How To Swim Backstroke

Learning how to swim backstroke can be daunting for some beginners. Maybe you're one of those swimmers who gets that sinking feeling halfway down the pool? Have you got room for improvement when it comes to backstroke swimming technique?  

Look no further! I have broken the stroke down into separate parts so that you can focus on it one piece at a time. That makes learning and improving it a whole lot easier and boosts your confidence at the same time.

Improve your backstroke swimming technique with these 10 top tips

The video clip below shows the smooth continuous flow of the swimming stroke.  The alternating leg kick and arm pull actions are balanced, with the legs kicking 6 times for each arm pull cycle. 

How To Swim Backstroke - Video Demonstration

FREE EBOOK:  all of the technique tips here can be found in my 'Backstroke Technique' book, along with a couple of bonus drills to help you perfect some essential parts of the stroke.

Don't miss out!  Click here to grab a FREE copy of my book. 

Breaking down backstroke technique into its separate parts makes it easier to focus on one part at a time. Here are the 10 most essential elements to focus on when performing backstroke.

10 Steps to Better Backstroke Technique

1.  The body must be as horizontal and streamlined as possible, with the head inline, eyes looking upwards and remaining steady throughout.

Improve your backstroke body position

2.  The alternating leg kick originates from the hip and remains within the body width.

3.  Toes are pointed with ankles relaxed, and the knees bend slightly with each kick. 

4.  The knee bend provides power on the upbeat phase of the kick, finishing as the toes break the water surface.

Better backstroke kick technique

5.  The hands enter the water with little-finger first, palm outwards with the upper arm just brushing past the ear.

6. The arm pulls through an S shape pathway, finishing at the hip, palm downwards. 

7.  One arm begins to pull as the other recovers over the water surface.

Improve your backstroke arm technique

8.  Breathing should be regular and in time with the effort phase of the stroke.

Backstroke breathing technique

9.  The leg kick and arm actions should be controlled and steady whilst maintaining a fixed head position. 

10.  All actions should be smooth, continuous and relaxed. 

Backstroke swimming technique timing and coordination

Elevate Your Backstroke To a New Level

If you're ready to take your backstroke swimming technique up a level, then get stuck into my book. 'How To Swim Backstroke' contains clear illustrations and detailed coaching points that simplify swimming on your back. 

Click the cover image for a preview, or click add to cart to download your copy.

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Why is it necessary for your arms to enter the water at 11 and 1 o'clock during backstroke arm action? 'For backstroke arms to be efficient and effective, the entry must be in line with the shoulder, with the upper arm brushing the ear.' 

I have a problem with water on my face when swimming backstroke. 'There are a couple of reasons why you might get water on your face when doing backstroke.'

My problem seems to be floating, particularly on my back. I tend to stiffen up, and I'm not relaxed. 'Being a muscular person is a disadvantage for a beginner learning to swim because muscle is dense and tends to sink.' 

When kicking backstroke, I move in the opposite direction than I should, counteracting arms movement. 'What you are describing, I have seen many times. There are two common causes, and I suspect you are doing one or a combination of both.'

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