is another good drill for developing a smooth stroke. Itʼs also a good drill to do in your warm up for backstroke as it works your kick and gets your rotation going. As the name suggest, you do 12 kicks on your side in the arm extended position and then take one stroke and switch to your opposite side. Now do 12 kicks on your other side and repeat for the lap. 12 Kicks / 3 Stroke. Just like the last drill except weʼre now taking three strokes. Work on getting those shoulders out of the water in the rotation.

5 Module Three - Full stroke Extra Rotation Just like weʼve spoken about in the last two modules, shoulder rotation is key in backstroke. In this drill weʼre swimming normal backstroke but rotating even further than we normally would. The goal is to get the shoulders clear out of the water. Exaggerate the shoulder rotation. Overspeed racing backstroke. Now weʼre ready for speed. In this drill we swim backstroke with a faster stroke rate than you would when racing. That is, the rate at which your arms turnover. So kick your legs hard, look towards your toes and get your arms over as quick as you can. Itʼs a good warm up for Swim Iʼm going to cover a few points about backstroke that I hope will help you get a clear idea on what the technique should be. Backstroke is swam with your head looking straight to the ceiling, and your head should not move an inch when youʼre swimming, it stays dead still. Your kick is always working, keep your kick going consistently giving you good power and sitting your body nice and high in the water. Your hips are rotating slightly. they provide the power for your upper body rotation. You arms are straight in the recovery, don't have them bent, lock out your elbow. Enter just outside your shoulder width with your little finger, dig deep and grab that water, begin your pull, moving into a bent elbow position.

6 Now from here there are two different ways you can finish the stroke. The traditional way, where you throw the water past your hip and down. Or the new way which is to hold the water all the way and bring your hand straight out without throwing the water down. I recommend most swimmers stick with the traditional way until you become confident in backstroke. Then I suggest trying the new way and figuring out for yourself which method works best for you.

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