Thursday, April 29, 2010

Keep Your Head Still - Backstroke



One of the funnest most common flaws in Backstroke is Zig Zig in the water similar to the Zig Zag in freestyle only doing backstroke. I would never laugh at my students but I'm willing to bet that they would laugh too if they could see themselves.

It's caused by over reaching but the strange thing is that most of the time it is the head that is the culprit. That is the over reached stroke tends to stop in many cases very quickly by just getting the swimmer to keep their head still.

What has usually happened is the teacher has told their student sometimes for a very good reason that they want the swimmer to keep their arms near their ears. The teacher has ofter done this (always assuming that the teacher knew what they were doing and they weren't just giving the instruction because that is what they thought they were supposed to do) in order to get the swimmer to reach further back and catch more water so that they have grater propulsion.

This is perfectly legitimate of course however you have to keep an eye on the student because in order to comply they often tilt their head to the arm rather than moving their arm to their head or move their head to allow their arm to over reach. The result is the swimmer head becomes a rudder and their arm over reaches it's objective and goes beyond the swimmers centre toward the other side of their head and not beside their head and you have zig zag.

There can be several solutions, different students catch on better with different actions, but the simplest of all, if the student gets what you are saying is simple to tell the swimmer to keep their head still. This forces the student not to over reach and you have no zig zig.

You may have to walk behind then and give them some sort of que when they move their head in order for them to know when they are doing this. They are probably not aware that they are doing this and remember they may have been moving their head from side to side for some time which can only compound the problem.  

So if someone tells you you are zig zaging in the water (you may want someone to look at you swimming and tell you it will improve your efficiency no end if you have no zig zag) or one of your students is don't just laugh at them, try getting them to stop moving their head.

Enjoy
Richard

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