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  #1  
Old 02-16-2011
ames ames is offline
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ames
Default Backstroke video

I am posting a little clip of my backstroke, what I have pieced together from an old TI video that taught freestyle & bs together (I still love to do long axis combos), TI book Extraordinary Swimming for Every Body, and spying on others at the pool.

I would be happy to hear any critiques, but am really just posting it out of thanks to Richardsk for trying to generate some talk on this forum. I, too, wish that the forums other than freestyle would get more traffic.

ames' ti swim backstroke

ames
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2011
daveblt daveblt is offline
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I watched the video a few times and the only things I see are:
Your right hand may be sweeping just a bit out too wide as it pulls through the water and you may be rotating just slightly more to your right side than your left but it just may be the camera angle and your roll back to your left side as your arm recovers seems just a little late. Besides that your backstroke looks good ! Balance and arm timing seem good.

Dave

Last edited by daveblt : 02-17-2011 at 01:20 AM.
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2011
terry terry is offline
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Ames, thanks for posting and congratulations on your Kaizen Spirit to become a more complete swimmer by practicing Backstroke.

However, besides creating a more global skill set - as I've mentioned previously - practicing good movement in Backstroke should also benefit your Freestyle, because Balance, Streamlining and Propulsion are so complementary between Back and Free.

So here's a brief analysis of what I can see in the surface view. (Note: When analyzing stroke technique, always inventory Balance-Streamline-Propulsion in that order.)

Balance (1) Your head is neutral with calm water around it. (2) The front of your thighs clear the surface as you roll. (3) Your kick is calm and relaxed. All indicate good balance.

Streamline - Calm water, lack of turbulence both indicate a minimum of Wave Drag creation. With regard to Form Drag, I see one possible improvement opportunity: Slightly increase rotation so shoulder is fully clear of the water on recovery. I sometimes do that by turning my shoulder slightly toward my chin as I recover, rather than rolling farther with my whole torso. You could also gain some increased reduction in Wave Drag by swimming a bit 'taller.' You can do this with a Focal Point of stretching a bit from entering hand to opposite foot as your hand approaches entry. This is like the diagonal emphasis we give in freestyle from flicking the left toes to drive right hand toward its target.


Focus on the above for an hour or two before working on my next suggestion.

Propulsion The most challenging skill to improve in Backstroke is the catch or How to Trap Water With Hand and Forearm because (1) Unlike freestyle you can't see it as you work on it, and (2) The arm position is more awkward and allows less 'natural' pressure or leverage than in freestyle.

But essentially, you want to aim for a feeling and arrangement very similar to the Soft Hook position in freestyle. Try to sense whether your hand is slipping back in the early part of the stroke, or whether you have a sense of Holding Your Place, then using weight shift/body roll to move past it.

Try three Focal Points:
1) Sweep slightly wider, as if trying to touch lane line with fingertips.
2) Try to hold or anchor a nanosecond sooner and a millimeter closer to the surface.
3) Rotate elbow slightly overhead or outside, or open your axilla (underarm) as you catch.

This will require enormous patience both for the reasons described above (can't see, low leverage, awkward) and because the muscle-recruitment adjustments required are subtle and complex. For that reason I suggest two things:
1) Learn these movements first with single-arm practice. (Demonstrated along with entire learning sequence on Backstroke for Every Body DVD.)
2) Alternate drills with brief whole-stroke repeats - 6 to 20 strokes.
3) Use one focal point on drill, then same focal point on whole-stroke
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  #4  
Old 02-18-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Nice stroke, Ames

I hope soon to have some video of mine, as I have upgraded to digital camera to one that takes HD video. I need to get a friend in the masters club to film it, though, because they don't allow photography during public sessions in the pool I normally swim in.

It may turn out to be a nasty shock.

Richard
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Terry has given you a lot of excellent advice, but I'll throw in a little more:

1) After you work on Terry's drills for improving your streamline, try to see if you can maintain it during the early part of your recovery. The Backstroke for Every Body DVD contains a drill sequence in which you first find the point in your recovery when your balance is about to break down and then make that the trigger point for beginning your armstroke with your leading arm. The result is that you remain in your hand lead sweet spot during the first part of your recovery.

2)I'm also wondering why you begin and end on your stomach rather than your back.

(a) When I'm doing backstroke in practice, I like to begin from a stationary butterfly-to-backstroke turn. I start by floating on my stomach with my hands touching the wall. (I find, by the way, that this is a very useful way to prepare for swimming breaststroke or butterfly at an unfamiliar pool, since it familiarizes me with what the markings on the bottom of the pool will look like when I reach the wall.) While keeping my nose pointed at the bottom, I bring my legs quickly forward. Just as I am about to plant my feet on the wall, I let go with my hands, and the tension that has been created in my body by bringing my legs forward flings me forcefully onto my back. I then snap into a streamlined position and kick off on my back. (You can practice a streamlined position while standing by stretching your arms over your head, placing one hand over the other, hand over hand, wrist over wrist, hooking the thumb of your rear hand around your front hand, and then squeezing your arms tightly against the backs of your ears.) Stay in a tight streamline until you feel yourself start to slow down, then try to maintain it a little longer by thrusting your hips up and down, creating a dolphin kick that goes from your belly button down to your toes. Then, when you surface, begin doing backstroke.

