Kicking on your back is all about balance and propulsion. Balance is keeping yourself perfectly horizontal in the water and propulsion is kicking from your hips to MOVE.
Here were my steps to learning the backstroke:
- #1 Kicking on your back with fins
- #2 Kicking on your back with fins, one armed backstroke
- #3 Putting the two arms together and doing the backstroke with fins
- #4 Kicking on your back, NO fins
- #5 Kicking on your back with NO fins, one armed backstroke
- #6 Putting the two arms together and doing the backstroke with NO fins
The added propulsion you get with using the fins also aids your balance. The faster you go, usually the more balanced you go. Its kind of like riding a bike. You know how if you go REALLY slow that your balance is more unstable? And once you get moving pretty quickly its really easy to balance the bike? Same thing in the water.
So once I graduated to doing the one armed backstroke, I concentrated on leading and following action: aka you use your shoulder rotation to garner the movement to get that arm out of the water. You aren't simply swinging your arm straight up and out of the water, its a WHOLE body movement. You are using your core to drive your body's rotation to get your arm out of the water. The more shoulder rotation, the easier the arm is going to come out of the water.
After 4 x 25 of one armed, I put the two together. It was a bit of a coordination effort, but once I figured out the timing, it became quite smooth and I was on autopilot from there.
Then I took the fins off.
And it was frustratingly slow. Fins make you go FAST.
So I started all over (step #4 listed above) and built my way back up. Other than going slower, my balance was still good and I got it figured out.
Done and done!!! (I have now accomplished 2 out of my 3 swimming goals this off season)
Things to note:
- DONT lift your head. You will immediately sink and water will go over your face and up your nose. When this started happening to me, I looked up and the problem went away.
- Once you cross the flags, you have about 3 strokes and then its time to flip over, else head meets wall and OUCH!
- When you are lifting your arm out of the water, imagine a line that is going directly over the middle of your body. You want your hand to go through that line. Correct body rotation will allow this.
I will admit that my freestyle rotation sucks. I get lazy with it. After a 100 yards of backstroke, flip over for some freestyle and you will be AMAZED at the ease of rotation you will suddenly have. Remember, rotating that core is added propulsion!
I am a new follower of Laura @ Authentic Living and she has a GREAT post on freestyle rotation. Its a great read and has given me a lot of great swimming tips and ideas. Thank you Laura!