Four ways your backstroke looks sloppy

By Ea Francisco

Some people consider backstroke as one of the easiest and most relaxing strokes in swimming. Unlike the other strokes, you don’t have to worry about breathing technique because you are lying on your back. However lax it may appear though, you can’t be too loose in your movements or you’ll end up with doing these common mistakes.

Tucked Chin

Having a proper head position leads to a proper body position. One mistake you could be making is tucking your chin down while you swim. Not only does this increase water resistance, but it also makes your hips fall. Your body should be straight when you do the backstroke. Keep your head up and face the sky or the ceiling. Doing this allows your legs to stay straight while you kick. Also, keep in mind that your head should stay in position and not move from side to side as you swim.

Hand Entry

Sometimes when you’re going fast in backstroke, you lose control of your arm movements and make all kinds of mistakes in your hand positioning. Backstroke has this distinct hand movement wherein your thumb should be the first out of the water and your pinky should be the first to enter. You might be making the mistake of either entering with your back hand or your thumb, which ruins your arm pull under water. In backstroke, you should twist your hands mid-air so that your palms are facing away from your body; this sets you up for a stronger pull.

In backstroke, you should twist your hands mid-air so that your palms are facing away from your body; this sets you up for a stronger pull

Bent Knees

Just like in freestyle, bending your knees too much makes for an inefficient kick. One thing that some people might not notice is that their knees are bending so much that it’s showing on the surface of the water. This creates more drag and ruins the rhythm of your kick. Your feet and knees should be underwater when kicking.

Arm Recovery

In backstroke, your arm recovery is above the water and there’s a tendency for some to have sloppy arm movements at this moment. A common mistake is bending your arms during recovery and entering with your arm too far out. If your arms are bent during during recovery, it sets you up for a bad stroke, and landing your arms too far from your head makes shorter strokes. You should keep your arms straight and it should brush against your ear as it returns. Remember that during recovery, your shoulders lift your arm and not the other way around.

Body awareness is key in backstroke. One little mistake in technique affects the rest of your form in backstroke. Even if it’s just recovery, don’t sacrifice form for convenience.