Thoughts about backstroke starts

One of the things I see with a lot of swimmers at meets is that they waste time with their  backstroke starts by tucking the chin into the chest and curling up like a spring ready to shoot off the wall.

The most recent scientific research on the best form for a back stroke start show that a straighter back with the swimmer imagining that someone is pulling them up out of the water by their hair. This means the head position is more open with the arms doing most of the work to hold the start position.

Added to this feet are placed at the same level almost as high up the wall as possible. In fact, if you watch a lot of the top swimmers they may even have their feet and backside out of the water. Further, top swimmers do not place one foot above the other, which is taught in some swim schools to stop slipping on the wall. By having one foot higher than the other you cannot generate the same power off the wall.

Gary Hall Sr. demonstrates the backstroke start really well in the video below.

Enjoy, practice, get better.

About Richard Bruford (54 Articles)
Richard is currently Secondary School Principal of Suzhou Singapore International School, one of China's leading international schools. He leads workshops across the Asia-Pacific region for the International Baccalaureate in the areas of pedagogical leadership and approaches to teaching and learning. Richard consults with schools on the topics of school improvement and effective implementation and use of technology. With a background in public and independent school education in the UK and Australia, Richard is enjoying his international school adventure in China. He is passionate about developing and supporting educational leaders, as it is essential to improving all schools. Richard is a proud family man and feels lucky to be married to Kim and father of their son Austin. In his spare time Richard enjoys to swim, bike and run and is a now retired football player and coach (with occasional guest appearances)

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