October 11, 2013
While freestyle and backstroke share many similarities (think hip rotation, still head, flutter kick), one big difference between the two is arm speed. Whereas in freestyle you can, and often should, extend the arm out in front and surf on it, backstroke relies on a more constant arm speed. However, the pitfall for many swimmers is getting their arms stuck at their sides after they finish each pull. Here are a couple drills to work on improving your arm's pop out of the water:
1. SPIN DRILL - This is one of the toughest drills out there. Push off the wall on your back and when you get to the surface sit up like you would if you were in bed and spin your arms as fast as you can for 10-20 strokes. You can do 25s, alternating spin drill and easy backstroke swim focusing on the pop at the end of each pull. The sole goal here is maximum arm speed, no stopping. Your legs should mostly be drifting behind you.
2. DOUBLE ARM - This drill has its drawbacks, but it can be good for working on your pop. Push off the wall on your back and instead of alternating your arms like you would in normal backstroke both arms move at the same time in sync with each other. You'll need a steady kick for this.