Backstroke has one big advantage over the other strokes. The breathing is easy, and does not require any special training. As a result, this is one of the first strokes that is taught early on in a swimmers career. The proper body position is on the back, with high hips. Body position is largely determined by the head position. The head should be placed in the water so that the ears are sitting in the water and the water cuts across the top of the head. To obtain this position, try to look at the ceiling of the pool above your feet. Keep your eyes “above your feet” and try not to let the head move from side to side.

Checklist – Arms

Stroke is like a windmill – it does NOT stop
Enter hand in line with shoulder, little finger first
Let hand sink into water
Pull hand down and out with arm straight
As hand passes shoulder, elbow begins to bend and hand pushes upwards
Elbow bend is a maximum of 90 degrees
Hand pushes downwards and arm straightens
Thumb comes out of water first
Arm and shoulder roll out of water
Arm is recovered over the shoulder

Checklist – Kick

Kick from the hips
Bend knee slightly on the up kick
Keep knee straight on the down kick
Foot movement is up and down
Knees stay close together
Toes break surface
Toes turn in
Use a 6-kick beat

Checklist – Body position

Hips high
Waterline cuts middle of head, just below chin
Eyes look at ceiling above feet
Head still
Breathe in on one arm and out on the other

The backstroke kick helps to keep your body in a good position. It is no accident that all good backstroke swimmers have a strong kick. Ankles should be relaxed and kicks should be small and powerful – “Fast Feet”. Your toes should be the only part of your body which breaks the surface of the water.