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The Importance And Role of Roation in Backstroke

Rotation in Backstroke What is it?

Basically, backstroke rotation is turning your body into the water as you do your stroke. Lots of teachers and coaches encourage this but, in my experience there seem to be few that explain why you would do this. So let me try for you.

Like I said few coaches and teachers ever really try to explain why rotation in your backstroke is important and that is supported by the lack of videos available to help explain it; particularly to the beginner. However, the one below is quite good, even if it does ask you for money at the end. You can do that if you like but it is not necessary and full disclosure, I certainly get nothing out of you subscribing.

From my point of view, the most important aspect of the rotation in backstroke is making sure that your arms are not reaching over your head (overreaching) in order to avoid putting a strain on your arms, shoulders and back.

Lack of Rotation in Backstroke is Inefficient

This over reaching is very common in non competitive swimmers and apart from the negative effects it has on your body, can also make your stroke inefficient. In fact, in some swimmers it can almost render their stroke ineffective. The reason for this is two fold:

Wait... Get Your Lesson Plans Here

  1. When you overreach you begin your catch (the point of your stroke where your hands enter the water and start to push the water to begin to give you propulsion), by pushing water sideways, rather than pushing down your body. Pushing water down your body is what moves you in the direction you want to go in the water. Whereas pushing water sideways makes you go sideways and if you do it hard enough with each arm, it will make you Zig Zag in the water. The more you Zig Zag the less efficiently you move in the direction you want to go.

  2. When you overreach you are not grabbing all the water you can because your arm is usually bent, or on the wrong side of your body and not straight. A straight arm reaches further and can, therefore, grab more water. The more water you grab the less effort you have to make in order to move better in the water.

In Other Words

In other words, the rotation allows you to have a straight arm. That, in turn, allows you to grab more water, making you more efficient in the water and less prone to injury.

Rotation can be your best friend in backstroke and whilst you can swim backstroke without it, you are working too hard to do it. So give yourself a break and try rotating as you do your backstroke.


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