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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
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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  #5  
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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  #6  
Old 11-07-2008
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
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.
Every lap pool should have flags at each end to indicate when you're approaching the wall. There's no particular reason why a pool should ever take the flags down, but sometimes they do. If that is true at your pool, ask the lifeguard about it. You can, in a very concerned tone, tell them you're worried that some backstroker is going to get injured if they don't put the flags up.

Quote:
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?
You might find it beneficial to start with vertical kicking and then "fall back" onto your back. I find that the kick that propels me the fastest when I do this is a very narrow, very rapid kick, though currently I can only maintain such a kick for short sprints.

Another useful drill is Active Balance Looking Up, in which, while keeping your nose pointed at the ceiling, you rotate from your head lead sweet spot on one side to your head lead sweet spot on the other side, and then back again, over and over.

A good next step is to do single arm backstroke, in which you go from your head lead sweet spot on one side to your hand lead sweet spot on the other, coordinating first your recovery, and then your stroke, with your core body rotation.
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2008
Donal Donal is offline
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I'd almost forgotten about vertical kicking because I've been swimming in shallow pools for so long. I'll try it tomorrow.
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  #8  
Old 11-08-2008
daveblt daveblt is offline
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An effective kick starts with good balance and relaxed legs with movements starting at the hips in combination with the body roll and very little knee bend.


Dave
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  #9  
Old 11-08-2008
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Thanks for the suggestions.

Oddly the main collision of head and wall was in a race, with flags and everything. I was just thinking too much of my stroke and forgot to count. I survived.

I suppose my kick will gradually improve, but if it doesn't, well then it doesn't. I will report back on progress or otherwise.
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  #10  
Old 11-08-2008
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richardsk View Post
Oddly the main collision of head and wall was in a race, with flags and everything. I was just thinking too much of my stroke and forgot to count. I survived.
It should be extremely difficult for this to happen, because in TI backstroke you're going from hand lead sweet spot to hand lead sweet spot. There is an interval of time when you've started stroking with your leading arm but are still recovering your other arm. But the rest of the time, your hand should hit the wall before your head does.
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