Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.
JOIN THE RACE CLUB HERE FOR HIGH QUALITY INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO
We provide video on swimming for all age groups, triathletes and competitive swimmers. Explore a breakdown of our prices for weekly videos and more below.
One of the most common mistakes in technique that we see in all strokes is in the pulling motion of backstroke. Part of the reason for this technical error is that to pull correctly, a swimmer needs to rotate the body significantly from one side to the other. That involves more work. To avoid that extra work, swimmers often choose to minimize the amount of body rotation. To avoid breaking the surface of the water with the hand moving backward, which reduces power, swimmers find an easier solution. Keep the arm straight on the pull.
A straight-arm pull in backstroke is worse than a deep-arm pull in freestyle. While the latter increases frontal drag, it does enable a swimmer to pull with more propulsion. In backstroke, a straight-arm pull increases frontal drag AND reduces propulsion; two good reasons to avoid this poor technique.
The key to improving your backstroke is to learn to rotate the body first. With enough body rotation, the swimmer is in a position to pull correctly and with more power. The body rotation enables a swimmer to bend the elbow enough to reduce frontal drag, while also generating important kinetic energy as a coupling motion for the pull. Our favorite swimming drill for learning this technique is the one-arm drill, with one hand held at the side. However, before the swimmer enters the water to perform this drill, we first teach them how to do the proper pulling motion on land while standing straight up. We find that once swimmers understand the biomechanics of the correct backstroke pulling motion on land, they can more easily duplicate this motion in the water. Both of these drills help the swimmers learn the important technique of rotating the body and the concept of pushing water backward, as opposed to pulling or scooping the water backward.
This week in Lanes 2-4 on our subscription service, you will find an important classroom discussion on backstroke, how this important drill is done with Race Club campers and finally, how world-class backstroker, Luca Spinazzola, uses the one-arm drill to improve his powerful backstroke pulling motion.
For those that are subscribed to Lanes 3 and 4, you will also find a beautiful webisode of world-champion backstroker, Junya Koga, simulating the correct backstroke pulling motion while standing. Junya performs this precise backstroke pulling motion gradually increasing his stroke rate, with and without using boxing mitts for the correct elbow bend.
Here’s to a faster backstroke! Hop in Lanes 2-4 today.
Backstroke Pulling Motion – One Arm Drill
Yours in swimming,
Like The Race Club on Facebook
Follow The Race Club on Instagram
Follow The Race Club on Twitter
Connect to The Race Club / Gary Hall Sr. on Linkedin
See The Race Club HQ here.
THE RACE CLUB
Because Life is Worth Swimming, our mission is to promote swimming through sport, lifelong enjoyment, and good health benefits. Our objective is for each member of and each participant in The Race Club to improve his or her swimming performances, health, and self-esteem through our educational programs, services and creativity. We strive to help each member of The Race Club overcome challenges and reach his or her individual life goals.
The Race Club provides facilities, coaching, training, technical instruction, video, fitness and health programs for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Race Club swim camps are designed and tailored to satisfy each swimmer’s needs, whether one is trying to reach the Olympic Games or simply improve one’s fitness. Our programs are suitable for beginner swimmers, pleasure swimmers, fitness swimmers, USA swimming or YMCA swimmers, or triathletes; anyone who wants to improve swimming skills. All of our Race Club members share an enjoyment of being in the water and use swimming to stimulate a more active mind and body.