One of the biggest problems coaches and swimmers have to overcome with backstroke, is the overreach on the hand entry.
Why Do It:
By over exaggerating how wide the hand enters, the athlete gets a chance to experience just how wide the hands can go, and how close to correct their over exaggeration really is.
How to Do It:
1. On the first length, REALLY overreach… really cross over at the top of the stroke.
2. On the next length, go to the extreme opposite… land the hands really wide. It should feel like your arms are going in at a perpendicular angle to your body. Swimmers will NOT like the feeling of this.
3. On the next length, start at the extremely wide hand entry, and slowly allow the hands to creep to a more natural position.
4. Swim a fast length, focusing on where the hands ended up entering on the previous lap.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Even when we show our swimmer using this extremely wide stroke, he gets very close to landing his arm directly above the shoulder. Since this is the target position for the arm, the swimmer must start to understand just how wide this should feel compared to what he was used to. If possible, video, or pictures of the athlete are a great solution in helping the swimmer understand just how wide the hands should enter.
The initial images of helping this particular swimmer understand are shown below.