Common Backstroke Mistakes You May Be Making

The backstroke is no easy feat to master. It can take a lot of practice to get it right. When you are training to perfect your backstroke, you may be making a few common mistakes that you don’t know you’re making.

It’s understandably difficult trying to focus on your posture, arm movement, leg movement, and breathing all at once. However, you know you don’t want to give up and you are dedicated to perfecting this impressive swimming technique.

Below are a few of the common backstroke mistakes you may be making, as well as some details on how you can fix those issues. Hopefully this guide will help you to improve on your backstroke and continue doing your best towards achieving your goals.

Body Positioning

The first common mistake that new swimmers tend to make is that the torso is too flat. While you swim, keeping a flat torso can actually injure your shoulders and your back. Plus, you’ll have to work extra hard to reach behind you to pull the water forward, resulting in exertion and exhaustion.

Try angling yourself in a better way so that your arms don’t feel as contorted as they move to bring the water inward. You can rotate your shoulders while swimming to ease your strain and make you feel more comfortable and energized during your stroke. Plus, this will improve your pulling strength overall.

Entering the Water with the Wrong Side of the Hand

Many swimmers naturally want to enter the water with the back of the hand first. This back-hand entry is the wrong way to enter the water, as you do not set yourself up for a strong enough pull. Plus, you risk damaging your wrist and the back of your hand when you try to put your hand in the water this way.

Instead, you should enter the water with your fingers facing down, pinky-first. Keeping your palm turned outward, you can now exit the water with your thumb, creating the reverse of the back-hand entering mistake.

Bending the Knees

Knee bending is another common problem that most backstroke swimmers face. While this is a common problem across most swimming strokes, you should be aware that this is a problem that can be easily fixed. When swimming the backstroke, your knees may break the surface of the water on many occasions. Here’s how to stop that from happening:

First, you want to keep your legs as straight as possible. Always keep them straight out in front of you, and kick from the power of your hips, rather than from your knees or ankles.

Then, practice on your back by pushing off of the pool wall and using a board on top of your knees. If your knees hit the board, you know they are bending too much. Keep practicing this routine until you’ve solved your knee-bending worries.

Tucked-in Chin

You may not notice that you’re doing this, but it’s possible that you are tucking your chin while swimming the backstroke. This is because you may want to be naturally looking down at your body while its moving, making sure you are getting your positioning right. However, this causes your head to come out too high out of the water, and can cause some serious neck and spine issues.

Try to keep your neck as relaxed as possible while you are performing your backstroke. This will naturally help your body to straighten out and create a feeling of peace. Look up while your neck is relaxed, and you’ll notice that you are looking up at the sky or the ceiling of the indoor pool. In fact, you can even try pushing your chin upward even more to get yourself into the habit of keeping it up, in order to prevent you from looking down again without noticing.

It may feel uncomfortable at first, but this is a habit that you can easily develop with some practice. By maintaining a good neck position, the rest of your spine will naturally align into a good position as well.