Welcome back to Part II of our series on the Backstroke Pull. This week we plan to dig deeper into the Backstroke stroke itself, dissecting the recovery—where as, last week we discussed some keys to a GREAT Backstroke Pull.
If you haven’t read Part I of this series, click here. Otherwise, let’s get started!
Have you ever felt in your Backstroke that you’re trying really hard, but the feel of your stroke is just off? Maybe you feel like your tempo is high, but definitely not catching any water? It is FOR SURE not fun to be swimming Backstroke, but having it feel like a spin drill at the same time.
In Part I, we discussed 3 Keys to a GREAT Backstroke Pull and the last point—is critical in understanding what we are going to talk about today: the recovery.
The 3rd key stated a swimmer must FINISH the pull with their palm facing down (towards the bottom of the pool). The reason you have a swimmer do this is it ensures a swimmer finishes the pull (entirely) down by their hips AND it helps initiate rotation to the other side.
Just like Freestyle, Backstroke requires rotation—but the main difference is it requires MORE rotation than Freestyle (40-degrees as opposed to 30-degrees). You basically want to see a straight line from shoulder to elbow on an underwater frame (see below).
What about the MISSING Piece?
If a swimmer properly finishes with the palm facing down on the pulling arm, this initiates their rotation to the opposing side by POPPING the opposite shoulder up towards the sky as it’s recovering—helping bring the shoulder up OVER the water as the recovery is happening.
Yes, everyone has heard the words, “Thumb out. Pinky in”–that still applies to the Backstroke recovery . We are specifically pointing out that during the Backstroke recovery if you keep the shoulders high, it’ll promote high hips—which once again compared to Freestyle, Backstroker’s hips move MORE than Freestyler’s (because of the increase in rotation).
I think you may find the MORE you push the recovering arm into the air (with help of finishing your pull with your palm facing down)–the SMOOTHER your Backstroke will feel down the pool.
After all, we started this blog wondering HOW and WHY our feel is off!
Until Next Time,