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In backstroke, one of the most important things to teach early is a bent arm catch.
Why do it:
A bent arm, rather than a straight arm, gives you more power to push the water back, so it’s more productive. Young swimmers sometimes use a straight arm because it FEELS more powerful when it’s just hard to do.
How to do it:
While this is actually a four-step focus, we’ll get the most used part out of the way first. When you see this, DON’T think you can use this to sneak in some cheating in practice, this is a drill to be used ONLY when approved by your coach. We know those tricks.
1 - Pull on the lane line. Yes, we’ve done this drill before, but in watching so many young swimmers still pulling with a straight arm, it’s time to revisit.
2 - Stay close to the lane line, and with the arm as extended as possible, grab the lane line and pull back.
How to do it really well (the fine points):
We’ll cover more details on the website, but for now, stay close! By staying close to the lane line, your arm will need to bend more. If you’re doing this in a group setting, it’s good to do the drill with everyone in one direction while switching sides. That way the lane line is tight for everyone the whole way.