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  #1  
Old 06-15-2011
Mempho Mempho is offline
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Default Following a straight line

I've been attempting backstroke for about a month and I still can't swim in a straight line. I careen down the pool crashing from one lane line into the other. Any tips on how to follow a straight line when you can't see that handy black line on the bottom?

Jim
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Old 06-15-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Mempho

In an indoor pool there is often a handy beam in the ceiling that you can follow. Otherwise maybe there's some fixture on the far wall that you can use as a guide.

In the open it's a trickier problem, but I'm sure there's a way. The last time I tried swimming backstroke in the sea, though, I ended up swimming in rather tight circles.
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Old 06-16-2011
naj naj is offline
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if its any consolation Natalie Coughlin can't seem to swim in a straight line either and look where it got her :-)
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Old 06-16-2011
Mempho Mempho is offline
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lol. I thought, well, if Richard can't steer a straight line, there's no hope for me. But Natalie Coughlin?
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Old 06-17-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Natalie Coughlin is primarily ( exclusively?) a pool swimmer, but in the USA they have a lot of outdoor pools, which may cause problems with straight swimming.

I haven't noticed her swimming crooked in any of the videos I've watched of her in indoor pools.
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Old 06-17-2011
aerogramma aerogramma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mempho View Post
I've been attempting backstroke for about a month and I still can't swim in a straight line. I careen down the pool crashing from one lane line into the other. Any tips on how to follow a straight line when you can't see that handy black line on the bottom?

Jim
get someone to take a video of you and observe the path you're following with your arms. If you cross the center line with one of the two, that might be the cause.. wide tracks works for backstroke too :)
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Old 06-18-2011
daveblt daveblt is offline
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Make sure you don't over rotate and keep your head and neck relaxed and neutral by looking straight up at the ceiling to keep you moving in a straight line . At the same time use your peripheral vision as you move through the water.

Dave
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2011
Mempho Mempho is offline
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Great suggestions (better than my own idea of stringing a rope over the lane).

I used to veer always to the right. But practice makes perfect they say, and with more practice, I've perfected my leftward veer, so I now drift off equally well in both directions. I'm sure Aerogramma is right, though, and an unbalanced stroke is my basic problem.

As for looking for guidance from above (sounds like a preacher's advice!), one pool I swim in is outdoors, the other is 2 stories high, so there's not much overhead to follow.

BTW, does hitting a line disqualify you? Just curious.
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  #9  
Old 06-19-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Mempho

Hitting a line doesn't disqualify you but pulling on it does. If you do hit a line and stand up to resume swimming that will disqualify you. In freestyle you are allowed to stand but not walk, but in backstroke you have to be swimming on your back except when turning.

In the Pan Pacs last year Ryan Lochte swam into the lane line on his final length of the 200m Back, which he still won comfortably, so it's not just us lower orders who have trouble swimming straight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4JIv...eature=related
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  #10  
Old 09-04-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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When I was being trained as a TI coach back in 2002, one of the things Terry pointed out was that I was zigzagging back and forth as I swam backstroke. The reason was that I thought of a straight arm as having my fingertips over the top of my head. If you stand in front of a mirror and put your fingertips above the top of your head, you'll see why this is wrong. You want each hand to enter the water in line with the corresponding shoulder.

When I'm swimming in an indoor pool, I'm normally steering off the ceiling. But it can be a problem when you're in an outdoor pool. The first swim meet I was ever in was held in an outdoor 50m pool, and I had nothing to look at but a clear blue sky! So it can be useful, when you're practicing in an indoor pool, to try closing your eyes from time to time to see whether you go straight when you can't steer off the ceiling.


Bob
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