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4 Backstroke Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Mastering Backstroke: Fixing Four Common Mistakes

Backstroke is a challenging swimming stroke that demands precise technique for success. In this informative video, Lina Irish Bostic, a Level 4 coach of US Masters Swimming, offers valuable insights on how to correct four common mistakes swimmers often make while practising backstroke. Let's delve into each mistake and its corresponding drill for improvement:

Picture of swimmers doing backstroke in the pool. 4 Backstroke Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
Photo by Ryan Fleischer on Unsplash

Mistake #1: Head Movement

One of the primary issues in backstroke is unnecessary head movement. To address this problem, Bostic recommends the "Cup Drill." Swimmers place a cup filled with water on their foreheads, which compels them to keep their heads steady while swimming. This practice enhances head position, leading to a smoother backstroke technique.

Mistake #2: Crossing on Entry

Crossing your hand over your body during entry can impede your progress and cause unwanted wiggling. Bostic suggests the "2-2-2-2 Drill" to correct this. Swimmers perform two strokes with just their right arm, two normal backstrokes, two strokes with just their left arm, and two more normal backstrokes, maintaining a straight arm and emphasizing body rotation.

Mistake #3: Straight-Arm Stroke

Previously, swimmers employed a straight-arm stroke in backstroke. However, the fastest swimmers now focus on achieving a great catch by bending their arms. To practice this, the "Pulling on the Lane Line" drill is recommended. It helps swimmers experience the feel of a bent-arm pull, enhancing efficiency.

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Mistake #4: Bicycle Flutter Kick

An incorrect flutter kick, resembling a bicycle motion, often results from kicking from the knees and not the hips. A proper kick is crucial in backstroke. Bostic suggests the "Vertical Kicking" drill to address this issue. Swimmers maintain an upright position in the water, kick with pointed toes, and focus on hip-driven kicks.

These drills, combined with mindful practice, can significantly improve your backstroke technique, making you a more efficient and faster backstroker. Remember to maintain proper head position, ensure a clean arm entry, switch to a bent-arm stroke, and execute an effective flutter kick to master the art of backstroke swimming.

To explore more swimming technique articles, swimming tips, and information on finding swimming clubs or adult swimming lessons, visit the US Masters Swimming website.

If you're seeking motivation to kickstart your swimming journey, consider participating in the annual USMS Fitness Series, featuring fun swim challenges that support the noble cause of teaching adults how to swim and feel safer in the water. 

US Masters Swimming offers a wide range of swimming events and competitions for enthusiasts. Check out the various opportunities at https://www.usms.org/events.

Connect with the US Masters Swimming community on their social media channels:

- usmastersswimmingfanpage

- mastersswimming

- u-s--masters-swimming

- mastersswimming

- usmastersswimming

Incorporate these valuable tips and drills into your backstroke practice to become a more proficient and confident swimmer. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned swimmer, these insights can enhance your backstroke performance and propel you toward swimming success.


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