Backstroke - More Than Just Floating on Your Back in a Pool

by Pool Builders on 01-12-2010 in Articles

Backstroke used to be a broad name for any stroke done on the back, but over the years a distinctive way of swimming has emerged. Backstroke requires a specific body position with the water line at the top of your forehead and your chest and stomach above the water line. It is a rotational stroke, meaning while one arm is in recovery the other is giving the swimmer power. Also, the shoulder roll is terribly important. Avoid shrugging, as this will make you be seen to "snake" down the pool as you swim.

Each arm circle can be broken down into four parts, the catch, the pull, the release, and the recovery. The first step, the catch, should feel like you're palming a ball of water in your hand. The better your catch is, the better and more powerful your entire stroke is. Once you have your water "ball" at the beginning of your stroke, you should drop your elbow slightly to begin the pull. From this position, palm the water towards the bottom of the pool until your hand and your shoulder are even. Then, rotate the ball towards your hip. Once your hand is near your waist, you reverse the curve of your pull and extend your arm down, straightening your elbow, finishing the stroke down by your thigh.

From start to end, this pull makes an "S" shape. This is intentional. Be sure to make a sculling motion with your hand, as this will provide the power you need. Once finished with the stroke at your thigh, it's time to recover that arm for the next stroke. You should now release the ball that has been propelling you forward.

If you're interested in competitive swimming, or just being as efficient as you can, working on your backstroke technique will help make you a better swimmer.

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