By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2015
The key to increasing backstroke speed lies in the effectiveness of your arms. Josh Davis, American record breaker and Olympic gold medalist, uses the “Spin Drill” and “Swim Spin” to train his arms to whip around quickly in the water, generating more propulsion for faster times.
Spin Drill & Swim Spin
Drill Summary: For the “Spin Drill,” swimmers simply execute a backstroke and throw their arms as fast as they can through the air. They also whip their arms through the water as fast as they can. The key to this drill is to generate power from the core, torso and hips. Make sure to stop doing the drill if you feel any discomfort in your chest or arms. For the “Swim Spin,” execute a backstroke and focus on keeping arms and legs relaxed throughout the exercise.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Saturday, August 1, 2015
Whitney Hite, head coach at the University of Wisconsin, uses the “Up Top Scull” drill to train swimmers how to use their hands above their head for the backstroke. Being able to generate maximum propulsion is essential for faster times, and this drill can help swimmers accomplish that.
Up Top Scull
Drill Summary: Swimmers push off from the wall, perform a couple dolphin kicks, then get into a light flutter kick and work on the initial catch up top in their backstroke. For this position in the water, swimmers should be tilted slightly on their side and avoid making too much unnecessary movement. Once one hand is drilled, switch to the other hand.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Monday, June 1, 2015
Fast turns are essential for serious swimmers to get quicker times. In this drill, University of Wisconsin head coach, Whitney Hite, explains the techniques needed to execute a proper backstroke turn in the heat of competition.
Drill Summary: To execute a backstroke turn, swimmers must know the number of strokes it takes them to get from the flags to the wall. To turn, swimmers flip over, push off straight on their back, pause momentarily then get right into dolphin kicks. On the turn, the tighter the ball the swimmer gets into, the faster their turn will be. It’s important to push off the wall level, not up or down.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Friday, May 1, 2015
Matt Grevers, world champion and six-time Olympic medalist, loves to do the “Quarter Drill” right before he races. The drill will help swimmers maintain a strong kick when they add their arms to the stroke.
Drill Summary: After pushing off the wall, the swimmer kicks fast and hard in a streamline position for the first quarter of the lane. The next quarter, the swimmer adds their arms, but makes sure to keep their kicking at the same speed. The third quarter, the swimmer goes back to just kicking with their arms extended in the streamline position, and the final quarter they once again add the arms to the full stroke.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick - Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2015
One of the keys to a quality backstroke is the propulsion swimmers get from their kick. Four time Ivy League Coach of the Year Matt Kredich helps swimmers get a feel for the water with this kicking drill that uses different angles in the water to develop peak propulsion.
Backstroke Kicking Drill
Drill Summary: In this backstroke drill, the swimmer pushes off the wall and puts their arms at their hips. From that position, the swimmer rotates their body to the left while maintaining their kick and holds that position for a couple seconds before returning to the neutral position. Then, the swimmer does the same thing to the right. Keep alternating sides for the length of the pool, remembering to stop briefly at the neutral position between switching sides. This drill increases propulsion from the swimmer’s toes and allows them to work on creating balance with their feet.