View Full Version : Backstroke Start

November 7th, 2006, 10:36 AM
My backstroke start is more like a back flop.:( Can anyone suggest how I can get off the wall and into the water more cleanly (is that a word?)?

November 7th, 2006, 10:45 AM
Backstroke starts are tough! You really need to use your legs to push off. You have to remember to push up and out. You could practice jumps on dryland to get your legs used to the motion. Are you using a gutter start or the block? When I was first was learning starts I used the gutter start to learn the motion of up and out. You really need to dive back. Dive down, not just to the surface, so you can get a great SDK. You really have to jump. Your arms will propel you, throw them back into the streamline and toss your head back - all will increase your speed and motion.

This video shows the underwater motion:

This is above:


Hope that helps.

November 7th, 2006, 10:58 AM
Thanks Lisa,
My biggest problem is the entry. Once I'm in the water I usually get about half a length of SDK before surfacing and swimming, but the entry is costing me time.

November 7th, 2006, 11:00 AM
Watch the videos - that will give you an idea of what to do. You'll learn that just by focusing on throwing your head and arms back will make a huge difference. Arch your back....jump. There's a lot to think about at first but you'll see it will become natural with practice.

November 7th, 2006, 12:38 PM
When the hands leave the grab bars....lock them tight...hand over hand. And throw your head back.

The flow of your entry will become cleaner if you get the head going where the body wants follow. A common reflex is to keep the neck muscles tight...with the chin still tucked towards the chest.

A single hole entry is what you want.

November 7th, 2006, 12:43 PM
Lisa - Thanks. Watching the videos helped me to see how it should look.

Quicksilver - Thanks for the advice on the head position. Thinking back to the last time I practiced starts, I recall that I was still looking at the starting block as I hit (literally, with a big splash and my back stinging) the water.

November 7th, 2006, 12:49 PM
That's why you are "back-flopping". :yawn:

This article...written by champion backstroker Clay Britt... breaks it down very nicely.


The Fortress
November 7th, 2006, 01:01 PM
I was still looking at the starting block as I hit (literally, with a big splash and my back stinging) the water.

I used to do this too. Until my coach told me to throw myself back into oblivion with hands locked and be looking at the other end of the pool.

SwimmerLisa is a youtube expert! She will be contributing to OCD, I think.

November 7th, 2006, 01:41 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone. I try it when I "hit" the pool tonight.

November 7th, 2006, 06:42 PM
Another tip for backstroke starts: Don't pull your body way UP on the bars. Your feet will usually slip off the wall, which is typical if you weight is right over your feet.

A tip I learned, which works every time, is to pull yourself of up a squatty position. i.e. stick your butt out. Then most of your weight is not directly over your feet and you can get a great pushoff, each time. It may feel weird at first, but it's a small trick that most people learning the start don't know about. It's a trick I let my little swimmers know about, and now they don't slip off the wall anymore!

Don't believe me? Watch the video from the side - they all are sticking their butts out and not pulling their bodies up really far.

November 8th, 2006, 04:14 AM
I still try to put my toes in the gutter. How long has that been illegal? But thats how I learned it as a kid.

November 8th, 2006, 07:11 AM
This is related to what Stacy said, but don't bend your legs too much. If your legs are too bent, it's like trying to squat way down and then jump as high as you can. For me, a leg bend closer to 90 degrees works much better.

November 8th, 2006, 10:47 AM
I still try to put my toes in the gutter. How long has that been illegal? But thats how I learned it as a kid.
I'm not sure when it became illegal, but it's been ever since I first became involved in swimming in 1998 when my daughter started swimming.

November 9th, 2006, 11:51 AM
I want to thank all of you for your advice and the links to the video clips. They have been a great help. And I think it's getting better though I still feel like my upper back is hitting the water at the same time as my hands. I'm taking the video camera with me tomorrow so I can film it and maybe that will help even more.