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Backstroke, for me, is a work in progress. I know what I’m supposed to do -- and these are the basic things like keeping your head steady...and thumb out...pinky in...and not over-reaching.
But knowing what to do -- and knowing how to teach it -- doesn’t mean it always happens that way. Backstroke is something I really have to think about and work on.
What I think about most is connetion. And by that I mean connecting the hips to the shoulders as you rotate.
With backstroke and freestyle, if you’ve got good core strength you’re going to be in a good body position and will be able to hold yourself in a nice straight line.
Once you’ve got that straight line, backstroke is mostly about rotation and how well you can connect your hip rotation to your shoulder rotation. It’s the rotation that dictates the stroke.
In this clip, focus just on the hips and shoulders. As the left shoulder rotates down through the pull, your left hip is going to drop. This enables you to use your entire body to pull your arm through the water.
Watch it again from another angle. Notice how the same-side shoulder and hip are connected. By connecting shoulder and hip, I use my entire body to pull through the water -- rather than just using my arm to pull through the water.
Body position, for me, means rotation and staying connected. And it’s a full-body rotation. As I swim, I rotate shoulders, torso, hips, legs, and even my feet.
I definitely think about keeping my head still, but if a little bit of head movement will help my rotation, I’ll move my head. But I mean like a very very little bit.
For eye position, I don’t think about looking straight up. I think about tilting my chin down slightly, and then looking at almost a 45-degree angle.
In this final clip, watch the rotation and how each hip follows the hand into the water. I use the rotation to set up a powerful catch and pull, which is what we’ll cover in the next section.