The amount of propulsion generated from the kick will depend on the size of the feet, ankle mobility and strength of the legs. I personally find this stroke to be the easiest to perform besides freestyle. You may also be interested in the following articles that cover the backstroke’s swimming technique: Your email address will not be published. Beginner backstrokers tend to kick from their knees—your kick should originate from your hips, sending a smooth, whip-like ripple down through your toes. Last week, I broke down freestyleinto its most basic components, so this week I’m going to focus on backstroke. It stabilizes the swimmer’s body in the water because the leg movements balance out the arm movements. In the initial position, the swimmer performing backstroke lies flat on the back; arms stretched with extended fingertips, and legs extended backwards. Keep Your Torso Flat. 2) Next, you practice balance by floating on your back and sides and using the flutter kick to move forward. In fact, you can even think of it as an upside down freestyle. This six-beat kick produces the best propulsion. Muscles in the shoulders, hips and legs propel the swimmer forward. Elementary backstroke, a slow, resting stroke. The same principles will be used, despite being on your back. Is your backstroke kick technique letting you down? The toes should just break the water surface and the legs kicking from the hip with a slight bend at the knee. Hi, I'm Christophe! • Significant plantar flexion of the feet is an advantage in generating propulsion. Every stroke uses multiple large muscle groups in your upper and lower extremities while placing far less stress on your joints than land-based exercises. When discussing the importance of dolphin kick, the swimming community tends to focus on a swimmer’s underwater kicks in backstroke, freestyle, and butterfly races. Here are a few other differences you should keep in mind. In butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle, you are allowed as many dolphin kicks as you want as long as you do not go further than the 15 meter mark. The most common fault with the leg kick during back stroke is closely related to the body position, when the swimmer allows their legs to sink well below the water surface. The swimmer must have good balance to use these slower kicking patterns. Bring the legs together straight to beghin the next frog kick movement. The flutter kick is simultaneously used with a windmill motion of the arms. If the swimmer has poor ankle flexibility, he will not be able to point his feet, and the propulsion of the legs will be lacking. Breaststroke is allowed one dolphin kick during the pullout. An excessive knee bend will not only cost energy but will cause the legs to gradually sink. The feet should stay in the shadow of the swimmer’s body and the knees should not break the water surface. They differ only with regard to the degree of hip flexion (Fig. © 2010-2020 Enjoy-Swimming.com. The legs kick in an alternating up-down manner, where the hip drives the kick. Performing backstroke kick whilst holding a float will help to focus the swimmer on kicking from the hip and not from the knee. I am a member of the Amazon Associates Program and I will earn a. Also known as the ‘fifth stroke’. The smaller and faster your kick, the faster you will go! Help them point their toes and straighten their legs. Flip Turn: Used in competition for backstroke and freestyle, and some turns in the IM. Backstroke kick is a flutter kick, just like freestyle. This pattern means each foot kicks three times per backstroke cycle, for a total of six kicks. This is often used for training. The technique for freestyle kick and backstroke kick is based on very similar mechanical principals for each of these strokes. Both types of kick start with a contraction of the hip flexors (rectus femoris and iliopsoas) during the downbeat which provides the propulsion. Keep your toes pointed and kick in a small-yet-fast manner. The greatest water resistance is in the downward movement of the kick. It contributes to the swimmer’s propulsion. hips. The propulsive phase of the kick ends when the leg is fully extended. 4. 3. Although propulsion from the leg kick is not priority as the arms generate most of the propulsion for backstroke. The downbeat of the first kick occurs during the first upsweep of the arm. 0. A good drill that lets you practice balance is balance on the back. Click BUY NOW and download a copy to your computer, tablet or mobile device. Get over to Facebook and join the Swim Teach group where swimming teachers help beginners learn how to swim. This version of backstroke arm action is used more by competitive swimmers. Swimmers with flexible ankles are at an advantage here because they can keep the top of the foot facing backward for a longer time and therefore have better propulsion. Regular use of swimming fins can improve the ankles’ flexibility over time if they are stiff. I'm the owner of and main contributor to Enjoy-Swimming.com. Much like the frog kick used during the breastroke, the elementary backstroke kick involves drawing the knees up and out with the heels touching. I have even seen cases where the flutter kick used without arm strokes was moving the swimmer backward instead of forward because the ankles were so stiff. Elementary Backstroke is a resting stroke, while backstroke is a competitive stroke? Maybe you are putting so much effort into kicking that it is sapping your energy. Your kick shouldn’t be super wide — no more than 12 to 18 inches. Its technique is similar to the kick used in the front crawl stroke, the difference being that you are swimming on the back. 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