7 Tips to Improve your Backstroke

Among all strokes, the backstroke is the second slowest. Only the butterfly and freestyle are quicker than it.

The backstroke has a remarkable similarity with the freestyle, also known as front crawl. In both, the arm pulling motion alternates, with the aid of a flutter kick.

How To Master The Backstroke?

  1. Point your face straight up: While performing backstroke we have a natural urge to look around. This tendency results from sheer curiosity about many things at the same time. However, your head should not rotate in the first place. You can follow the water bottle balance drill to maintain a straight head position. Swimming with your head straight and up helps you swim faster.
  2. Relax your neck: Most youngsters lose alignment as they tuck their chin while backstroking. Do not forget to keep your neck nice and relaxed whenever you backstroke. It will ensure a straight line from head to down to the spine. This means you maintain a low profile in the water, and causes less drag. And it also makes you feel smooth and relaxed.
  3. Relax your ankles when kicking: We do not kick our ankles to push water up and down; rather we should try to push water back. All champion swimmers have one thing in common – they maintain a vertical forearm all the way through, and plant the top of their foot to push the water back.
  4. Your hands should be in contact with just outside of your shoulders: The reason why we enter our hands in water is to avoid the criss-crossing resulting from pull. This also helps you to be in the pulling motion a lot faster.
  5. Your thumb is the first to leave water, while your back is the last: The first phase of arm recovery should include turning your palm to face the hips. As the arm come up and over, rotate it to make sure your pinky touches the water first.
  6. When kicking, don’t break the surface with your knees: Newbies in the world of backstroke lodge kicks from their knees. This is a wrong practice. The hip is the place from where a kick should originate. It will spread a smooth and whip-like ripple all over the toes. Follow some basic drills to reduce stress on your knees.
  7. Hip rotation is just fine: If your hips remain all flat during backstroke, it will get harder. As a result, you will experience limited shoulder rotation, and cause a narrow pulling motion. So a little mix of hip rotation will empower your pulling motion with more torque. However, you have to make sure that you are not rotating too much.


If you want to improve your stroke technique and become a more refined swimmer who has capitalized on distance per stroke, check out our Private Swim Coaching Page.


This article is brought to you by: The Swimming Swan