Prioritizing Backstroke Stroke Charge – SwimSwam

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Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder.

In backstroke, stroke price is the very best precedence.

The fundamentals of fine backstroke method are usually not a lot completely different than with good freestyle method. Neither are the biomechanics of an excellent method a lot completely different with the 2 strokes. It at all times surprises me when a swimmer can do freestyle properly, but struggles with backstroke, or vice versa. Among the numerous swimmers we train at The Race Club, it’s not unusual for us to seek out that state of affairs. Usually, which means the swimmer is just not making use of the basics of an excellent freestyle the identical manner in backstroke.

Good backstroke method is less complicated to show and study than good freestyle method as a result of it’s simpler. There are fewer choices. All backstroke races are 200 meters or much less, so all quick backstrokers use a shoulder-driven method. In backstroke, there isn’t any place for both a hybrid or a hip-driven method.

Among elite backstrokers, all use a high-octane (straight arm) vertical restoration. The final individual at an elite degree who used a bent arm in backstroke restoration was seemingly Adolph Kiefer, who gained the 1936 Olympic gold medal in Berlin. Since then, all of the recoveries amongst nice backstrokers have been accomplished with a straight arm. The straight arm restoration in backstroke generates extra coupling vitality for the pulling hand, and the vertical restoration is less complicated to attain (in comparison with freestyle) as a result of the anatomy of the shoulder joint permits far more flexion (ahead movement) than extension (backward movement).

The ten or so strategies which can be all essential in instructing good freestyle method additionally apply to backstroke. While not to remove from the significance of getting good physique and head positioning, correct pulling and kicking movement, and the right physique rotation, in backstroke, utilizing the suitable stroke price has the very best precedence. With the shorter distances of backstroke, there are solely three choices for backstroke stroke rate- quick, quicker, and quickest. Most swimmers obtain none of those stroke charges in backstroke.

At The Race Club, we encourage backstrokers to coach and race at three completely different stroke charges. For the 200, we encourage stroke charges between 86-90 per minute. For the 100, we encourage stroke charges of 100-105 per minute. For the 50, the stroke charges have to be 110-120 per minute, and even greater, if doable. In the 200 IM, the backstroke stroke price needs to be round 86 per minute and barely much less, maybe 83 per minute, within the 400 IM. Though the dimensions of the swimmer and size of the arms does affect the stroke charges barely, it’s not that important. Even Matt Grevers, at 6 ft 8 inches, gained the Olympic gold medal within the 100-meter backstroke with a stroke price close to 100. Reagan Smith set the 2 ladies’s world data within the 100-meter and 200-meter backstrokes in 2019 utilizing stroke charges of 108 and 92 per minute, quicker than anybody else within the race.

In this week’s Race Club video release, you will note how one of many world’s quickest backstrokers, Amy Bilquist, learns to extend and maintain her greater stroke price. Amy, who’s over 6 ft tall, applies the essential pace and stroke price drills she realized at The Race Club in a check set of 8 x 25 backstroke on brief relaxation. We hope that this video and different Race Club-related movies with Amy, out there in our Lane 2 and Lane 3 subscription, will enable you to improve your backstroke stroke price and obtain a quicker swim.

Yours in swimming,

Gary Sr.

Gary Hall, Sr., Technical Director and Head Coach of The Race Club (courtesy of TRC)

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