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February 21, 2024
James Setton

How to Swim Backstroke: Mastering the Technique for Beginners

Indulge yourself in the captivating world of backstroke swimming, where the water invites you to play and glide through its depths. A fantastic adventure awaits you if you’re a beginner hoping to discover the secrets of this elegant technique. Enter the world of backstroke artistry, where each stroke narrates a tale and each movement represents a dance with the underwater world.

Essentials of Backstroke

Body Position and Alignment:

Imagine that you are a sleek arrow cutting through the canvas of water. It’s not only about looks; it’s about moving through the water with ease. Keep your body straight with a slight lean backward. You become a hydrodynamic gem with this streamlined position, which reduces resistance.

Arm Movements:

You become a propeller with your arms, the unsung heroes of backstroke. Accept and enjoy the circle dance, which is a calm and purposeful rhythmic motion. As your hands go forward with a graceful efficiency, let the water caress them. You have an underwater symphony; perform it with elegance.

Flutter Kick Technique:

Let’s now add grace to your water ballet. Your legs flutter a little, like elegant dancers. Hold them straight and flutter them softly in time with your arms. Discover the perfect spot where arm and leg motions blend together to create a dance that is a moving masterpiece of a backstroke.

Breathing Techniques:

It takes more than just oxygen to breathe backstroke; you also need rhythm. Align your breathing with your arms’ poetic movements. As your arms soar towards the sky, take a breath of pleasure and release it as they come back. This coordinated breathing guarantees a constant oxygen flow, supplying you with endurance for your swimming adventure. Breathe the win, feel the beat.

Backstroke Drills for Beginners

Floating Practice:

 To all you newbies, let me begin with a soft underwater hug. Lean back and accept the streamlined position. Allow the water to comfort you while infusing your strokes with confidence. It’s more than practice; it’s laying the groundwork for your aquatic adventure.

Drills for Arm and Leg Isolation: 

Time for some water-based isolation treatment. Disassemble it; start with the arms, then the legs. Like a maestro perfecting their symphony, perfect every movement. Gradually blend them together to create a smooth, coordinated backstroke dance. The water is your stage, and this is your solo.

Backstroke with Kickboard:

The kickboard is your new water buddy. It serves as more than simply a flotation device—it’s your underwater navigational aid. Rely on its assistance while you hone your skills. You’re not just swimming, but also building strength and endurance with each kick. The kickboard is your trustworthy companion on this aquatic journey.

Swimming on Your Back with an Object on Your Forehead:

To refine your backstroke technique, consider incorporating the drill of swimming on your back with an object placed on your forehead. This exercise helps improve body positioning, head stability, and overall coordination in backstroke swimming. Watch the demonstration below by a 4-time Olympic gold medalist to see how it’s done:

Watch as Olympic gold medalist demonstrates the backstroke drill of swimming with an object on the forehead to enhance technique and stability.

This drill encourages swimmers to maintain a straight and streamlined body position while keeping their heads steady. By practicing with an object on the forehead, swimmers learn to minimize head movement, which enhances efficiency and reduces drag in the water. Incorporate this drill into your backstroke training routine to refine your skills and elevate your performance in the pool.

Common Mistakes and Corrections

Overarching Back:

Ever had the feeling of swimming uphill rather than smoothly gliding? You may be suffering from generalized back pain. Don’t worry, though! Imagine your body as a straight line that resists gravity, extending from your head to your toes. Adopt a modest incline backward, sufficient to improve your hydrodynamics without being excessive. As you glide over the water with ease, you’ll notice the difference.

Inconsistent Arm Movements:

Have you ever had the impression that you’re zigzagging through the water rather than sprinting to the finish line? Arm movements that are inconsistent could be the cause. Finding your rhythm is essential; it should be a circular motion with each stroke, much like a well-oiled machine. As your propulsion achieves new heights of efficiency, maintain it smooth and steady.

Neglecting Flutter Kick:

Has there ever seemed to be a beat missing from your watery dance? The flutter kick is the unsung hero of backstroke grace, so don’t undervalue it. Imagine your legs as the supporting cast, assisting your arms in perfect synchronisation. Spend some time honing your kick so that it moves in perfect unison with your arm movements. We promise it’s the key to an impeccable performance in the water.

Benefits of Backstroke

Reduced Joint Strain:

Use backstroke to wave goodbye to joint problems. It provides an exercise without the stress, much like a soft embrace for your joints. The horizontal glide reduces impact, providing a good workout without overtaxing your joints.

Improved Posture: 

Backstroke is a disguised workout in posture correction in addition to swimming. Your body automatically aligns as you float through the water, using your core muscles to support a stronger, more erect spine. It’s similar to a boot camp for posture, but with a cool twist!

Versatility for All Ages:

 In the backstroke world, age is simply a number. Backstroke welcomes everyone, whether you’re showing off the benefits of swimming to a young child or ageing gracefully. Its superpower is versatility, which has made it a timeless favourite for swimmers of all ages. So, whatever your age, grab your goggles and let’s go surfing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is freestyle more difficult than backstroke?

    Swimming enthusiasts frequently argue between the backstroke and freestyle. But backstroke typically feels like a more gradual start for novices just getting their toes wet in the pool. Why? Imagine yourself floating weightlessly on your back with the water around you like a comforting companion. Breathing is easy when swimming backstroke, and the relaxed body position makes for comfortable navigating through the water.

  2. How do you swim backstroke faster?

    Ah, the need for speed! It all comes down to learning how to move as efficiently as possible if you want to be able to swim like a dolphin. Imagine your torso streamlined like a sleek torpedo, your legs performing a coordinated flutter kick, and your powerful arm strokes slicing through the water. Perfect your technique and you'll see an increase in speed. Practice makes perfect.

  3. What is the hardest stroke to perform?

    Now, this question may cause swimmers to argue amicably with one another. The bottom line is that backstroke is frequently praised as one of the easier strokes to learn. It's a favourite among swimmers of all skill levels because of its easy going atmosphere and simple breathing technique. Backstroke therefore welcomes you with open arms, or perhaps we should say, open strokes, whether you're a newbie dipping your toes or an experienced swimmer looking for a leisurely lap!

In summary:

Well done! The canvas of the pool is waiting for your strokes as you go off on a voyage into the artistry of backstroke. These tactics are your reliable allies on this aquatic trip, whether you’re here for a revitalising workout or to add more aquatic skills to your arsenal. Take a risk-taking approach, allow your enthusiasm to drive your technique, and watch as your backstroke skills soar. So, let the waves carry you towards swimming success with a dash of resolve and a stroke of confidence. Happy swimming, my fellow water lovers!

Guest article.
The above may not coincide with the methodology and opinion of the SwimRight Academy Team.

James Setton
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