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  #1  
Old 11-07-2008
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Richardsk
Default The year of the backstroke?

Hello all

I finally found my way here, after a few days of vainly trying to access the old site and getting "page not found" error messages. When I did get here I found it did not recognize my old user name and password so I had to do that again. Anyway here I am and I see that nobody has posted in the backstroke forum yet. Backstroke seems to be rather neglected even in the world of swimming, certainly in masters swimming, perhaps because of the fear of collisions in crowded pools in public sessions - a justified fear in my experience and I have the flat head to prove it. Collisions with the end wall are also not unknown.

Anyway, with my competition season now over I am already planning my program for 2009 and I thought that 2009 might as well be the year of the backstroke. I'm sure that consistent work on the back crawl will benefit the front crawl and I could do with some improvement in my very slow times.

My first steps involve more kicking on the back, hoping that eventually a decent flutter kick will develop. The current plan is to start face down and roll on to the back after a count of about twenty, kick with one hand extended above the head for another count of twenty, switch hands trying to get a good deep pull and continue until the wall is reached. At the moment it is taking me over a minute to do 25m of this drill, so obviously the kick is in need of development. I usually swim back doing front crawl and then repeat the process.

Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2008
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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Kicking in back stroke seems to use the hamstrings more, I've noticed. I got a bad case of tendonitis behind my knee last summer from going into backstroke from not enough warmup.
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2008
madvet madvet is offline
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Default Kick UP not DOWN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoda View Post
Kicking in back stroke seems to use the hamstrings more, I've noticed. I got a bad case of tendonitis behind my knee last summer from going into backstroke from not enough warmup.

One of my Master's group people holds state records in backstroke. He says to kick UP (the same emphasis as in freestyle where you kick down) and to point the toes slightly towards the midline.

If you kick DOWN you will strain your hamstrings.
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2008
AWP AWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
One of my Master's group people holds state records in backstroke. He says to kick UP (the same emphasis as in freestyle where you kick down) and to point the toes slightly towards the midline.

If you kick DOWN you will strain your hamstrings.
Thanks Mad that is something I'll focus on.

Richard I too have made this winter my backstroke season so I suppose we'll be talkin'. I want to bring this stoke up to speed so to speak with the same level of familiarity as the others.

Alan
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2008
terry terry is offline
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Default Think about Streamlining

Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
One of my Master's group people holds state records in backstroke. He says to kick UP (the same emphasis as in freestyle where you kick down) and to point the toes slightly towards the midline.

If you kick DOWN you will strain your hamstrings.
While we're talking about kicking in backstroke, I'd just like to leave this thought for consideration. Before focusing too much on the propulsive characteristics of the backstroke (or any) kick, focus on how you can make the kick more streamlined.

This is consistent with the TI core principles of reducing drag before increasing propulsion and of saving energy over increasing your capacity for hard work, force production or power.

Don't be surprised if I post reminders in this vein on the majority of my Forum posts, until it's permanently embedded in the "group think" here.

How to think about streamlining in BK kick?
1) Do your feet and lower legs stay within the space your torso passed through?
2) Do your feet remain consistently streamlined within the line of your lower leg -- or at least the upper leg if your flexibility doesn't permit that?
3) Are the toes of both feet nearly touching most of the time - aiming for a "pigeon-toe" can help.

A steady, unbroken (i.e. 6-beat) kick is much more the norm in BK kicking than in freestyle. When you streamline well, you may be more conscious of feeling your feet slip through the water with relatively little effort -- and consequently little fatigue.

Many of the suggestions posted here for improving the kick are sound. The drill sequence on the Backstroke for Every Body DVD can be easily adapted for the focal points I listed.
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  #6  
Old 11-10-2008
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
3) Are the toes of both feet nearly touching most of the time - aiming for a "pigeon-toe" can help.
This is a point I've missed. Should the feet be almost in "pigeon toe" formation for a basic flutter kick and two beat kick as well? If this is so - no wonder my kick is so poor. My focus has been in pointing the toes and eliminating as much drag as possible. ( I tend to toe out slightly.) EDIT : Oppps - there I go off topic - sorry. I guess this should have been in "freestyle".

Mike

Last edited by Mike from NS : 11-10-2008 at 12:59 AM. Reason: off topic perhaps
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2008
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Rhoda

I've never had any tendon or hamstring trouble from backstroke - not yet anyway, but I'll keep an eye on the hamstrings figuratively speaking.
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  #8  
Old 04-30-2009
elskbrev elskbrev is offline
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Default strong kick for backstroke

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoda View Post
Kicking in back stroke seems to use the hamstrings more, I've noticed. I got a bad case of tendonitis behind my knee last summer from going into backstroke from not enough warmup.
Kick like Terry does in Backstroke for Every Body--down kicking leg is virtually straight, relaxed and powering from the hip, while the up kick bends slightly then flicks straight in the knee and ankle at the top, toes pointed and turned slightly in. Get a tempo going and you'll feel like you are running on the water.

Bending the knee on the down kick and pulling adds nothing in the way of power or propulsion, in fact adds drag, and puts undue stress on the calves and back of knee.

I've found info in this thread very helpful. Fine points like slight inversion of toes, easily missed; glad to know difference in application between BK and FR.

Can't wait to get back in the water next week.

Thanks all.
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  #9  
Old 04-30-2009
madvet madvet is offline
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You should kick up (to the sky) not down.
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  #10  
Old 05-02-2009
elskbrev elskbrev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
You should kick up (to the sky) not down.
But mr. madvet, I have two legs! LOL

See 3/18/09 thread, "Backstroke:"
Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
My biggest problems now:
Keeping my hips from dropping as I pull. It seems like as I pull down I want to kink in the middle.

Kicking: I find it hard to maintain a steady 6 beat kick. I just let the legs do what they want to do, which is a little more active than a 2-beat kick. I think it is necessary to do a more active kick than freestyle in order to get a little higher in the water. But I have trouble maintaining it consistently.
Maybe paying attention to what your down kick is doing may help.

But, what do I know. First "red cross" freestyle teach said I was a natural for backstroke (unconscious competence), but I haven't done the freestyle yet. I'm glad my legs know what to do, because I really hate fins.

Cheers
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