Backstroke – Steady Kick

Most backstroke drills focus on the upper part of the body – on things such as hips, rotation, hand entry, pull, catch, and head position. This drill, however, shines a spotlight on the lower part of the body, the legs, feet, and kick.


Add to Cart View Cart – Watch Aaron Peirsol talk about his kick.



Why Do It: In backstroke, we often pay so much attention to what our torso and arms are doing that we neglect the real power center of the stroke: the kick. Here you can see what happens when the focus is on the arms and upper body. Notice that the swimmer’s kick is irregular and doesn’t really CONNECT to what’s happening with the torso and arms.

If you can learn to have a steady, consistent kick in backstroke, you will have a powerful MOTOR that drives you FORWARD at every point in the stroke cycle. This will help you go faster and get more power out of every pull.

How to Do It:

1. Push off on your back, with both hands at your sides, and start kicking flutter kick.

2. Take 3 kicks with your hips and torso tilted one; And 3 kicks with your hips and torso titled the OTHER way.

3. Keep rotating your hips three kicks on one side three kicks on the other side. When you tilt one hip, the feet should follow. Notice how the feet are pointed to THIS side for 3 kicks and to the OTHER side for 3 kicks. Also notice that the kick helps INITIATE the body roll. The slightly bigger kick helps to get the hip to tilt up.

4. Try several lengths of kick, working on keeping a steady rhythm with the feet, and connecting the feet to the hips.

5. When you feel you’ve got a steady rhythm, swim a length of backstroke, but stay focused on your KICK rather than you armstroke. Fit everything into the rhythm of the kick.

6. Try alternating one length of kick and one length of swim keeping your attention on the steady, 6-beat rhythm of the kick.

How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):

Try counting to yourself one two three four five six one to three four five six until a constant kick is automatic.

If you have a Tempo Trainer, this is a great time to use it. Try an initial setting of 1:05 to 1:20 and take 3 kicks to every beep.

As you rotate cleanly from hip to hip, keep your head ROCK STEADY. And if you’re a backstroker, do this drill often. It helps you connect your kick to your core in a way that standard flutter kick just cant do.