Here is a sequence of the backstroke technique. These pictures were taken from a nice video produced by Speedo with Ryan Lochte demonstrating a great Backstroke technique.
1. Left arm is finishing the stroke while the right arm is entering. Remember that the finish drives the entry and the rotation, but see how the actual entry occurs while the body is flat on the water.
2. This part is very important. I included 2 because you can see how the Recovery (left arm in that picture) is initiated before the pull (right arm in the picture) We have been working on this with the Titanic Drill. Also note how now the body is rotated, this rotation comes from the momentum produced by the finish and it is what causes that right arm to go deeper. (Compare depth of arm from picture 1)
- Here you can see what the recovery looks like above the water. Notice the wrist is bent, this is because the hand is relaxed, it is not forced. The thumb comes out of the water first, arm is straight, hand is relaxed.
- This is the moment just before the entry, note how the arm is still straight, but now the little finger is going in first.
- This is the Catch. The thumb stays on top of the hand, but the elbow is rotated and bent so that the fingertips start pointing to the wall. Note how the shoulder is still close to the head.
- 6. The Pull. Just like in freestyle, the elbow stays in line with the wrist and fingertips. Elbow is bent around 90 degrees and the hand pulls towards the feet.
1. The Finish. During the pull the hand is pulling towards the feet, on the finish keep doing this as long as possible. At the end of the finish the hand “flicks” towards the feet and relaxes to initiate the recovery (as seen in the picture). Do not push down at the end of the stroke! You can see in these pictures that he is not pushing the water down at any point because his thumb is always on top of the hand, something that wouldn’t happen if the palm was facing down towards the bottom of the pool.