I believe that beginning by streamlining on your back, as I've described above, will improve your sense of streamlining while you are stroking.

(b) The point at which you rolled back onto your stomach at the end of the length actually wouldn't be a bad place to roll if you were preparing to execute a backstroke flipturn. But the fact that you're doing it when you're preparing to stop suggests to me that you may not have a confident feeling of where you are relative to the wall. The flags have the same function for backstrokers that the markings on the bottom of the pool have for swimmers doing other strokes. Any time I'm doing backstroke in an unfamiliar pool, I try to develop a feeling for what the flags look like as I'm approaching the wall, so that I can maintain good backstroke form while at the same time feeling confident that I know how close to the wall I am.

Be aware, too, that if you ever do backstroke in competition, you will be disqualified if you roll onto your stomach when approaching the wall at the end of a race or at the end of the backstroke leg of an individual medley.


Bob
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  #6  
Old 02-19-2011
ames ames is offline
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Wow, a lot of helpful advice! It is good to see the backstroke lane buzzing with activity. I will put this info to work at the pool. And I'm sure that eventually I will get the Backstroke for Every Body dvd, it's just that now I am more concerned with working on freestyle (and I've barely started with the Better Fly for Every Body dvd I got several months ago).

In response to Coach Bob, I start and end on my stomach because it's just easier for me. I only started learning bs about a year ago and doing face-up underwater body dolphins now would get me a noseful of water that I don't want to deal with at this point. Not that I couldn't learn it, and I probably will, but not right now. I only do bs to relax, mix it up, do something besides freestyle and drills, and if it helps my freestyle then so much the better. It feels good and mixing it up with freestyle makes it feel more like swimming than just doing drills all the time.

I took a "conventional" adult swimming class last year that was awful--the only thing I learned was when I saw another woman push off face down and then rotate to do backstroke. Genius! No water up the nose. So that's where I got that cheat (I know it's not correct protocol.) I don't have any desire to compete, though who knows... maybe as I get more proficient that will change.

Thanks all for the input!
ames
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  #7  
Old 02-20-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ames View Post
I took a "conventional" adult swimming class last year that was awful--the only thing I learned was when I saw another woman push off face down and then rotate to do backstroke. Genius! No water up the nose.
Ames
And now you've given me something of value. What you describe isn't 'legal' for competitive swimming, but I see the value of it immediately as a way of making newer swimmers comfortable with backstroke.

Now here's a suggestion taking from Backstroke for Every Body. On that DVD we have a drill that starts in the Freestyle Skate position. Slide the hand across to the other track. Anchor it then leave it there while rotating cleanly around the head-spine line. Bingo. You're in the Backstroke equivalent of Skate. Now start swimming. Or single arm.

If you start from a face-down pushoff, you can push into Skate, then do this maneuver, as one option.
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  #8  
Old 02-20-2011
AWP AWP is offline
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I'm with ames on the push offs and for the same reason and only just recently (actually after reading Mac's post) began pushing off on my back. Likewise, the turning over after each length was a prep for continued lengths, acclimating to distance to the wall and making it consistent.
I must say, that adding an 'all' disciplines focus to my practice has benefited me, my swimming, in measurable ways and I would be so bold as to recommend the added interest of backstroke, breaststroke and even butterfly stroke in some fashion to their swimming endeavors. When doing so applying the same mindfulness as in your primary focus stroke, no matter the perhaps perceived 'insignificance' of that "mixing it up" part of practice. If anything it's loads of fun!

Alan
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  #9  
Old 02-20-2011
daveblt daveblt is offline
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[quote=ames;17
I took a "conventional" adult swimming class last year that was awful--the only thing I learned was when I saw another woman push off face down and then rotate to do backstroke. Genius! No water up the nose. .
ames[/QUOTE]



You will not get water in your nose if you push off face up and make sure you exhale through the nose until your face clears the surface. I also got into this habit of pushing off on the front , sometimes on the back to mix things up a bit.

Dave

Last edited by daveblt : 02-20-2011 at 03:30 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Another point in favor of pushing off on your front is that you can see what's up ahead. In public sessions people can appear as if from nowhere. Finishing on your front is a bad idea in competition as I recently found out to my cost, so now I'm making a conscious effort to practice a backstroke finish at the end of every repeat.

I tried Bob's technique of starting with a butterfly to back turn yesterday, but it was not a success the first time. I obviously need to work on it.

A nose clip is useful for the water up the nose problem.
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