Originally Posted by jeverett
i am having a hard time doing a constant flutter kick while swimming backstroke wholestroke. (drilling not a problem) i feel that my kick wants to be more of a pulsed thing and i can't figure it out. when i try to do a nice easy flutter i feel it messes up my rotation somehow and i don't feel as smooth. i have even tried swimming some laps with virtually no kick at all and don't seem to have a problem with balance. so, what is the ideal way to kick in backstroke? and any thoughts as to why it feels smoother to me to do more of a pulsed kick (not quite a 2 beat kick, but not a constant flutter)?
I'll answer your second question first:
The primary function of kicking in the long axis strokes (freestyle and backstroke) is to counterbalance core body rotation. So it's only natural that the main time you should feel a need to kick is when your body is rotating.
A narrow, rapid kick in backstroke can add propulsion, though at the expense of a lot of energy. So when you're sprinting, you can improve your speed by employing this kind of a kick, but when you're swimming backstroke over longer distances, you may want to use a more leisurely kick until you are nearing the end. Of course, what constitutes a "longer distance" depends on your level of conditioning. An Olympic athlete may be able to use a rapid, sprint-type kick for an entire 200m backstroke event (which is the longest competition distance). But the rest of us need to feel out how long we can maintain such a kick and use it only when we are near the end of a race.
One of the best ways to practice a rapid sprint kick is to do vertical kicking while holding your forearms out of the water. You can transition from this to horizontal kicking by starting vertical kicking and then allowing yourself to "fall back" onto your back.