Backstroke is one of the most challenging swimming techniques to learn, and many people struggle to move through the water as quickly as they can on their front. Still, there are lots of actions that could assist swimmers in reaching faster speeds and completing that length in half the time they otherwise would have done. With that in mind, there are some expert tips below that should assist you in improving your technique and achieving a fast backstroke. Apply the suggestions next time you spend time in the pool, and you should witness the benefits firsthand.
Use Fins To Develop Kicking Power And Technique
Having a decent pair of training fins at your disposal is going to make a significant difference to the amount of kicking power you produce. With a bit of luck, fins will assist you in gliding through the water at the fastest possible speeds without using too much energy. You just need to keep your body as flat as possible in the water to ensure you work with the forces you create rather than against them. Also, don’t let your body dip too low into the water or you will slow down. Ideally, the water should reach your ears, but you need to keep your eyes looking up and back.
Practice Your Starts
Starting is often the most intimidating bit, as humans, we naturally feel more uncomfortable with our sense of sight being restricted, so entering the water backwards is something you're going to have to get used too if you wish to speed up your backstroke. It has been proven that the least amount of splash you can make, the faster your entry into the water, splashing will result in more drag, slowing you down, so the smoother your entry, the faster.
As with every other stroke, the dolphin kick is another essential part for building up speed, but again, as your doing this with your head facing the roof, you'll need to practice this plenty. In order to get the most out of every kick, we recommend using a monofin to develop the power and technique of your dolphin kick.
Bringing The Right Kit
Even though your face isn't in the water as much as other strokes, racing goggles are still vital, an uncomfortable pair can be a huge distraction. On race day it's always worth taking a look at the ceiling of the pool, will bright lights be shining in your face during your race? It might be worth going for a mirrored or smoked lens. If the lighting is nice and will not strain your eyes, then clear goggles will be fine. Just ensure you can still see the backstroke flags that help you judge when to turn. Use your time in practice to make sure you're comfortable with your goggle choice.
Your FINA approved swimming cap shouldn't be any different from any other race, the most streamlined fit you can achieve will result in the least amount of drag.
Your swimsuit shouldn't change either, an elite level racing swimsuit will have better compression, a more water resistant material and will result in a better time.
Time Your Breathing For Maximum Efficiency
Timing is everything when it comes to achieving high speeds in the pool. That is especially the case when it comes to backstroke because you need your entire body to move effortlessly through the water. That is going to become challenging if you spend most of your time gasping for air. Try to avoid holding your breath as much as possible, and control your breathing in time with your strokes. Every time an arm passes your head; breathe out. When the other arm passes your head; breathe in deeply. A regular breathing pattern like that should help to improve the rhythm of your stoke. If your struggling to keep a rhythm going, a tempo trainer can help you keep a consistent rate.
Other Essential Tips
There are lots of other tips you might like to consider when improving your technique and swimming faster using backstroke. They include:
Keeping your head and neck relaxed
Building momentum using your shoulders and hips
Ensuring you don’t create resistance by keeping your hands flat
Keeping your ankles relaxed
Ensuring your legs remain close together
Remaining parallel to the water
If you can remember that advice and use it when working on your backstroke; you should notice an instant improvement in the time it takes to get from one end of the pool to the other.
Now you have the right advice; building on your skills and reaching high speeds with backstroke should become much more comfortable. Of course, if you continue to struggle with any swimming method; some professional instructors can offer assistance. Just ask at your local pool or search online for suitable people to contact. Learning how to swim backstroke properly is crucial because it could help to save your and other people’s lives one day.